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Celebrating the Holidays in 2020

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By: Bruce Landry | Jan 22, 2021

The holiday party where I work, at its core, has always been a chance to connect on a personal and social front. It’s also an event that we look forward to and plan for as early as September.

This year, our celebration was virtual, the money spent on the staff and not the event, and a was major success!

The party was on Friday, December 18, but the excitement started a week earlier when, during a staff meeting, we were given a PowerPoint teaser that there will be mixologists, and some staples: contests, games, and lunch and drinks?

Things started to make more sense on Monday when we received an email with a party agenda including instructions to prepare a second device with Kahoot, ingredients to pick up depending on the drink we wanted to make, and contest categories to help in the preparation process.

A few days later, the promise of lunch and drinks made sense when a beautifully personalized card from our president arrived in the mail with a gift card to use towards a lunch delivery and drinks of choice.

Then Friday was here, it was noon, I fired up my Microsoft Teams and was set for a merry afternoon! We kicked off with comments from our president who has a great way with words, and wrapped up the accomplishments and strength of our team during an intense year very nicely.

bruce landry holiday photo 1Then students from Collège La Cité’s mixology class took the virtual stage to guide those participating through how to make a Christmas Grinch (with alcohol) and Santa’s Elf (non-alcoholic). My Christmas Grinch came out blue, but still delicious. I was left feeling like I have a new drink to offer guests when we’re back together next year.

Now we had a drink (or three) in us and it was early, so the perfect time for lunch. We were given this time slot in advance to request our food deliveries. We separated into breakout rooms and were able to have lunch with people we don’t usually connect with. It was a nice change of pace, and where the conversation would centre on plans for the holidays, that was a short discussion topic this year so things got a bit more personal, getting to know about each other’s families.

There was a bit of a hiccup on my end when my delivery was delayed by 30-minutes, so I watched people eat and ate mine during the next part, but there are always situations to adapt to during an event.

After lunch the group got back together for a Kahoot Game of holiday movie questions that were apparently challenging. I won by a staggering lead but I’m also an endless optimist who sees December 25 as the best day after my birthday, so those questions were my jingle.

The party was now in full swing and people wanted to chat and share laughs. For the next 90 minutes, we had the choice of going to different rooms including a bar, board games galore, craft and chat, pet central, finer things club, paradise chalet, a scavenger hunt, and just because being virtual means we don’t need the reindeers to get to magic–Hogwarts!

I spent half of my time doing the scavenger hunt. Which was a race to find different things in our households; a great way to get off our feet during a Zoom event. I made it to the finals but was beat by my colleague Patricia who was too fast for me. I could hear the cheering while still searching.

I was also in the craft and chat room where we showed off projects that COVID has brought on but mostly spent the time chatting in a new room with new colleagues.

The dog even decided that he’d been waiting for his portion of my lunch long enough and crashed the party, so we went to pet central. The cuteness overload from seeing all the attention seeking four-legged family members was a wonderland of its own.

bruce landry holiday photo 2Finally, we had our awards presented for the two shiniest ensembles, one won by yours truly, two most festive outfits, two coziest outfits, and two most festive backgrounds, one won by a colleague who joined the party from BC, in a hot tub overlooking mountains… Showing the beauty of connecting virtually!

The party was then wrapped up but the bar remained open. It was 7 p.m. before we realized that we’d been chatting for four extra hours and should probably say our goodbyes and Happy Holidays. It was truly a miracle to be able to connect with so many people and have such a unique and memorable experience, during a surely unique and memorable year. Let’s hope next year, we’re back to in-person and it’s just as fun!

Bruce Landry HeadshotArticle written by Bruce Landry, Colleges and Institutes Canada

Article edited by Rozanne Lyons, CMP, Intertask Conferences

 

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bruce landry
Bruce Landry

 

 
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