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It’s that time of year again – the office is decorated from top to bottom in tinsel and Secret Santa gifts are being passed around as our hard-working small business community winds down for the festive season.

With another twelve months of success, growth and hard graft under their belt, the Welsh ICE family are more than deserving of a few mince pies, a seasonally spiced tipple and, of course, the annual opportunity to socialise and blow off steam at a Christmas party.

However, whilst this holiday is sadly reminiscent of the ghosts of Covid-Christmas past, we still wanted to take the opportunity to ask our community members about their personal preferences for getting ‘merry’ at the end of the year.

We all have our own very particular festive family and work traditions, especially when it comes to the all-important Yuletide get-together, but is it all about the food, or the music? Is it just a time to be festive with one another or should there be some scheduled games or activities involved?

For me, the best Christmas party is made up of the little things that set it apart from other year-round gatherings – even down to the long-awaited roast dinner, which is a real treat that I indulge in almost exclusively during the festive period. I also must admit to having a soft spot for a party in the office where I revel in the opportunity to sing along unashamedly to cheesy Christmas hits.

Social media assistant Seren Owen-Hicks agreed that there’s something special in the Christmassy details:

“It’s always so memorable to be with all my favourite people with festive songs playing, decorations lighting the place up, the warm and fuzzy feeling when everyone is dressed in cosy Christmas jumpers or sparkly party outfits and not forgetting the mulled wine! It’s my absolute favourite.”

seren owen-hicks

Chloé Carter, founder of Because Animals Are Worthwhile, prioritises the company she keeps while she celebrates. She said:

“You could have all of the best party elements but it’s only magical when you have the right person or people around you.”

chloe carter

In agreement, digital marketing specialist Patrick Valentino added:

“I always really look forward to the office Christmas parties, not necessarily because of the highly decorated venue or party games, but because getting the community together mingling and socialising is the best experience.

“From a home perspective, my brother and I get extremely competitive over trivia games in what’s become a yearly tradition.”

patrick valentino

It seems as though the ICE community take the invite list to their festive shindigs very seriously, with receptionist Olivia Baxter Lloyd also concurring that her fellow party goers are often the making of the evening. She said:

“What makes the best Christmas party is a tie between two things for me. The people are a huge part of it as you’re spending time with those who make you happy, having a laugh and making memories.

“The second thing, though, is definitely the music! If the playlist has good tunes, the vibes are even better!”

olivia baxter-lloyd

Photographer Jon Plimmer admitted that the people are even more important than the Christmas backdrop:

“I’m a bit of a scrooge because of years spent working in retail and pubs, but it’s the people that make any party. Games, activities and music are great and can elevate the enjoyment, but even without all of this, I’d still have an amazing time with good people.

“Much like the messages put across in Christmas stories like The Grinch and A Christmas Carol, it’s not about the trees, the tinsel or the gifts – it’s about being surrounded by people you love.”

jon plimmer

It’s clear that, for our small business community, all of the finer details at the end of year celebration like the karaoke booth, cocktail bars and fancy dress themes are just flourishes on what is, in essence, a valued opportunity to join together with loved ones and enjoy their company.

It looks like, for many, that may be tough to do again this year, given the situation. But if the past two years have shown us anything, it’s that people are resilient. Whilst we may have to miss out on our friends so that we can see our families this Christmas, we know that we will find a way to keep that festive spirit kindled.

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