My office’s Social Committee has been incredibly successful over the past few years in coming up with ways to get the 30 or so people I work with to connect outside the workplace.

By organizing regular non-work events like potlucks, pub nights, the annual Christmas party, Halloween costume contests, and pizza lunches, the Committee plays a big role in making sure we’re more than just colleagues – we’re friends.

It can be tricky to come up with new ideas through.

The Committee has been around long enough that we often get in the habit of repeating the same activities from month to month. While those well-established events are all fun, it’s always nice to try something different; something we haven’t tried before.

That’s what happened this year.

The Committee had a brainstorm and came up with a brand new pastime: our first annual Gingerbread House Challenge! (And yes, I’m confident in saying “annual” – It was a huge hit with ALL my workmates and they’re already clamouring for more.)

The Committee supplied the pre-constructed G-bread houses and split participants into four teams. Each team had the lunch hour to craft the best damn gingerbread house they could – the aim being to annihilate the competition with creativity and artistry.

There were a few rules about what materials were sanctioned for use (my team kind of broke bent them, so we’ll just gloss over the details and get right to the results). The winner was determined by popular vote with everyone in our office getting one vote (you couldn’t vote for your own creation). It was a crazy-close race. Seriously… we had a tie and needed to do a run-off election to determine the final winner!

In the end, my team wound up in second place (clearly the election was rigged.)

I snagged pics of each entry, so you can see the results of our lunchtime labour.

The best of the bunch (my team's creation.) We went for humour and an theme of current affairs.

The best of the bunch (my team’s creation.) We went for humour and a theme of “current affairs.”

The detail in my team's entry was stunning. Look at the detail work in the Mexican wall - and the red and green Mexican gummis to represent the colours in the Mexican flag. The craftmanship is enough to bring a tear to your eye.

The detail in my team’s entry was stunning. Look at the intricate work in the Mexican wall – and the red and green gummi “Mexicans” representing the colours in the Mexican flag. The craftmanship is enough to bring a tear to your eye.

Here's the entry that eventually won. I think the voters were coerced. Yes, this has much more design merit than our entry, but where is the humour?! (I mean other than the upside down Santa stuck in the chimney... that I somehow missed while taking this photo.)

Here’s the entry that eventually won. I think the voters were coerced. Yes, this has much more design merit than our entry, but where is the humour?! (I mean other than the upside down Santa stuck in the chimney… that I somehow missed while taking this photo.)

This is the one I voted for. I thought the addition of the cleverly-crafted City logo on the roof was a touch of brilliance.

This is the one I voted for. I thought the addition of the cleverly-crafted City logo on the roof was a touch of brilliance.

A second shot of the one I voted for - the designers even added a miniture outdoor skating rink to echo the one outside our City Hall. Mind you, this crew had access to a glue gun, so they did have an unfair advantage. Probably just as well they didn't win either.

A second shot of the one I voted for – the designers even added a miniature outdoor skating rink to echo the one outside our City Hall. Mind you, this crew had access to a glue gun, so they did have an unfair advantage. Probably just as well they didn’t win either; it sets a bad precedent.

The simplest entry in terms of adding an environment to the setting, but clearly this one was crafted by someone with a steady hand and an eye for design. That person should have realized that

This crew didn’t spend much time on context for their house, choosing to leave the house on the small lot provided. But clearly this one was crafted by someone with a steady hand and an eye for design. That person should have realized, however, that “funny” is really the better way to get votes in our office. Oh well, live and learn. There’s always next year!

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