ONE DAY SANTA PICKS YOU AND YOU HAVE TO SAVE CHRISTMAS!
"All right, you're a reindeer. Here's your motivation: Your name is Rudolph, you're a freak with a red nose, and no one likes you. Then, one day, Santa picks you and you save Christmas!’ Jim Carey, The Grinch
No matter when your Christmas season starts, jammed somewhere amongst the spicy, twinkling mix of sentiment and indulgence will be a company celebration. Be it for employees and/or clients, if you’ve been chosen to organise this year’s event, you’ll already be asking yourself ‘how far do I have to go to get it right?’
My strongest memory of a Christmas event was a client lunch for the company I was working for at the time. It required consideration, collaboration and meticulous planning to create the perfect experience. We wanted to showcase our industry influence and talents as an events company, whilst creating a warm, festive atmosphere to build stronger relationships with our clients.
Imagine. Forty clients for drinks and canapés at the top of the Wellington Arch; time to take in glorious festive London and a moment to salute the Royal Horse Guards with a glass of champers as they paraded beneath. This would be followed by a sumptuous lunch in the Park Suite of the Dorchester.
Interestingly on the day it went from potential massive failure with damages, to an all-time success in the space of two hours! Very early on event day, I was zipping down Park Lane in a taxi towards the Wellington Arch. As we shot past the Dorchester I noticed that it was surrounded by a battalion of heavily armed police with industrial strength firepower and armoured vans. Just at that moment my boss called and asks ‘What the “f*@£” is going on outside the Dorchester?’ He is obviously in a taxi in front of me. #awkward. I like to think I’m a strong person who is pretty light on their feet, but I’ll admit I was shaken. I’d never seen an Armed Police Unit before – it’s quite terrifying and your imagination runs riot. What could I do? Well, I just carried on to the Wellington Arch and literally flew up the stairs. Whilst the caterers and florists bustled around, the team and I made MANY calls. It turned out that the President of Pakistan was staying in the penthouse next to the Park Suite and there’d been some sort of threat made. The place was in lock-down. #gettingreallyawkward.
My career flashed before my eyes as we talked about Plan B’s. We considered how long would be too long to hold our clients at the top of the Wellington Arch, and when would it be considered kidnap? My boss looked ‘grave’ and was muttering bad words. We had to pull a 6ft white rabbit out of a very big hat (if we could find one) and we needed to call in some massive favours to deliver an alternative quality solution very quickly.
We started contacting other premium 5* hotels, venues, restaurants and suppliers across London to see if they could help. It was all feeling a bit #squeaky. However, the Wellington Arch looked fabulous, the vibe was amazing, the view was stunning and the catering was divine. For nearly two hours our clients enjoyed themselves, whilst the team made like swans; laughing and chattering but intermittently whispering into their phones in corners.
The incredible thing was how quickly another plan came together, and how responsive our industry was to the situation. As a team we believed, trusted and leaned on each other, so despite it being bad it felt good! Hey, we were a crack team too!! Then, just as we were going to settle on Plan B, the call came to say ‘they’re gone!’. Armed police, armoured vans, Presidents, entourages and everything that goes with it. Suddenly it was game on for lunch in the Park Suite at The Dorchester - and what a fabulous afternoon it was!! Credit to the Dorch, you would never have known what they’d been through (had they been on the swan course too?). Everything was graceful, elegant, immaculate and delicious. Our clients genuinely appreciated the experience and talked about it for months, never knowing what had really happened #thankyou. It was a raving success and ‘oh how we laughed’ on the train home.
We'd love to hear when you have saved Christmas x