For the 2017 Little Potato Company Staff Christmas Party, held on Saturday, December 9, 2017, our theme was “Welcome to the LPC Lodge”, inspired by a winter lodge/company ski retreat vibe. Curating memorable and unique experiences for guests and clients helps shape the immersive environment and activations we create, paired with impactful branding and alignment with the demographic and needs of the guests. For this event, in knowing that many of the staff of the company are new Canadians and have likely not experienced a winter in the mountains, hitting the slopes, or cozying up to a fire in a charming lodge, we decided to bring the winter lodge and mountains to them.

To effectively execute the design throughout the three ballroom spaces on a limited budget, we needed to identify key activations that would maximize engagement, be able to include company branding, and still be elements that would add value to the client and justify the spend.

When making the design recommendations, we took the following into account:

– the target audience
– the focus and purpose of the event
– celebrating the company’s staff and their family members
– the Little Potato Company’s core values and mission
– the successes and challenges of the 2016 Staff Christmas Party
– the theme of this year’s event
– curating an engaging, fun, and interactive experience

To execute the theme in an effective and engaging way, we created the following:

  • An impactful and thematic entranceway, including thematic greeters serving mocktails: We wanted to create the image that one would see as they walked into the doors of a ski lodge. As such we created a wooden façade that encapsulated the wooden trim around the main ballroom doors, which also featured the main “LPC Lodge” sign. LPC for “Little Potato Company”. Originally when trying to spec out the façade, the ballroom doors were affecting where we would be able to adhere the piece to the frame, so, much to our surprise, we were able to convince the venue to remove the ballroom doors. As the event was the only one in the space that day, and with the registration table being staffed for the duration of the event, we weren’t worried about not being able to close the ballroom doors.
    • Flanking each side of the entrance we created our version of large trees using slotted trees made from coroplast. We also created large rustic floral arrangements that sat in urns, adding a more dramatic and elegant feel to the entrance. Lanterns were also placed out in the vignettes and snow, to create the feeling of being outside and walking into an indoor environment. Uplighting was added to help accentuate key décor elements and create a more impressive feel as guests walked from one space into the ballroom area.
    • Also in the area, Tycoon built a custom ski rack, complete with skis and poles.
    • We set up registration table in this area, complete with appropriate signage and carefully curated florals. The signage was hung from custom made light posts and then the signs themselves were hung from hooks to again give that rustic authentic feel.
    • As guests ventured into the event space, they were greeted by thematic servers who offered guests complimentary mocktails as they arrived. Complete with trays of delicious holiday bevvies, snowsuit onesies, ski goggles, ear muffs, and toques, these ladies were a major hit and made it hard not to get into the festive “spirit”!
  • Guest table centrepieces and florals:
    • Working with the rustic but elegant feel, we worked to create custom centrepieces for the guest tables, which also aligned with the large urn arrangements that were set at the entrance and on the stage.
    • Centerpieces and the arrangements which were set on accent tables throughout the space were set on Tycoon’s custom-made wood coasters.
  • Stage and DJ area:
    • Wooden facades were hand crafted by our team to fit the DJ booth, which added to the ski lodge feel. We also kindly asked the DJ if could wear his best ugly Christmas sweater, which he was kind enough to do!
    • A custom backdrop for the stage was created to create the effect of being inside the lodge. We worked to find ways to establish what was an “outdoor element” and what were “indoor elements” so that we could create a feeling of being immersed in the mountain landscapes or being cozy inside the lodge.
    • A podium, which visually aligned with the theme, featured a custom sign titled “LPC Lodge” and so that it was consistent with the signage on the outside of the entrance.
    • Accents such as the large urn arrangements, antique sleds, lanterns, and uplighting were placed within the space to elevate the theme and create an impactful focal point.
  • Bars:
    • Wooden facades were hand crafted by our team to fit both bars stations in the room, which added to the ski lodge feel and aligned with the wooden façade of the DJ booth. Designed to fit any size of bar and table, the thoughtful design allows these props to be functional and versatile.
    • Custom menus featured the signature cocktail of the evening: “Spudley’s Christmas Sangria”, and were set in custom made wooden frames.
    • Accents included festive candles and antique antlers.
  • Fireside Lounge:
    • The “Fireside Lounge” was set up with one of the bar stations and mimicked the feeling of a sitting by the fire and sinking into comfortable leather couches, sipping on cocktails in the lodge’s lounge.
    • Soft seating and candle light created a relaxing atmosphere that guests gravitated to for round table conversation. Signage was also added.
  • Firepit Area:
    • Venturing from the inside environment of the “Fireside Lounge” to being outdoors, we led the guests through a transition into the Firepit Area. Here, we brought in elements that we knew would be indicative of being outside in the wilderness, seated around the roaring fire.
    • We used the slotted trees, varying from 5’ to 7’ tall, throughout the area to create the outdoor feel.
    • We created two firepit areas that each included:
      • Authentic Muskoka Chairs surrounding each pit, accessorized with accent pillows (carefully chosen so that sayings and visuals aligned with the theme) and sheepskin throws.
      • Wood log stumps for seating.
      • Handcrafted fire pits!
      • iPads were set up to play fire crackling sounds.
    • Uplighting was added to create more depth and enhance the mood.
    • Fake snow was added to elevate the effect of being outside.
    • A custom-built sign, “Let’s Get Cozy”, was also added.
  • Late Night Dessert Station titled “Marshmallow Mountain”:
    • “Marshmallow Mountain” was created to be an interactive “s’more” installation – a unique spin on a classic dessert, and one that got guests mixing and mingling with one another.
    • When guests were dining and the 45 minute formal program was underway, with attention focused towards the stage, we went in and added the marshmallows to the mountain caps.
    • As part of the program’s closing remarks it was announced that the “Marshmallow Mountain” s’more station was now open for guests. The roasting station itself was complete with open flames for guests to roast their marshmallows over, longer skewers for guests to use to roast their marshmallows, graham crackers, and a variety of chocolates. For those who were new to making s’mores, step by step instructions were displayed to help guests along, including having our team as happy helpers.
  • Photobooth:
    • Our answer to upping the ante for the traditional photo booth: we set out on a wild adventure to have a real quad chair (the individual chairs that are part of a ski hill’s chair lift), a green screen, a snow machine, and real props. And what an adventure it was!
    • The set up was accessorized with skis, poles and other props.
    • The green screen background was created to the visual of guests riding up the mountain on a chairlift, with the visuals aligning with the graphics used throughout the event space to create synergy and consistency.
    • Custom print outs were created to capture the theme and the experience.