Today’s Special Thing About December comes from my awesome mother-in-law and is becoming an office tradition.
In 2012 Mom Nelson – otherwise known as Nana to the kids -- wanted to downsize her tree a little and we wondered what to do with the suddenly available six-foot tree that had been set up in her living room for years.
I was in my new role as community engagement specialist at the Grand Rapids Press, and was looking for a way to bring our team together for the holidays.
Nana’s Tree became the newest addition to the newsroom, and everyone was asked to bring in an ornament that represented them in some way. And, we had cookies.
The next year I was working in the Governor’s Communications Office, and we definitely needed some holiday spirit. Nana’s Tree reappeared, and we decided to use some Michigan-themed ornaments to decorate. We didn’t have too many, and the tree looked a little bare. But we had some cookies.
People on the team liked the tree and the Michigan ornaments. One of the coolest parts about my job is that we get to travel around the state seeing things and meeting people. Everywhere we go, I try to slip into a store and see if there are ornaments that we can add to the collection.
From the Upper Peninsula to Detroit and all points in between, I’ve been able to find ornaments. You’d be surprised how many are out there once you start looking for them.
Some are mass-produced decorations, usually depicting the Detroit sports teams. Some are craft-show creations. Some commemorate special places or events, and some are just the shape of our state. All of them are Pure Michigan fun!
We had a Communications Office open house last year. The team brought in treats – including cookies – and we had the ornaments on a table. People from throughout the building were invited to come on down, have a treat, spread some holiday cheer and hang an ornament on Nana’s Tree.
I’m in a new role in a new building this year, and I wasn’t quite sure what the new crew would think about the tree and the ornaments. The new guy is a little quirky. But they’re a pretty festive bunch.
So late Friday afternoon we set up Nana’s Tree in our third-floor waiting area. By this morning, colleagues brought in some of their own – two beautiful Pewabic tiles and a perfect Petoskey stone snowman – and promises of more to come.
And, the folks who are in charge of our Angel Tree decided that the gifts would be collected and placed under Nana’s Tree until it was time to distribute them.
And, we’ll have cookies.