The neighborhood where I live is a perfect example of the “American melting pot”. There are war veterans who have been living in the same house all of their adult lives. There are new immigrants to the United States, and young families transplanted from New York City or other parts of Long Island. It is a friendly neighborhood. People say hello and watch out for each other; oh and everyone has a dog.
The neighborhood where I work as a Sales Director is a microcosm of the neighborhood where I live, minus the dogs. At American Christmas our population is from diverse backgrounds from a multitude of countries; from the Middle East, to Eastern Europe to the Caribbean, we watch out for each other and everyone is friendly.
Being genuinely FRIENDLY is one of the pillars of the company culture at American Christmas. We are a highly specialized company and our company culture fits with the highly specialized nature of our business. When a prospective employee applies for a job here they won’t necessarily have the exact skills at the outset, so we look for other things; the intangibles. Being friendly of course… but also driven, respectful, honest and having the desire to be “part of something”. We spend more time here at American Christmas then we do with our own families at home; especially from October to January. These are the trying and stressful months and without the qualities that define our culture, it would be extremely difficult to achieve what we achieve each year, “Making the Magic”. During these months it is not unusual for us to be working 6 weeks straight 10-18 hours a day; overnight and early morning. Not that we complain, this is what we do. When we get to that second week of December we finally take a breath and look back at what we accomplished. The pride that we all have can light up a city.
The American Christmas neighborhood is not just a seasonal home though; we work hard for twelve months a year. During the remaining months when we are not installing our jobs is when we get to have a little bit of fun. Our Holiday Party is the symbolic end to our installation season. True this is held in December (still during our season) but it is a chance for us to unwind. We are all there, executives, warehouse, decorators and Santa! Once takedown is completed we gather for a “Night of Toasting”, where we will have a great dinner in our meeting room and toast our accomplishments. There will be poetry, slide shows and an annual song. Truly a fitting end to our season. Shortly thereafter, our fulltime staff is usually ramping up for our Wii bowling tournament.
May brings our annual work with the Mount Vernon Soup Kitchen and August is our company BBQ at Fred’s house. September brings our “3 on 3 basketball tournament” which brings us to October and Decorator Training. These are all great times when the entire staff comes together to socialize and learn about each other. Additionally, we have monthly staff meetings from January to October. This is a chance for Fred to share information about the company and our progress. We will then go around the table to share our individual progress with the rest of the company. This atmosphere is not exclusive to a few events during the year; this is the culture that carries on every day, our company culture.
Giving a personal perspective, I have never worked in a company where there is so much laughter. I think that one of the traits we look for in new employees is a sharp sense of humor. In our work neighborhood when someone asks “how was your weekend” that person actually will wait for the answer. We eat lunch together, we celebrate Birthdays together. At American Christmas when an employee celebrates a professional accomplishment, we celebrate together, with the enthusiasm as if we had done it ourselves. This is a great neighborhood we have built at American Christmas. I hope to live in this neighborhood for a very long time.