Jill's Journal: Like two kids in a candy store

Jill Meier, Journal editor

Earlier this month when I announced to the staff that we were going to decorate the front window at the Journal office and enter our design in the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Light Up the Town” contest, my staff was all in.

Especially the two youngest members of our team, Erin and Keeley. I’ll call them our office “elves.”

The “elves” stepped up to take charge of the design, bringing out the paint brushes, paint, glitter and glue. Lisa and I both went shopping for lights and holiday décor, and Dawn, well she served as the cheerleader, encouraging and applauding their efforts along the way.

Our window features snowflakes, a snowman, snow and a Christmas tree created from leftover copies of the Journal, which they paired with garland, lighted gift boxes and of course, twinkles and twinkles of lights.

In the days leading up the announcement, Erin and Keeley were like two kids waiting for Santa’s arrival: They were eager to know the results. Keeley made a quick call to the Chamber and was surprised by the news: It was neck and neck between the Journal’s entry and the window at Bill Thompson State Farm.

That constituted a quick run by the Journal elves to take a peek of the décor gracing the insurance agency windows. No disrespect, Bill and company, but our elves took big pride in their work and remained optimistic that the Journal’s Merry Christmas window should be the clear winner. 

A day went by. Then two. Three and four. And still no announcement came our way – or perhaps – it had. Lo and behold, as I was perusing the Chamber’s weekly newsletter online and scrolled down the page, there it was: The Brandon Valley Journal was selected as the 2020 “Light Up the Town” contest winners.

As I announced the news – first with the elves – and then with the rest of the staff, it was easy to see that we all shared a sense of pride in doing our part to “Light Up the Town.”

And as for the elves, well, they were like two kids given free reign in a candy store relishing in the “sweet” reward of the holiday spirit.


Speaking of the holidays …

Although our fourth annual “Finding Brandon’s Christmas Spirit” ornament has been found, we heard from an assortment of you how much you enjoy what we believe has become a spirited holiday tradition here.

I smiled when I received a note from City Hall that said the staff was getting a good chuckle out of watching scavengers scour the grounds of the local VFW and how many of you converged on the Veterans Memorial at the corner of Splitrock and Aspen. I was even surprised by the call I received from Randy Marso and two curious secretaries at the high school. They were after the week one clue, as they had recycled the previous weeks’ copy of the Journal.

It was then and there I had to break the news to them: The ornament had been found by Jo Murren.

Their feelings surely weren’t hurt, but their excitement for the hunt was surely turned up. “You should do it again,” Marso said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

We will, Randy. We will.



The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
(605) 582-9999

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