The Tennessean is a massive building. We sit on one full block from 11th Avenue to 12th Avenue on Broadway. It consists of hallways, large rooms, and over 700 workers. Most days this building is humming with activity and employees busily working to deliver the next day’s paper with heads down and focus solely on the job at hand. However, for one week every year, employees take the time to compete in the annual Christmas Decoration contest and things get a bit wild. Here is a behind the scenes look into the chaos.
This second annual event has become the highlight of the building, especially in the Advertising Department. Six teams work to turn the entire department into a themed holiday exhibit. Following year one’s success with a Holiday Movie theme, this year was taken to new levels with an expansive North Pole exhibition. The North Pole consists of The Candy Factory, The Toy Shop, Santa’s Pub, Mrs. Clause’s Kitchen, Broadway Sleighs, Elf Wrapping Station, Rudolph’s Reindeer Training School, North Pole Realty, and Wish List Processing. Needless to say walking through the Advertising Department is like all of your childhood fantasies about Christmas coming true.
This level of participation takes time and dedication. Much of it is done after hours or on lunch breaks. It also takes a lot of holiday spirit! One individual has taken it on as her personal mission to make this project shine. Angie Murray, aka the Head Decorating Elf, is a miracle worker for all things holiday. When asked why she puts so much of herself into the process she stated, “I have a creative soul, I can’t help it! It’s just fun.” With creative direction put in place, employees from across the department pitch in. Paper is painted, lights are hung, and props are built. One team created an entire kitchen from cardboard and paper, including a pie baking in the oven. Drinks were made up for Santa’s Pub including the Candy Cane Martini, Rudolph’s Tipsy Spritzer, and the Spicy Ginger man. All drinks of course alcohol free during work hours. Last but not least the Wish List Processing center secretly marked employees across the department to either the Naughty or Nice List. Some employees, including yours truly, sadly made it to the Naughty List without any explanation!
As time ticks down, employees nervously wait the judging. Judges pulled from various departments will walk through the building to view and determine the winning department. The reward….the jingle bell trophy! A coveted trophy to call your own for one full year. We take this very seriously. So now you know how we celebrate at the Tennessean. We are full of holiday spirit and we go all out!