I have to say that this year was the first I've ever felt holiday-decoration-induced shame at the workplace. It's a very real and stressful problem, I assure you. The day after Thanksgiving, I came in to a "pod", which is how our teams are organized, that had decked out their space - tinsel, lights, a tree, the works. Slowly, all the other pods started building out their holiday displays and getting creative: hanging things from the ceiling, wrapping their entire walls in paper, getting bigger trees, and making Grommets into ornaments. At this point I was still comfortable with having no real holiday decorations in the design area, thinking that this holiday mania wouldn't spread beyond a few pods. Besides, if we were to do something, it would have to be awesome because everyone has high expectations from "creative" people. No pressure.
A few days later, I walked into the developers' office and had a small but substantial panic attack. Not only had they gone above and beyond in wrapping their walls, top to bottom, they had also gone into the design prop closet and fished out most of our holiday photoshoot props, arranging them in adorable festive still-lifes, fit to be in Real Simple magazine. They even had oversized hand-made paper ornaments hanging from the ceiling at various deliberately-calculated heights.
If people who stare at boring code all day (yes, I said it...) were getting this creative, how could the design team compete? The answer is that we couldn't complete - but we COULD scramble. We ran to Davis' best-well-kept-holiday-secret, The Dollar Store, and bought an unhealthy amount of holiday decorations. We realized as we were there that most of The Grommet had already passed through days ago and bought everything we were eyeing. Originality would not be our winning hand here. We had to get fancy with oversized stockings, a holiday mat, window stickers that just can't seem to stick to the window, and a reindeer puppet. All in all, we didn't do too bad for ourselves - our little holiday spread was festive but not overboard. Most people commented on our well-decorated tree, and our fake paper fireplace (little victories).
All jokes aside, I do love the amount of engagement The Grommet's team has and how it so very positively affects our culture. Plainly said, it's fun to work here, as hard as we do work. It's really very special and unique and i've never worked anywhere quite as consistently collectively joyful and engaged. There was no official call for decorating, no contest, no prize - people just did it because it made them feel good. And the fact that it went viral and created an anxiety-ridden competitive feeling (in some...), only speaks to the over-achiever nature of people who work here, and whom I am proud to have decorated not-quite-as-well-as. There's always next year.