Local businesses celebrate season of giving
We spend an enormous amount of time at work — so much that our fellow employees begin to feel like family. And just as the holidays bring a special flavor and essence to our homes, the same could be seen at work.
An informal survey of several employers in the New River Valley found an interesting blend of celebrations. As at home, many companies still send greetings in a very traditional way — via the United States Postal Service.
Jeff Caldwell, executive director at Friends of Claytor Lake, said he plans to make mailing cards a yearly tradition.
“Both Laura Walters [FOCL president] and I personally sign Christmas cards to over 300 of our supporters,” Caldwell wrote in an email. “This was something that had not been done before and I instituted last year in my first year as executive director.”
Friends of Claytor Lake has a Christmas party, attended by employees and the organization’s board. This year’s event will be at MK’s Gourmet Pizzeria and Shoppe, a Pulaski County favorite located close to the main entrance of Claytor Lake State Park.
Darryl Gillespie, CPA, will also host a holiday party or dinner for employees. He likes to patronize a local restaurant for the occasion. He will likewise do a mailing of “personalized holiday cards” to clients.
Gillespie pointed out an important distinction, given his trade.
“The Christmas Holiday Season has a different feeling for employees at my office,” Gillespie said. “It is time to rest up, enjoy your family and get ready to work long hours for three and a half months of tax season.”
Giesen-Caldwell Realtors in Radford has a long-standing tradition of sending small calendars to clients. These handy gifts have become known by some as a reliable tool, said Katrina Alderman Compton.
“We have also had past clients who’ve moved to assisted living and call because they didn’t get the calendar and wanted it,” Compton said.
“One used it for doctor’s appointments, and she always looked forward to getting it.”
Many offices build in some type of giving activity.
Several years ago, Giesen-Caldwell staff decided to forgo a holiday party and direct funds toward a local charity. The Radford Elf Shelf, Our Daily Bread and the Women’s Resource Center have all benefited from this action.
Friends of Claytor Lake organizes a Toys for Tots drive.
“We have done this for five years now and will continue this tradition,” Caldwell wrote.
“The Toys for Tots box is located at MK’s Gourmet Pizzeria, as well, and we send out emails, letters and Facebook posts to get anyone and everyone involved at Claytor Lake to help support needy kids in our area.”
The Radford Animal Hospital enjoys participating in the annual Radford Christmas Parade as one of their holiday traditions, said Practice Manager Mandi Martinez.
“Julie Sutherland, our lead licensed veterinary technician, and Dr. Carol Hansen are in charge of this year’s float. And, I must say, they are doing a fantastic job,” Martinez said.
“We look forward to a very creative and fun float this year.”
Hansen offers a hint at the design:
“We have been madly making flowers out of napkins and chicken wire this year. Think low-budget Rose Parade.”
Employees and family members, both two- and four-legged, will march with the company float at the Dec. 14 community event.
At Thompson & Litton, an engineering and architectural firm, holiday celebrations reflect a year-round strategy of promoting togetherness and sense of family.
“Special events and accomplishments such as weddings, new babies, graduations of employees and family members are celebrated along with recognitions of years of employment at specific milestones,” said Charlotte Sacre, director of sales.
“Many of T&L’s personnel are long-term employees having been at T&L 20 years, 30 years and 40-plus years. Food, fellowship, gifts, music and family add to the excitement and create a strong bond among colleagues all year long.”
So let’s deck our halls and raise a glass of cheer to the many enriching relationships in our lives — at home and at the many places we work.
– By Catherine Van Noy, Special to The Burgs