Last year was an amazing year for the Geeks. From new babies and new hires to major company milestones, we all had a lot to celebrate. So, to do just that, we did something special for Christmas last year: we actually left the house.
Not only did we leave our homes, but we even travelled all the way to London by bus, train, and/or plane during a transportation strike and a particularly freezing holiday weekend just to finally see each other in the flesh.
Baby Geeks, Christmas 2016
The first Geeky Tech Christmas Party happened way back in 2016 (look how cute we are!), and as you can probably guess, a lot has changed throughout the years. Ben, Pati, Alan, and Chloe started or expanded their families, while some of us moved away and settled in different parts of the world.
While many of the Geeky lifers had seen each other a few times since then, the 2022 Christmas bash was definitely the company’s most auspicious occasion yet.
For those of us who could travel (sadly, a few of our Geeks couldn’t make it), we all arrived at our hotels safe and sound, and we couldn’t believe that our coworkers (many of whom we were meeting for the first time) were actually real people and not just floating heads, as Google Meet would have us believe.
Travel in the Time of Travel Strikes
It might surprise a few of you to know that only a few Geeks actually live in London. The rest of us are spread out across the country or in other parts of the world.
Holly and Chloe, both of whom live in Turkey with their families, travelled the longest distance. Originally from the UK, these two were already in town for the holidays, but they still couldn’t avoid the delays caused by train strikes and bad weather.
Next, Genny, Patricia, and Hugo (Patricia’s husband and an honorary Geek) travelled from Lisbon and made the prophetic move of travelling without checked luggage to avoid lengthy delays at the airport.
Tis’ the Season for Seasonal Flu
What couldn’t be avoided, however, was the plague that hit a good chunk of us right before or the day of the Christmas meet up.
Blame Murphy’s Law; blame the cold weather; or maybe blame the two years of wearing immunity-killing masks—whatever it was, it was determined to make us drop like flies and end our fun day before it even started.
But, thanks to strong doses of over-the-counter drugs and ample amounts of hot drinks, we all pulled through and managed to enjoy the day—after all, employees who share their lurgies together, stay together!
The Geeks Spend the Day at Battersea Power Station
The setting for this festive event was the famous Battersea Power Station, which had everything the Geeks were looking for—food, fun, and virtual reality.
Lunch & Gag Gifts
We met for lunch at No. 29 Power Station West, an eatery bursting with patrons of all ages and all stages of festive cheer.
For some of us, it was the quintessential awkward moment when you greet someone you kind of know and you’re not sure if a hug is appropriate, so you reach out for a handshake but the other person is already wrapping their arms around you so your hand gets trapped between you and the other person’s torso, and then you both laugh nervously about it.
Once our orders were in and we were halfway through our bougie mock/cocktails, Ben, our impromptu Father Christmas, unloaded his sack and presented us with a generous amount of Geeky Tech swag. We think he was more excited, however, to present us all with our NSFW gag gifts.
Examples of Santa Ben’s Christmas goodies:
Cocktails Before VR
It’s really hard to describe the size and scope of Battersea Power Station, but if you can Imagine a supersized mall with a World War II aesthetic, you’re probably on the right track. We made our way to Control Room B, a mixology bar that served cocktails with names that matched the decor and namesake of the place.
Everywhere we went, it seemed like families, friends, and coworkers were gunning for our seats, so we couldn’t overstay our welcome and indulge in the combination of complex flavours.
By now, the awkwardness of the first hour had melted away, and as we all sat huddled together, it really felt like we were having one of our usual team meetings.
La Pièce de Résistance: Virtual Reality
The tasty food, the fragrant cocktails—everything had prepared us for the main event: a Geeky standoff at DNA VR. Most of us had never experienced virtual reality in this capacity before. But we all walked away sweating, disoriented, and wishing we had more time to destroy each other.
We started by playing a game that gave us all a chance to shoot each other and show off our dodging skills. It was soon obvious that the habitual gamers had the advantage, even though everyone got some kills under their belt. No matter how hard the rest of us tried, it was impossible to defeat Ben, Christian, Mark, and Alan on the scoreboard.
Once we got the hang of how to shoot, move, and explore without walking into real walls, we took over the other game sections at DNA and spent the rest of the evening dodging balls and being chased by zombies.
The Christmas meetup was winding down, and while we wanted to continue with a quick bite to eat, we realised Battersea Power Station wasn’t exactly the place for a group of 11 people to find somewhere to eat without a reservation.
Ah well, we made the best of it with pizza by the skating rink. It was then that the Geeks started saying their goodbyes and well wishes for the holiday.
Until Next Year
The next day, the Geeks who had travelled far and wide made their way back home and started their holiday break with their families.
We hope to see each other again for Christmas 2023, but if not, at least we all know each other as real human beings and not thumbnail-sized simulacra.