Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Christmas Competition

Well, it's less than a week until the big festive day, and at our office work is winding down for the holiday and everything is becoming more relaxed. Unless Dorothy is reading this, in which case we're working as productively and efficiently as ever - both as highly committed individuals, and together as a dedicated, customer-focused team. And not just when it comes to sharing out the Miniature Heroes. The office is becoming more Christmassey as people decorate their desks and whatnot - in the festive spirit the Management have offered a bottle of Champagne to the person judged to have the best display. Somehow I doubt your author is in the running for the award, unless they are looking for plastic model crabs and postcards of Sydney. I do have a snow globe from Blackpool Tower though, which you could argue is slightly festive. Not much though, admittedly.

I'm going to try and sneak a camera in to take pictures of some of these desk displays, as some people have gone to bewildering lengths for what will undoubtedly turn out to be a cheapo bottle of Aldi Bulgarian sparkling wine. The thing is, I can't go up to people and ask if I can photograph their pride and joy in order to ridicule them on the internet - which let's face it, is what the internet's for (aside from pornography, of course). So I might have to go in early and take a photo before the owner arrives, which means I run the gauntlet of someone seeing me and coming to the conclusion that I'm a secret fan of office decorations, and therefore a wierdo to be avoided at all costs. As if I have a scrapbook of tinsel samples, or something. I bet someone does, somewhere.

Two of the most spectacular desk displays are right in front of me, so I can look at them all day should I wish. Both put up by men, the first is a truly staggering mass of tinsel, lights, holly, streamers, beads, a 4ft tree (all on a standard office desk). The whole thing merges into a window display with a large flashing net-like arrangement of lights, a Christmas tree (or Holiday tree, if you prefer) made out of fabric, and strings of beads connected to the top of the PC monitor. In short, it's vile. But full marks for effort though. The bloke that put this up spent days - and I mean days - building it up, bringing new bits in, carefully rearranging things for maximum effect - and was then outdone by a competitor in a matter of seconds.

Another man (you can draw your own conclusions) came in and with a strange-sounding grating noise there suddenly emerged a 5ft high blue inflatable Santa Claus. Again, this in on his desk - my desk is full of worryingly urgent-looking pieces of paper, Miniature Heroes wrappers, and of course plastic crabs. With a wicked grin at the man with the window display, he then produced another Santa - this one a traditional red colour - and inflated that on the top of his monitor. It's huge, I'm not kidding. At this point, you could see the first bloke sink into his chair - as the twin Santas rose upwards, his spirits deflated like a week-old airbed. I almost feel sorry for him - all that effort, and he's gazumped by a couple of festive beach inflatables.

The judging is tomorrow, so I'll let you all know who got the prize. The inflatable man (although worryingly he's younger than me) taunted his opponent by tossing cotton wool balls around his desk as snow, and draping fairy lights over his potted plant, sure of victory. It's too close to call though, I don't know who'll be tasting the sweet Cava of victory. It won't be us though, I've got a token length of brown tinsel behind me along the window, and this morning amidst all the excitement one end parted company with the sellotape and flopped, crackling, to the carpet in defeat. It now looks like I've glued an eel to the window - but I like it, I can pretend it's a defiant statement about the over-commercial nature of Christmas. Oh crap. Christmas shopping. Erm...