Online Christmas Eve - we are all pioneers

Christmas Eve

We are all pioneers

In March 2020, we woke up to a new reality, which, aside from the obvious negatives in the form of illness and its socio-economic consequences, also has a few positives. With few exceptions, the situation surprised everyone, like a winter storm catching Polish road workers off guard, which means that we suddenly found ourselves back at the starting line and have to rearrange everything from scratch. Where are the positives in that? I think that a blank canvas is always a space of infinite possibilities - you can paint a masterpiece on it, create a plan for a device that assists humanity, or write it beautifully - thousands of possibilities, no need to conform to what already exists and (which is quite important to me) no competition to compare oneself to. We are all pioneers, we all start with a more or less clean slate, and what we do with that potential is entirely up to us.

Learning to walk again

Sure, learning to walk again is not pleasant, especially when we have been stopped in our tracks, but no one said it would be easy. In EENGINE, we have been learning over the past few months how to organize work in a home setting, how to communicate with clients and with our team, and even how to recruit new team members. As a company that was originally stationary and relied on a cohesive team that spent physical time together, we suddenly became 98% remote. I would venture to say that we came out of this with flying colors - we now know that in the future, we will not return completely to the old way of doing things - we have become too well organized, have been able to bring team members from outside our province on board, have saved time and the environment by eliminating the need for daily commutes to the office, and have replaced our shared coffee in the kitchen with...daily shared coffee on Zoom. However, that is not all we have had to learn again.

Christmas Eve

It's not enough to just hang baubles on your ears and shout "Merry Christmas!"

Although it would make things a lot easier. In any case, besides baubles on our ears, this year's company Christmas Eve required a bit more effort from us. EENGINE's parties have always been good. Food, costumes, games, and the opportunity to talk to people you don't normally work with on projects is a great opportunity to integrate the team and recharge batteries (or discharge them, as some prefer). But what if we take away the food and the opportunity to be face-to-face? When planning this year's party, we faced several challenges:

Planning is key

For an online party, you need an idea, because otherwise it will be as popular as low-quality material. Fortunately, our team likes games. The plan was simple: we all meet online right after work, and then, after the "official" part, we go to different rooms with different activities. We have fun until we run out of energy and desire.


The first idea was to organize the event on Zoom. However, the more we delved into the issue of breakout rooms, the more we felt that it was getting too complicated and something could go wrong. And here the rule that things should be simplified instead of complicated worked perfectly, but brainstorming was helpful in coming up with the idea of Discord as the perfect tool for us.


All we had to do was set up a server for the party and create any number of channels (voice + video and text) within it, allowing for simultaneous playing of different games.


Selecting games that would encourage people to spend time together online also required a bit of effort. So, I can give you some suggestions, take them and have fun:

  • Cards Against Humanity online - even before the pandemic, we had the opportunity to see that black humor brings people together,
  • Pictionary - a sheet of paper, a pen, Jamboard, a mouse - an old recipe for fun,
  • Black Stories - you don't even need to be able to draw for this 馃槈
  • Cities - we spent a lot of time on this channel because we like to exercise our brains,
  • Virtual escape room - the free ones are without bells and whistles and graphics, but if someone likes RPGs, they should find themselves here,
  • Quiz - you can create your own or use someone else's ideas. Our quiz served as a warm-up before the next attractions.


When it comes to holidays, there have to be gifts. And since we tailor solutions to our clients, Christmas packages (for clients and employees) were also assembled by hand; from boxes and hay from Polish meadows to a sweet surprise from our in-house bakery. There was no other option but to roll up our sleeves, pack, decorate, tie ribbons, and then involve a team of courier elves and our own forces, so that everyone could peek into their gift box on December 18 at 4:10 pm. Although there was no opportunity to meet in person, everyone probably likes to hold a nicely packaged box with cool contents - that's the magic of the holidays.


How did it end up?

December 18 arrived. It was 4:00 p.m. We gathered on the #general channel on Discord, each with a Christmas accent in the frame (EE people are really creative ;). There were wishes and unwrapping of packages, and then we scattered to individual channels. The most popular were Cards Against Humanity, States-cities, and Black Stories. And the discussions, originally planned for #general, moved to these three channels. The fact that the party lasted from 4:00 p.m. until midnight speaks for itself.

How did it end up?

  • With almost 30 people, Discord struggled a bit, so it's not the ideal solution for larger organizations.
  • Before the event, it's worth giving people instructions (DETAILED instructions) on how to use Discord (login, account setup, etc.).
  • If someone's camera or speaker doesn't work, they should turn their computer on and off - this is not a joke, unfortunately we found out too late.
  • The escape room was sadly neglected along with the art competition and YouTube party. The first and last apparently are not popular, and the art competition failed due to the lack of ability to print materials. For the future, it's worth considering providing each person with a Happy Unicorn starter pack along with the Christmas package.


  • Find a tool that is best suited to your needs. If you want to play games - use Discord, if you want to chat - use Zoom, etc.
  • Appoint supervisors for individual activities - let someone manage the game or channel. One person cannot do everything, and team involvement in the party will increase.
  • Find out what people want to do, but to avoid getting stuck in discussions, propose a ready-made list. Of course, suggestions are welcome, but it's easier to work with ready-made content.
  • Think about what people liked to do together before the pandemic - there's a good chance that there's an online version of it or a tool designed for this purpose.
  • Don't overthink it. The simpler, the better, and the less chance that something will go wrong.

Good luck!