Every December, Faithlife has a Christmas decorating contest. What’s at stake? Free lunch and bragging rights. Teams and departments duke it out to prove once and for all who has the most holiday spirit, creativity, and determination.
This is serious business.
Bob Pritchett, CEO of Faithlife, has always insisted on using an outside judge—someone impartial. This year, we brought in Anne-Marie Faiola. You might remember her from our women in leadership speaking series. She brought her husband and two kids to help (cookie-bribes may have been involved).
There were skits, elves, toy trains, Santa himself, hipsters singing carols, dressed-up dogs, and more. It was quite a sight.
In the next display, you may notice that there are more than a few snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. That’s thanks to Jani Snell. She’d been planning for this contest since last December. “Last year, the competition was rigged,” said Jani. “My team cut out hundreds of snowflakes and created the most beautiful winter wonderland, and we lost. I’ve been part of a winning decorating team in the past, so to have a loss associated with my name was unacceptable.”
So what’d she do? She saved all those snowflakes she cut out during Netflix marathons and hung them up again this year, with a new theme and a new team.
And she wasn’t the only one who planned ahead. “In early November, Glenn Airoldi popped into my office one morning and said, ‘Christmas decorating contest. You in?’ Uh, duh! To work with a group that was set on winning made the work that much easier.”
Being in the large department category this year meant that Jani had about 15 people volunteer their time to help out, including a core group of six who put in at least four hours to pull off “Gingerbread Lane.”
“I expected to win based on the amount of sweat and paper cuts that went into the project,” Jani says. “I mean, my coworker electrocuted herself twice making sure that all the lights were perfect. The night before judging, a group of us stayed from 5:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. to make sure everything was perfect.”
Like I said, this contest is a big deal.
“I think the only thing that kept us going was the drive to win,” Jani says.
Take a trip down “Gingerbread Lane”:
Next came the holiday hipster exhibit.
The fine print says, “Please don’t feed the hipsters gluten or dairy products. (Or meat, GMO’s, MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors or flavors of any kind). Permitted foods include: kale chips, gulps of air, and GF cardboard.”
No trees were harmed in the decorating of this space.
This year, for the first time, design joined in on the decorating fun. Branson Anderson rallied the troops and transformed “DSGNHVN” into a modern winter wonderland.
“We can’t help but work on Christmas decorations like a design project,” Branson said. “We had a brainstorming meeting, made moodboards, created a design document detailing our plan. We had to visualize everything.”
“We got pretty serious about how we hung letter snowflakes,” Branson says. “Are we modulating height in a compelling way? Is our distribution right? Like I said, we can’t help but design it.”
It may have been serious, but it was far from boring.
“We had a huge turnout. It was a really great time. We were blasting Christmas music, eating food, and enjoying each other’s company.”
When it was all said and done, our judges selected a winner for small and large departments, and then Bob announced the winners at our company Christmas party at Semiahmoo Resort.
“Gingerbread Lane” in marketing won the award for best-decorated large department, and our facilities team sealed the win for small departments with “All Wrapped Up.”
“As Faithlife grows, so does the Christmas decorating competition,” said Kensey Burdick, who helped decorate “Gingerbread Lane. “After hours of painting peppermints, wrapping boxes, and hanging snowflakes, it felt great to win! Not only does the winning team get a free lunch from Faithlife, they get an entire year of bragging rights!”
But it’s not all about winning. “It’s fun to see coworkers get so creative and excited about Christmas,” Kensey said. “It’s not every day you get to see your manager wearing a Santa suit! We don’t just work hard at Faithlife—we play hard, too.”
So how much time did they put into this? “Too much!” Jani said. “I think I put in about 16 hours. This is definitely the most work I’ve put into the decorating contest, and I don’t think I have the energy to repeat that next year.”
Next December is a long ways away, but something tells me Jani will still have her stash of snowflakes next year.
Want to see the rest of the pictures from the decorating contest? Like us on Facebook to see “Lego Land,” “Pirate Christmas,” and more!