**If you just want to look at the pretty pictures, scroll to the bottom**

A few years ago I made the decision to embrace seasons – Christmas being the best and most important of all. From commandeering tree and house decorating to playing Christmas carols at any opportunity (from 25 November onwards!), I love Christmas.

With my first full year at work nearly under my belt and feeling fairly confident in the office, I was unashamed in love of Christmas during the 9-to-5 humdrum. I decided it was time to spread the Christmas cheer.

Here’s a how to guide for a festive office:

1. Table a ‘Christmas office decorating competition’ 

I was chairing a meeting of representatives from the various marketing teams in the University. After running through the various other items on the agenda, I opened the meeting for AOB. A largely nominal agenda item, with much enthusiasm I brought up the competition. Apart from a political correction to make it the ‘festive office decorating competition,’ it was met with resounding positivity. I recruited another person to the cause. The planning begun – both for the competition and my teams creation. I had high expectations!

2. Send unexpected jovial email to break up the constant dreariness of requests that usually fill out inboxes

2.1  Create competition visual identity – because EVERYTHING needs a logo.

Office decorating competition

‘Twas the end of November, when all across campus
Not a space was merry, and we started to get anxious.
The tinsel was hung around the poles with haste
In hopes that would be considered good taste.

The workers were all slumped over their desks,
While the visions of the jolly afternoon took its effects.
Whole new worlds were built to mask the pain,
The dull throb of too many bottles of champagne.

 When out in [building name] there arose such a clatter
We sprung from our chairs to see what was the matter.
Away to the corner we raced only to stop in shock
The reality of the action dropped like a sedimentary rock.

The lights hanging from the roof in a line,
The teams should have read it like a sign.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
The two spaces decorated exactly the same – oh dear!

 With a little chuckle, we knew what was at stake,
Their little hiccup was our chance to overtake.
It’s bigger than the world cup and fueled with action:
The Marcomms festive office decorating competition!

Yes, all you grinches, you heard it right, our offices are getting a transformation. From Cumberland to Engineering to [building name],  we’re all getting into the festive season. It’s no secret there are many in Marcomms who love a good competition so a breakdown of the rules are below (and attached).

May the most festive team win! 

3. Create terms and conditions like any good marketing specialist
Details
Competition Marketing and Communications is celebrating the end of the year and the beginning of the festive season with a decorating competition.
How to enter Teams can enter by:
  1. Staking out your space with those around them
  2. Decorating to your heart’s content
  3. Posting photos or a video of your space on Yammer.

Prize(s)Three edible prizes will be given awayCompetition periodDecorating can commence Friday 28 November, with the exhibition period 1 December – 18 December.Who may enterEntry is only open to persons who, during the competition period are:

  • part of Marketing and Communications
  • ready for a jolly good time
  • prepared for solid competition
  • willing to take down any office Grinches

Maximum number of entries per individual entrantEach Marcomms team member should be part of only one teamAdditional entry instructionsAny disagreements or contests should be resolved with a public sagacious match of scissors, paper, rock.Judging process[CMO’s EA] will tour the spaces in the final week of exhibition and determine the winners.Judging criteria3 categories:

  1. Originality and creativity of theme
  2. Extensiveness of decorations
  3. Quality of execution

Judging dateJudging and winner announcements will occur in the week of 15 December.Winner notificationWinners will be notified via Yammer, email and cheers across the officeClaiming your prizePrizes will be distributed in the office. Winners should be cautious of their seagull-like colleagues hovering ready to pounce.Special conditionsThe judges decision is final. Bragging rights can last as long as your colleagues allow them to.

4. Encourage and participate in trash talk, both on and offline

No sooner did the email go out when the trash talk began. Persistent and untamed. Feeding wrong information (re: theme) to the enemy, interrogating drunk colleagues at the Christmas party.

5. Start small and build suspense to the big reveal

It was a slow start but slowly the decorations went up. Brown paper over hideous yellow walls, a spot of tinsel and strings of fairy lights.

6. Send reminder email about judging

Worried about the slow take-up, I took pen to paper again:
A reminder email went out:

Judgingement day is coming – Monday 15 December

Jingle bells, jingle bells.
Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to work
In a festive office now!

Dashing through the snow,
Is the student marcoms team.
Over fields they go,
Their efforts are a scream.

Santa’s Media team have moved in,
To make our spirits bright.
What fun they have to write and spin,
The news from the land of all things white.

Jingle bells, jingle bells.
Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it’s gonna be
To see the winners announced!

Details

  1. Post a photo/s of your entry on Yammer to be included in the competition.
  2. The competition is in no way limited to central Marketing space. We look forward to seeing the festivities from all over campus.
  3. Our judge will tour the spaces (she’ll lock in a time for the divisional teams) on the afternoon of Monday 15 December
  4. I have it on good authority that the judge cannot be swayed with chocolate…although wine is a different story!

7. Organise award ceremony 

My boss arrange a Christmas bake-off  for judging day (yes, another competition!). And the entries posted on Yammer (read: institutional social networking site).

8. Eat food and (playfully!) question the final decision!

Sadly my team didn’t win. I think we went out to strong to early. A colleague compared us to Will McAvoy and ACN’s Newsnight. A strong second, but then slowly dropped down the ranks (of course, his team was first!). Others said we were robbed. Alas, I’ll be sure to include a ‘people’s choice’ next year. We definitely would have won that.

9. Create certificate and add ‘annual’ on the sly 

A very good use of time, certificates were created and printed (not before having to reprint them after spelling decorating ‘decorating’!). I was sure to slip in ‘inaugural annual’ competition to build

10. Enjoy the amazement of visitors to the office

The faces of visitors to the office was priceless. Employees from other areas, our ad agency and clients alike. Festivity was widespread and appreciated.


Overall I was quite surprised by the investment in the competition. Going in with low expectations for pickup, it was super fun to get competitive and loosen up at the end of a long year – despite the work seeming as constant as the 11 months previous!

Sadly my team didn’t win, but as a pick-me-up from my team’s loss, my colleagues awarded me the ‘brain-child award,’ an award practically akin to a school  ‘Encouragement Award.’ Alas, I also received a packet of Hershey kisses which will feature on this blog in due course!

But without further ado, here are some of the entries. Enjoy.

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1 Comment

Jess
December 17, 2014
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