POWHATAN – Christmas cheer was brimming over in the Powhatan County administration offices when staff in different departments squared off for their second annual decorating contest.
Volunteer judges walked through offices in three separate buildings on Dec. 19 and were amazed by the creativity and holiday spirit displayed by county staff during the contest.
All of the employees who participated decorated their offices on their own time using their own money, making the lengths some of them went to create their over-the-top decorations even more impressive, said Brigid Paciello, who works in the IT office.
This year, the departments were asked to decorate their offices in the theme of a holiday song of their choice, and the results were sweet harmony, she said.
“Our employees really look forward to doing this. It is kind of an inside competition with us but also a team-building thing,” she said, adding she has witnessed the joy it brings to residents visiting the offices as well.
This year, the treasurer’s office won first place with its winter wonderland representation of “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.” Staff set up a snowy scene in the lobby complete with people ice skating and sledding and then created cozy indoor scenes in the office behind the counter.
The Powhatan Department of Social Services took second place, but its office had several songs represented throughout the building, director Sharon Rochelle said. Children’s services decorated in the theme of “Mele Kalikimaka” and used tropical items and scenes from “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation” as its inspiration, complete with palm trees and a Jell-O mold. Administration decorated with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”; benefits had industrious elves at work in each office when the judges came to the tune of “We are Santa’s Elves”; children’s services decorated with “Nuttin’ for Christmas,” and the front office embraced Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.”
“We always a have a good time. With the stress we deal with in this job, I think this is a good stress reliever,” she said.
She added that her staff members work hard and do their jobs well, and when it is time to celebrate, they come together like a family.
“We really enjoy each other’s company, so we try to make our holidays something everyone looks forward to,” she said.
In a festive third place was the human resources/finance team, which wished everyone “Feliz Navidad” with an explosion of color, piñatas, and a dancing cactus.
Supervisor-elect Bill Cox judged the good-natured contest along with fellow volunteers Sherri Cline, creative director for IDI, and Brian Weitz, senior concept designer for Shepard Exposition. Cox said he was thrilled with the creativity and how much work the staff put into their decorations.
“These were people who were having fun and enjoying what they do, and that just makes you smile,” Cox said.
While they could only pick three winners, the judges had a great time visiting all of the offices. Cox talked about Powhatan Public Safety’s hilarious crime-scene interpretation of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The community development office wrote its own song about the “Twelve Days of Community Development” and decorated accordingly, even creating an Advent calendar to match the song.
The county administrator’s office was strung with white lights as Burl Ives sang “Silver and Gold” to people who entered. The commissioner of the revenue’s office invited a favorite winter guest indoors with its “Frosty the Snowman” decorations.
The IT/GIS staff literally embraced the Duck Dynasty-themed “Duck the Halls” song by wrapping the department entirely in camouflage wrapping paper and having themed rubber ducks on display.
For those who couldn’t make it to the county offices before the decorations were taken down for the season, the Powhatan Today Facebook page has a live video that tours the offices that participated in the county administration building.
Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.