A few years ago my facility had a Christmas Tree contest.  It was a facility-wide competition, with the best tree winning a celebration lunch for the sponsoring department. Several departments pulled out their old artificial trees, plopped them into available corners, and decorated them to whatever whim they had.  A few of the more crafty ladies schemed and themed to make their Christmas trees truly outstanding.  But to be honest, they didn’t have a chance. Not that year.

Shortly after the contest was announced, the facility manager called the team around and shared with us the plan.  We didn’t have a tree, but that didn’t matter.  A 6 foot blue ladder would work just fine.  

We spent the next week and a half gathering materials and decorations.  Then one slow afternoon a few days before the tree judging we sprung our plan into action.  We opened the ladder and stood it in the corner, wrapped it with a garden hose, caution tape, and plenty of Christmas lights and started adding “ornaments”.  A few “gifts” under the tree added the perfect touch.  

Shortly after we finished, people began to trickle in.  Soon the trickle became a torrent, and then a flood.  Those crafty ladies with their carefully planned trees were flabbergasted.  A few of them even protested that we should be disqualified because we didn’t have a tree.  Everyone who looked at the tree knew instantly that the competition was effectively over.  

In early January we enjoyed our reward.  Boy was that lunch delicious!