Slideshow: Tempe office Christmas decorations

December 19, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

Johnny Mathis would have been impressed.


The annual holiday decoration extravaganza at GCU’s Tempe location includes all the traditional Christmas accessories plus several tributes to the University and its mascot.

It’s not just beginning to look like Christmas at Grand Canyon University’s Tempe site. The halls are decked, employees are rockin’ around multiple Christmas trees and walkin’ amid a floor-to-ceiling winter wonderland, and you’d better believe that Santa is on his way.

There is even cold snow.

“Everybody in the building loves Christmas,” said Charlene Collier, gesturing Vanna White-style toward 10 cubicles whose staffers spent dozens of hours (their own time, by the way) gift-wrapping desk surfaces, inflating St. Nick, twisting tinsel garlands around power poles and stringing lights, well, everywhere. “And everybody loves that we do this every year. They come by, and it’s always something new for them.”

Tuesday’s 90-minute tour of the facility, courtesy of Audra Kimball, wasn’t nearly enough time to visit with all of Tempe’s jolly elves. A glimpse of the highlights:

  • One of Mat Williams’ College of Education online enrollment teams, seeking an advantage in his challenge to produce the best display, played to his sentimental side by creating six white “boomers,” pulled by a surfing Santa and alongside a sign, “Merry Christmas Mate.” Williams is from Australia, which has a Christmas song about boomers (kangaroos). The boomers team was beaten by the purple leaping ‘Lopes creators, but everyone got the prize – pizza — anyway.
  • A giant red ‘Lope prances over the desk of Mike Saenz, who gets an extra silver bell for finding an epoxy that, when mixed with water, turns into snow that looks – and feels – real.
  • Josh Bell, 29, is too young to remember 1970s TV sitcoms, but that didn’t stop him from building “The Partridge Family” tree with the French hens and the golden rings and the game bird at the top.
  • The 10 Christmas trees on Arizona native Mitch Garrett’s desk, including one with shiny purple ornaments affixed to branches with paper clips (hey, this is an office), are a tribute to his family’s cabin in the mountains of Montana.
  • “The Island” corner of Brandy Perkins, Kaitlin Neal, Mason Davis, Chris Sideris and Grant Wagner, of international enrollment, was a reminder that biggest is not necessarily best, especially at Christmas. One of their displays was the “Peanuts” gang, including Charlie Brown and his droopy sapling, which looks majestic as Linus recites the Christmas story (Luke 2:8-14) to close the TV holiday favorite. Linus says to his friend, who finally gets it: “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

One thing’s for sure: The folks in Tempe are simply having a wonderful Christmastime.

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