Remember the ol’ office Christmas party? Yeah, that’s the one.
In years gone by, the annual event was an institution – everyone scheduled around it. It’s just a natural feature on the office calendar.
But, unfortunately, the last few holiday seasons went a bit differently. People have been working from home, the office dynamic got a completely new look, and some are still hesitant about cramming the entire team into a room, enjoying punch and hors d’oeuvres from a communal buffet table.
Another shift was that the team became much more diverse and widespread. Not everyone lived in the same city or country, and the remote working model allowed employers to seek talent unrestricted by geography and commute times.
As a result, they had to rethink how they would get teams to bond and handle team-building events, corporate retreats, and other office functions.
And so, the world of a remote team–building and events was thrust into the spotlight. One company that has its finger on the pulse of the corporate world’s changing needs is Rockoly.
Not only can Rockoly cater to all your virtual team building and workshop needs throughout the year, but they can also plan the perfect Christmas event for your team.
Choose an online cooking workshop, virtual wine tasting, or happy hour, let your team let their hair down, and celebrate a job well done.
Christmas Cooking with Rockoly
Cooking workshops are always fun. They are a light-hearted way to get everyone involved, even if they have trouble boiling water. It’s an excuse to have a good laugh and learn something new.
A cooking workshop is also an excellent option for a teambuilding event. However, there is more to a cooking workshop than meets the eye. Soft skills are practiced during the process that will carry through to the work environment.
Meal preparation requires planning – an essential skill and amateur chefs need to assess their resources and see what needs to be delivered within a specific time – just as one would with a business project.
Other essential skills include time management, communication, performing under pressure, collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity.
All that aside, they are just good old fashion fun, and your team can come together and enjoy the process without agenda or ulterior motives.
Rockoly will help you design the perfect festive menu for your team’s Christmas event. The menus are customizable and cater to vegetarians and vegans as well.
So, while we are on the topic of Christmas cooking, let’s look at some of the traditional staples around the world.
It is safe to say that November and December are not the best time to be a turkey. Nevertheless, they are often the center of a festive food table. But have you ever wondered why?
Roast goose used to be the go-to festive dish, but as access to healthcare improved and families became more extensive, it simply wasn’t enough. Turkeys are cheap to raise, big enough to feed multiple mouths, and soon, a new tradition was formed.
The Christmas Ham
If you were living in Tudor England, a boar’s head would be the centerpiece of your Christmas spread. This tradition goes back to the time of the Vikings in the region, and the dish was a sacrifice to honor Freyr, the Norse god of harvest and fertility.
Poorer families couldn’t afford this and placed a yule ham on the table instead. As times changed, the Christmas ham slowly edged out roasted boar, and it remains a quintessential holiday dish in many parts of the world.
This delicious Milanese bread, long associated with Christmas, was first created in the 1400s by the duke’s falconer and a local baker.
The falconer was deeply in love with Adalgisa, the baker’s daughter. The two men secretly created the rich bread, breathing new life into the bakery business. When Christmas came around, they added a festive flair, including dried fruit and citron to the dough.
The bread became so popular that it made the baker extraordinarily wealthy, which meant the couple could marry.
Plum Christmas Pudding
This tradition originated when the Roman Catholic Church issued a decree to make a 13-ingredient pudding to represent Christ and the twelve apostles.
Families made this pudding together on the Sunday before the Advent season, each stirring the batter from east to west to commemorate the Magi’s journey.
It originally contained raisins, currants, beef suet, citrus zest, almonds, and spices. When plums were used as a substitute, a new tradition was born.
The original version is still eaten today – Christmas pudding.
Buche de Noel
The Bûche de Noël – aka yule log – evokes the Yule log that kept European homes warm throughout Christmas. The Celts would burn logs outside to celebrate yule – now known as the winter solstice.
Today, chocolate yule logs are the most common variant and are made with layers of rolled genoise sponge cake filled with mousse or buttercream.
Stollen was originally an Advent meal, eaten in monasteries in the fifteenth century. It was rather bland and contained no fruit or butter.
The Saxon nobility implored the Pope to permit the use of butter in it. Permission was granted in 1491, and the recipe became a luxurious Christmas treat.
The dried fruit- and marzipan-flavored bread represents the swaddled Baby Jesus.
An Unexpected Japanese Tradition
In Japan, KFC franchises rub their hands together in glee at Christmas time. Why? Because on Christmas Eve, 3.6 million Japanese families dine on a KFC Christmas dinner. And it’s all about clever marketing.
In the early seventies, KFC Japan sold a holiday bucket with the tagline “here is something that you should do on Christmas”.
A Christmas Wine Tasting Event
If you want something a little more sophisticated or are looking to add a little extra to your Christmas event, how about a wine-tasting evening? You can add it to your cooking workshop to extend the party vibe.
It can be a great festive activity even for those who aren’t connoisseurs. A virtual wine tasting is a delicious, fun way to connect with your team and enjoy a good vintage or two while at it.
Rockoly’s interactive virtual wine tastings are hosted by expert sommeliers who will
educate your team about the history of winemaking, let them discover the process, and enjoy tasting some of Spain and Italy’s finest wines.
Christmas Wine Traditions
Wine is very much a part of the festive tradition. Sparkling wine in the Christmas punch, bubbly on New Years’ Eve, and an exceptional vintage served at lunch are just a few examples. Here are a few more Christmas wine traditions.
Wassailing is a Twelfth Night tradition that goes back centuries to the time of the Celts. It began as a pagan custom, where people would visit the orchards and vineyards and sing to the trees and vines.
The aim was to please the spirits and be blessed with a good harvest. A wassail bowl would be filled with spiced cider, sherry, or ale and shared among the crowd.
In Europe, the focus was very much on vineyards, and revelers made offerings of wine to the oldest vines in the vineyard.
Also known as mulled wine, hot wine is a richly spiced European wintertime staple. Drinking it at Christmas time is a longstanding tradition, and the ‘craft’ market has picked up recently.
Mulling kits are available online and in the supermarket, so you can easily make it in your own home. Mulled wine is made with a decent red and then sweetened and flavored with orange peel and cinnamon.
The German variation, glühwein, is given a zest kick with orange juice and a hearty dose of rum, whereas the Hungarians prefer white wine flavored with honey and whole peppercorns.
The Swedish version is called ‘Glogg’ and includes booze-soaked raisins and almonds, spices, and a hefty serving of port, brandy, and Muscatel.
The name of this wine speciality translates to fire bowl, and the yuletide treat utilizes both. First, mulled wine is spiced with cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and orange peel. Then a sugar cone soaked in rum is set alight. The heat caramelizes the sugar, which slowly drips into the wine, creating a distinct flavor.
Christmas Cocktails and the Virtual Happy Hour
The longstanding tradition of Happy Hour was lost in the pandemic’s early days. However, it has been a part of office culture for decades. Thanks to Rockoly, Happy Hour continues to thrive in a remote world, and it’s the perfect excuse to celebrate the festive season with your team.
A specially trained mixologist will guide your team as they create traditional and bespoke cocktails and enjoy each other’s company. Mixology is the art of mixing the perfect combination of spirits and flavors to create unique and delicious mixed drinks to suit every taste.
A mixologist formally studies the history of spirits and drink mixing, specializing in traditional cocktails, creating their own recipes, and keeping up with trends and local culture.
Christmas Cocktails to Celebrate the Season
Christmas tipples can range from ultra-traditional to creatively contemporary.
Eggnog is a very traditional, creamy cocktail comprising milk, sugar, and…well, eggs. A generous dash of brandy, rum, or bourbon is added for good measure. It is whipped, which gives it a delightful frothy texture. And it is topped off with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
In its early days, it was reserved for the rich, as they were the only ones who could assess milk and eggs.
Eggnog was introduced to the British colonies in America in the 18th century. It became associated with Christmas after the eggnog riots at the US Military Academy in 1826 when cadets smuggled in the ingredients to create a cocktail for Christmas Day.
Advocaat and the Snowball
Advocaat is a Dutch take on eggnog and is served with cream and cocoa. Brandy or cognac is blended with sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks. It is much richer than eggnog – like a liqueur – and thick.
A popular Christmas cocktail, the Snowball, is made with Advocaat, lemonade, and a splash of wine. It was trendy in the UK in the 70s but faded into obscurity until chef Nigella Lawson presented it on her cooking show in 2006.
A toddy is a traditional Scottish drink made by boiling water and whiskey and adding sugar and spices like cloves, cinnamon, or lemon.
It is made to warm the soul as much as the body on cold winter nights, and the Scots will swear that it is the ultimate cure for colds and flu.
Get your Christmas On
These workshops provide everything you need to build cohesion and connection within your team and are perfect for ending a successful year on a festive note.
The use of modern technology makes it possible to bring your team together from anywhere in the world.
For example, professional chefs use video conferencing to guide and motivate teams to create delicious, festive meals and cocktails to get everyone into the holiday mood.