To say 2020 was full of unusual challenges is an understatement. From sheltering in place for months to adapting to virtual for a lot of our annual traditions, unexpected pivoting was the theme of this year. As Cathie covered in our Bringing Bourbon Street Home All Hands recap, we are used to a virtual work space. I mean, CodeScience was remote before it was “Covid cool,” but we do love our face to face time, and that is especially true around the holidays. In years past, we have hosted holiday events on both coasts. We’ve hosted end of year celebrations in Chattanooga, TN, San Francisco, CA, and Portland, OR — you can read about a few of our past events here. In a nutshell, we like to celebrate together and with limited travel this holiday season we got creative. I’d like to share a little of our holiday magic, if you’d care to come along.

Getting Into the Holiday Spirit

We kicked off December by creating a Slack channel dedicated to spreading holiday cheer. CodeScientists posted pics of their holiday decorations, family traditions, new COVID holiday fun, and of course, pups and babes. Every day brought new delights and here are a few for your viewing pleasure:


Big Sam Brings the Spirit of New Orleans

We looked for ways to really juice up the excitement for the holidays and support small business folks at the same time, and we were thrilled to surprise our team with a holiday concert by Big Sam of Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Do you know Big Sam? You should — wow! He has an incredible spirit and a pretty fancy resume! In his teens, Big Sam was a founding member of the Stooges Brass Band and joined the Dirty Dozen, allowing him to play with Karl DensonDave MatthewsWidespread Panic, and James Brown. He has also played with Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint. His main band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, has performed at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage FestivalSouth By Southwest, and Austin City Limits. He even had a recurring role in the HBO series Treme! We were beyond honored to have Big Sam serenade us on his trombone with some holiday classics on our all company call. And I can’t believe it, but I didn’t get even one screen grab of the concert, but believe me…it was incredible. If you are interested in booking Big Sam for your Zoom events you can contact him through his Facebook pagehere. You won’t be disappointed.

Secret Santa Shenanigans

We also hosted a Secret Santa event. We used to keep everything anonymous; CodeScientists that wanted to participate were matched and the fun began! There were thoughtful gifts, like the custom ornament celebrating our CEO and his family’s new home. On the nose gifts for our chocolate and coffee lovers. Some “I really, really get you” gifts like the fancy candle our talent acquisition lead received, and then there were some…let’s say “questionable” gifts.

And that questionable gift…

and the guilty elf…

Please, if you have a recipe that requires loads of mayonnaise…well, just hold on to it. You never know when this gift will be regifted!

Mind-blowing Holiday Magic

Since we couldn’t be together at one of our holiday parties, we brought the party into our homes. We were thrilled to introduce Brad Barton, Reality Thief, a magician, a mentalist, a true master of mischief to our CodeScientists to entertain and thrill. It was crazy fun. His incredible performance comprised of mind-reading and sleight-of-hand card tricks, and his charming antics and quick wit made him seem like a 2020 year Willy Wonka! From his high energy comedy to the truly mind-blowing magic, seriously, I still can’t figure out a few of his tricks and my brain bends just trying to. Brad was truly epic. We hosted two shows so all CodeScientists and families could attend from coast to coast. If you are looking for some out of the box entertainment, we HIGHLY recommend the “Reality Thief.”

Children’s Hospital Gift Drive

And finally, one of the most precious partnerships we have at CodeScience is with Erlanger Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. For the last three years we have partnered with Erlanger to host a gift drive for kids and their families that are hospital bound during the holidays. You can read about past years here. Like a lot of things in 2020, our gift drive looked a little different this year. To help Erlanger safely accept donations we purchased and sponsored a donation bin. The sweet Child Life team even made us a little video showcasing the bin. But we didn’t stop there! CodeScientists from around the country sent gifts to complete the children’s wish lists and while we couldn’t go inside the hospital and we were all masked up (even Santa), we were still grateful to deliver the gifts to the hospital and keep our annual “Santa and elves” picture tradition alive.

So yes, 2020 was tough, but it certainly had some silver lining moments, too. I am so grateful to the amazing CodeScientists that I get to call coworkers and friends. And while I am looking forward to a fresh — and hopefully significantly better — year in 2021, I am humbled by the energy, effort, grace, and compassion that the CodeScience family bestowed this year.

Oh, and we are hiring! If you are interested in working with us, take a look at our open opportunities here.

Happy New Year!