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Adapting to Omicron and Covid-19 … The best Christmas Party yet

We learned recently that new restrictions are necessary to protect us all from the new Omicron variant of our now all too familiar foe – Covid 19: Whilst Office parties are not banned, the fun will be knocked out by the muffled conversations of mask wearing party goers. However, at JBA we have recognised that these occasions never fill anyone with much festive anticipation anyway, and may be a tad outdated as a concept. Having said that, doing fun things together as a team is important for bonding, morale and relief from the daily deadline stresses. Natalie atJBA had an inspiration – one which proved to be an enormous success, and perhaps has set a new standard for such events and patter to follow in years to come. Deep in lock down, Natalie spotted an advert for an open air light show extravaganza at the beautiful Helmingham Hall in Suffolk.

The concept seemed ideal, as parties could be entertained by the beautiful light trail amid glorious grounds and gardens, but be amply fed and delighted by the open air stalls of local fare and crafts. As we have come to expect from Natalie, everything was organised and orchestrated to perfection, everyone meeting at the entrance, given tickets, and our JBA Christmas card hand designed by Natalie and written individually to each team member by James Blake, and gifts given too. On entry there was a wonderful area of stalls selling local crafted and roasted sugared almonds and hot chocolate.

Walking past the beautiful hall, the light trail began, building with each turn. We all joined again to roast marshmallows and many enjoyed a locally produced sausage as a giant hotdog – warming the cockles on a crisp winter’s evening. The light show built in splendour and imagination and we traversed it in small clusters with everyone suitably wowed and delighted – the lights and sounds awakening the latent child in us all. We finished the trail in the courtyard of the grand hall, enjoyed a mulled wine mug and chatted together for a while before saying our farewells and departing. It was a truly positive experience, and better than any tabled Christmas meal before it, socially distanced, Covid safe, far more relaxed and delightful too boot.