The excitement of the holiday season took hold of ZirMed’s offices over the past two weeks, and the festive men and women at work in Louisville, Santa Monica, and Chicago expressed their Yuletide enthusiasm in the only logical manner: gingerbread houses, ugly sweaters, and a round of Greedy Punter.
The Annual Sweets’n’Such Holiday Melee
The marketing team put on their craft-as-competition game-faces and commenced the first and no doubt most legendary gingerbread-related contest in the history of Louisville-based healthcare software firms. This wasn’t a graham crackers and store-bought icing nicety—far from it. The contest pitted every member of the team against each other in a no-holds-barred battle royale, the likes of which has never been seen in this naïve world. Icing was smeared, candy was consumed used as decoration, and creative juices flowed as the readily available caffeine fueled the participants’ raging competitive fire.
There were three awards up for grabs:
- Best Captures a Snowy Landscape
- Incorporates Largest Number of Candy Pieces
- House Where the Grinch Would Live
A major league baseball pitcher with a perfect game on the line couldn’t have matched the focus on display that afternoon. Yet despite eating a lot of candy the valiant effort by all, only three would emerge victorious.
For the “Snowy Landscape” award, the winning architect put together a winter wonderland spiced with pure sugary creativity. There was ice, there was frost; a well-aligned walking path led almost directly to the front door. This man was no flake, and the sugar sprinkled along the base as a finishing touch gave his house that extra snowy sparkle. Game. Set. Match.
As for “Most Candy,” the winner constructed a house that would leave both Willy Wonka and the witch from Hansel and Gretel breathless. Candy-cane gate posts? Check. Peppermint windows? Check. A rooftop made out of Skittles and Spree? Big-time check. He even reached into the non-candy category, innovating as he went on a snack-seeking rampage built and eventually settling on a Cheez-It for the front door.
The house of the Grinch was so eerily fitting, it makes one wonder whether the “mean one” may actually live among us, simply biding his time. Maybe this contestant received one too many pairs of socks growing up; perhaps he seeks to remind us all that there’s a deep and unknowable darkness in the world; maybe he tried cover up the hole in the roof with tree bark and actually thought people wouldn’t notice. In the end, no one asked him his reasons—for his was the least festive house in all Whoville.
A Sweater for Us All, Every One
The holiday cheer spread throughout the company, and it was not long before the 5th floor announced its ugly-sweater contest. Closets were cleaned out, grandmothers were consulted, and normal sweaters were…upgraded, shall we say?…as participants took whatever measures necessary to transform themselves into icons of ugly holiday knitwear.
Some who participated turned the very idea of the contest on its head, flipping the script and presenting a stylish vision for today’s modern sweater-wearer.
Needless to say, all those present were duly impressed.
Meanwhile Out West…
ZirMed employees in Santa Monica declared a stocking-making contest in addition to their traditional round of Greedy Punter (their annual exclusive proprietary version of White Elephant).
The stocking contest had it all: creativity, improvisation, a byzantine web of vague and confusing rules, and what may or may not have been hand-me-down socks. The air was thick with the scent of artistic genius emanating from all parties, but contestant #7 nonetheless managed to kick it up a notch:
Perhaps the creator of this masterpiece grew out of their color-coordinated knee-high sock phase and decided to retire half a pair for the greater good: this contest. Hearts to symbolize love, stars to symbolize the infinite enigmas of space and time, and a baseball to symbolize…spring training 2015? Tough to say. Either way: worn yesterday, decorated today, and unanimous victor in the Suitable for International Air Travel category—ZirMed applauds this effort.
The competition was fierce in every category, but contestant #6 stood out from the pack by drawing on shared human experience to drive home the message of irrepressible good cheer. We’ve all experienced that moment when we leave Starbucks only to realize that we neglected to finish an arts-and-craft project. But how many of us would have the wherewithal, confidence, and stapler necessary to create a holiday classic with only the materials at hand?
Contestant #6 would—and did. MacGyver would be proud of this winner, who in addition to voluble accolades from her peers took home the highly coveted Judge’s Choice award.
The air was abuzz with anticipation as the contest came to a close, for finally the moment had arrived: Greedy Punter was starting!
As is the case every year, the gifts were ones you’ve always wanted even though you didn’t know they existed. For instance, when your two primary passions are Star Wars and caffeine, it can be hard to find work-appropriate ways to combine them—we’ve all been there. Yet the truth is, there are times when you need that extra bit of force in your latte, and thankfully the market has at long last met that demand:
The Yoda mug was but one of terrific options to choose from, and more than a few participants found themselves facing an all-too-familiar dilemma: choosing between the sandwich, the presents, and the always-intriguing “mystery box.”
A Time to Reflect, A Time to Look Forward
All kidding and all festivities aside, there’s been a genuine sense of growing holiday cheer throughout ZirMed, whether in Louisville, Santa Monica, or Chicago. Everyone has had a hand in lifting the spirits of their colleagues, and the unnamed winners of the ugly sweater contest (not pictured) have stored away their terrifying ornamented woolens until this time next year—Happy Holidays to all!