Perhaps, before the leaves fall from the lofty perch and hit the ground - there is some kind of evaluation process through the process of photosynthesis.

Tree:  Well leaf, your time here is about over, and we'd like to evaluate your performance.

Leaf:  OK, how was I?

Tree:  You started off fine, lots of great color - but it was pretty monochromatic.  What I don't get is why you saved your best for last, instead of bringing it the whole time!

Leaf:  Sorry, I'll try better next time.

I can imagine there are performance metrics regarding windstorms, resistance to insects, and ability to flit through the air multiple times before finally hitting the ground.

So it goes.

Most of us in our jobs go through an evaluation - when we learn if we are doing the things in our job description to the best (or near best) of our ability.  But really, if you are filling out a self-evaluation should you grade your performance at the top of the scale?  Might that not be a bit presumptuous?  Far better to rate yourself as pretty good and have somebody else leave a better mark.

Truth be told, can't we all do at least a little better job than what we've done?  I hope so.

For some, the coming report card will be delivered by a fat guy in a big red suit - for the rest of us, the greatest news is that although we have failed our test completely - we had someone else take the test on our behalf.  That person aced the test for us, all of us.

And that's the person whose arrival we'll celebrate 20 days from today - Merry Christmas!