2020 has forced Ubisoft studios to think about new ways to get-together. Before the year comes to an end, let’s take a look at our studios’ holiday celebrations around the world: remote gingerbread baking, holiday kits, cookbooks filled with team members recipes, Holiday Streams and much more!
This year, Ubisoft studios got creative on setting up the season’s groove and holiday spirit before everyone ran off to their well-deserved holiday vacations. Thanks to the team at Ubisoft Redlynx who coordinated this article, we find out about the various ways you can get your team together and bring the year to an end in style.
Massive Entertainment, Sweden
To bring some light to the dark Swedish winter days, we at Massive planned a bunch of activities for December under the name “A Massive Yuletide”. We invited our colleagues to three Yule themed challenges: Gingerbread House Competition, Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition, and Yule Quiz. To get everyone started, we put up a socially distanced pick-up station outside of the office and handed out Gingerbread House kits to our employees.
“It was amazing to see so many of our colleagues drop by and pick up the kits, and it was truly heartwarming to see the photos sent in with comments on how they took time with their families to create something together and how much joy it brought,” says Emilia Drakeus, Communications and Event Manager.
The holiday season is also the season of giving, and who doesn’t like presents? As a gesture to help our colleagues get to know each other better when most of them are working from home, we created the first ever Massive Secret Santa gift exchange, which we hope will result in some nice new contacts and holiday cheer. We also believe that the holiday season should be merry for everyone, and with our special Christmas tree ornaments, our colleagues could donate money for a good cause. For example, you could help someone to a filling meal, make sure a child gets a magical Christmas gift, or give a homeless person a warming blanket.
Celebrating Lucia is a Swedish tradition which usually takes form of a physical choir performing, but this year we went digital, and with a studio wide stream we managed to bring this atmospheric tradition to all employees. The Yule activities culminated in a Massive Yule Show, streamed live from the office to all employees. During the show–which was led by our HR Director, Magdalena Schultze and FPA Specialist Maja Ekman–our knowledge of the holiday season was put to test and the winners of our different competitions were announced. All in all, our Massive Yuletide has been filled with sharing, caring, and a whole lot of fun!
Ubisoft RedLynx, Finland
Since we couldn’t get together to share a mug of glögg (the Nordic version of mulled wine) the Communications and Marketing teams were quick at putting together a fun and light-hearted Holiday Stream, aired directly from our very own streaming studio.
“We are more isolated than ever in our lives, so we should take every opportunity we can to bring team members closer to each other, even virtually,” Eero, our Holiday Stream creative lead and producer, shares.
Our holiday stream was hosted by two of our team members (wearing the compulsory uniforms of the season, the Christmas sweaters!), and it included superb teaser videos of all our projects to show everyone what we’ve been cooking up here at halls of RedLynx. The hosts took a little look at traditional holiday activities such as crafts, treats and more.
Giving is also a big part of the holidays and in our stream, viewers got into the season of giving as we did a surprise Nintendo Switch Lite raffle for the lucky winner to keep or give it forward as a gift this holiday season. We also sent out some packages from Santa Claus to our team members that would keep everyone covered for the coming year and donated to a local charity.
Ubisoft Sofia, Bulgaria
The holiday season is always an amazing time for us at Ubisoft Sofia. You can feel the Christmas spirit in the air while decorating the Studio and exchanging gifts at Secret Santa! This year we took on the challenge of celebrating while working from home, so we are delivering all this cheer and spirit directly to everyone’s homes!
We came up with an alternative way to celebrate by organizing several 2020-friendly activities, which we can do from home. It was quite exciting for the team members to put their game knowledge to the test in a fun “Guess the game title” video challenge with many rewards for the winners.
To show appreciation for our teams’ hard work during the year, we prepared a special Best Wishes video to the entire Studio.
Apart from fun and games, for us at Ubisoft Sofia close human contact is vital, and so is saying “Thank You”. To show appreciation for our teams’ hard work during the year, we prepared a special Best Wishes video to the entire Studio. And last but not least, to say a proper goodbye to 2020 and to remember it with a smile, we are composing a WFH Christmas photo collage made from cheerful selfies of our teammates.
With the new norm of WFH and many of us being far apart from our loved ones, we came up with a special edition holiday townhall show to wrap up our wild 2020 ride. Throughout the week and a half leading up to the event, we ran a holiday photo contest encouraging our staff to dress up or dress up their kids/tree/pets in holiday gear to get into the festive spirit. The townhall itself featured a lucky draw, a celebration of our people, messages of gratitude from the studio and projects and a crowdsourcing of the best holiday activities to do in Singapore.
We also ran our virtual Holiday ‘Melting Pot’, a bimonthly potluck that highlights our various nationalities and cultures within our studio, to bring the Singapore team together to celebrate the festive season. This virtual holiday Melting Pot will feature a specially made ‘Festive Treats Under $20 Cookbook’ which will be released early next year and filled with our team members’ delicious recipes. These include cookie butter cheesecake, homemade Spanish tortillas, satay pizza and even mulled wine, to share with friends and family.
Everyone has their own ways to ring in the holiday season—which is why we brought together a group of diverse Ubisoft Singapore team members together to find out how they celebrate the festive season through a holiday fireside chat. The participants reminisced about their favorite holiday memories, gave us insight into festive traditions unique to their culture and home countries, as well as talked about their favorite foods to cook and eat during the holiday season.
Ubisoft Montréal, Canada
As this is a very peculiar year, Christmas celebrations at the Montreal studio are just as distinctive.
If the children can’t come to Santa Claus, he will come to them: In spite of the special circumstances, we refused to let 2020 the grumpy year get the better of one of the most beautiful and popular traditions at the studio: Children’s Christmas. Our event team at Ubisoft Montreal had to invent a new formula to continue this important tradition. We got a little ahead of the game this year and delivered to the amazed toddlers an advent calendar that allowed them to count down the days before his next visit on December 24th. A total of 1071 gift boxes full of surprises were distributed in one weekend!
A merry Christmas ho ho (h)offline! It’s been over 277 days since our lives were turned upside down, and most of us now spend a good deal of our day staring at our screens, always connected, ready to join a Teams meeting at any moment.
Our event team figured the best Christmas gift would be to give our colleagues the chance to disconnect! We have mailed a very special box to them. We don’t want to give any spoilers yet, but this weekend, they will be able to relax, get some “me-time” and welcome in the holiday season thanks to the experience offered!
Ubisoft Barcelona, Spain
The festivities began on December 1st with the launch of our 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. Like an Advent calendar, a prize was awarded each day to two members of the studio who took up our daily challenge, such as writing a traditional Japanese Haiku poem in honour of Hibana or writing in L33T who left a pizza on the streets of NYC in Tom Clancy’s The Division!
We all watched a music video secretly prepared by some members of our studio in which they perform some holiday classics.
Then, on December 16th, Ubisoft Barcelona team members met online for a special ‘Pajama Party’ morning: online escape game followed by a quiz inspired by the TV show 1 vs 100 with questions dedicated solely to Ubisoft, its history, its talent and its games. Who says holidays, says music and we all watched a music video secretly prepared by some members of our studio in which they perform some holiday classics. Lulled by the holiday music, studio members unwrapped the gifts we delivered to their homes the day before: jumpers, jogging trousers, t-shirts, posters and food basket.
Our Pajama Party ended with a special lottery where three of our studio members won either a weekend staycation in a fancy Barcelona hotel or one of the two PS5 consoles. As every year, beyond the prizes and gifts, the real magic of the festive season happens when it allows everyone to get together, party and have fun.