Tech the halls: Inside the holiday traditions at 7 Boston tech companies

December 19, 2016

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are fast approaching and Boston’s top tech companies are finding fun ways to celebrate a year of hard work and camaraderie.

And Boston tech sure knows how to have a good time. From karaoke and gingerbread house-making to Yankee swaps and ugly sweater contests, there’s no shortage of opportunities for employees to unwind and have a good time this season.

We caught up with seven companies that filled us in on all of their year’s end traditions, sharing pictures, stories, and successes before 2016 comes to a close.

Happy holidays, Boston! We hope 2017 brings you health and happiness.

 

Does your company have any fun holiday traditions?

Yes. We want to help our employees get in a festive mood and take some time to celebrate all their hard work over the past year. So, we host an annual holiday party. We also offer gift wrapping, as well as some tasty holiday treats, like a hot chocolate afternoon break, in our Hungry Owl cafe.

How will your company be celebrating this year?

Over the years we’ve had some fabulous holiday parties and this year is no exception. We held our party at the Boston Children’s Museum featuring a “Be a Kid Again” theme. We think it’s important to connect with that same curiosity and wonder that children have. The night included a DJ and other fun activities like old school arcade games, Karaoke and a photo booth to capture the moment. We had a big turnout.

Are you giving back to the community in any way?

Absolutely. During our holiday party, the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation conducted a fundraiser as part of our company’s commitment to the refugee crisis for our partner, the International Rescue Committee. Attendees had the opportunity to donate money in exchange for a key to a locker, corresponding to their donation amount, which may or may not have contained a prize. Donation tiers were: $25, $50, $100, $250 and $500 and our fundraising goal is $15,000.

Each of the losing lockers contained a consolation prize of alphabet soup (in keeping with our kid theme) that winners could donate on the spot to the Needham Community Council Food Pantry into a canned goods drop off bin.

For background, in September 2016, TripAdvisor announced a commitment of at least $5 million from the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation over the next 3 years to aid the humanitarian refugee crisis. The initial investments include For the initial contribution, the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation expanded its partnership with The International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps providing $1 million to each organization.

What gift would your company want this year?

One of the greatest gifts would be for others around the world to join TripAdvisor in taking action to help provide refugees with critical access to information, essential education opportunities and resettlement support.

 

Does your company have any fun holiday traditions? If so, what are they?

We look forward to celebrating the holidays with our customers every year. For the last several years we’ve hosted a holiday party for our customers in New York City. We also celebrate elsewhere around the world, from some pre-holiday gatherings in Australia to sending out Advent calendars to our customers in Europe. And of course, our offices will host year-end celebrations for our employees too.

Are you giving back to the community in any way?

For the past couple of years, the Boston office has partnered with the Department of Children and Families to pair our employees with the holiday wish lists of children in DCF care. This year we helped fulfill the wishes of 200 children through gifts of toys and clothing. In addition to holding the equivalent of an Ugly Holiday Sweater party with their “Christmas Jumper Day,” our U.K. office is helping local families with its “Giving Tree,” piled with gifts for children. For the second year, our Australian office had fun building bicycles for children in Brisbane.

What gift would your company want this year? 

We wish warmth and kindness to all our friends, and may all your online orders arrive on-time, undamaged and in the right size.

Which holiday song or movie best describes your company?

Rudolph, because just like the Red-nosed Reindeer, we’ll never let the Abominable Snowman get the best of you.

 

Does your company have any fun holiday traditions?

Ugly holiday sweaters and Yankee swaps are a given, we also like to bring in breakfast and mimosas the last business day before New Years. Folks are really great about decorating their own areas of the office and really get into the spirit of the season.

How will your company be celebrating this year?

I’m super excited to say that this year we are going to be doing a “Holiday Stroll” at our regularly scheduled happy hour. Everbridge passed out these giant houses to each department to decorate. The teams have a week to create a house fit for a gingerbread man and come up with an accompanying holiday drink (ex: Peppermint Schnapps hot cocoa). Then on the day of the holiday stroll we’ll ask folks to come in their ugly sweaters and check out all the houses, sample the beverages, and vote for who has the most creative abode. The winning team will receive a special holiday treat, like a pizza party or something along those lines.

Are you giving back to the community in any way?

We do a canned food drive every year between November and December and this year we are also heading to the Greater Boston Food Bank to help organize and distribute care packages for families in need. Our holiday gift drive also wrapped up today (no pun intended). Three local families submitted their wish list and the office came together to make sure they have good gifts to open come Christmas day.

Our office is very active and this year we’re actually participating in the Jingle Bell in Davis Square. It’s a really fun and festive 5k in Somerville aimed at supporting local business and children in need.

What gift would your company want this year?

A slide that connects the 4th and 3rd floor. Hammocks that can fit under your desk.

Which holiday song or movie best describes your company?

Home Alone! Aside from being a classic, we’re a vibrant staff that likes to have fun.

 

 

Do you have any fun holiday traditions?

Cybereason has an open margarita bar, Israeli style.

How is Cybereason celebrating the holidays this year?

We're having an end of year party, and a holiday toy drive.

What gift would your company want this year?

World peace seems unlikely, but how about an unlimited supply of Shake Shack fries?

Which holiday movie or song best describes your company and why?

Home Alone. We live to keep the bad guys out.

 

Does your company have any fun holiday traditions? If so, what are they?

Criteo makes it a priority to celebrate the holidays as a team. As our local Boston office grows, traditions are beginning to take shape.

How will your company be celebrating this year?

This year we dressed up and celebrated with a holiday bash at the office. It was decorated in a winter wonderland theme. We enjoyed great food, drinks and entertainment from the our employee band, The Critiots. The band played classic hits and employees danced the night away while taking in the great views of Boston Harbor and Logan Airport from the 15th floor. Given that the party was on a Thursday night, the management team allowed employees to sleep in a bit the next morning and come into the office at 11 a.m.

Are you giving back to the community in any way?

Yes, during the holiday season our Criteo employees gave back to the community in various ways. Some things that we did as a team include:

  • We contributed to Toys for Tots and hosted a donation box in the Boston office.
  • Employees volunteered in Boston for Christmas in the City, a non-profit organization that brings holiday magic to thousands of Boston-area kids and their families who’ve been experiencing the uncertainty of homelessness and the stress of poverty. We helped with Monday Mania, when families went "shopping" for gifts in the Toy Room. We greeted families, helped parents select toys for their kids and moved merchandise to make it accessible to guests.
  • We also sponsored a local family through the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

What gift would your company want this year? 

Peace on Earth and new employees — We're looking to hire new talent so that even more people can share in our holiday celebrations in 2017!

Which holiday song or movie best describes your company?

"Run, Run, Rudolph" — The environment in our office is fun, high-energy and always focused on meeting goals and achieving results. 

 

Does your company have any fun holiday traditions?

Outside of our annual holiday party our departments do a Secret Santa, white elephant, as well as having holiday-themed drinks on the Friday closest to the holiday season at our weekly "Full Court Friday" (which is our weekly optional drinks/games/snacks companywide office event). We also play "Holiday Music That Doesn't Suck" on our office-wide Sonos speaker system.

How will your company be celebrating this year?

This year we went all out on our office party. For the first time, we hosted it at our actual headquarters in Fort Point. We hired our friends at Individuals Collective to decorate our office, had a DJ spin, got some killer catering, set up a full bar and had interactive games/video games. We also surprised the CoachUp staff by flying in Noel (the star of our latest Stephen Curry Commercial) who burst through a movie screen showing the commercial he was featured in and quoted along with himself on the screen to finish the commercial. Everyone was shocked, and then Noel proceeded to dance the night away with us. Just in case anyone was feeling a bit rough in the morning, we sent everyone home with a little hangover recovery kit.

Are you giving back to the community in any way?

To give back to the community we're working with Cradles to Crayons, a local organization with three locations in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. The Boston chapter specifically serves MA kids in need. Our company has donated over (through employee donations + CoachUpmatching) $1,500 Cradles to Crayons uses the funds to purchase winter coats and other winter items for kids 0-12 to keep 'em warm and cozy.

What gift would your company want to receive this year?

The gift we would love this year is going to sound cheesy, but we really just hope that all of our athletes gain skills and confidence in the sports they love through working with their CoachUp coaches, and that our coaches enjoy making money playing and teaching the sport that they love. On a less cheesy note we'd also love to see a 76'ers vs Golden State Warriors NBA Finals so that both of our pro basketball athlete ambassadors (Nerlens Noel and Stephen Curry) could face off against each other... though something tells me that that is unlikely. :)

What holiday movie best describes your company?

For holiday movie I think we'll have to go with AirBud's Christmas movie, "Santa Buddies." CoachUp's creative director Ryan Light dressed up as Air Bud for halloween this year so anything in the Air Bud franchise is going to have to be our pick.

 

Does your company have any fun holiday traditions?

In addition to our holiday party, Seven Bridges hosts a Karaoke party for our entire staff in Cambridge. We even include an awards ceremony with legitimate winnings such as gift cards to Tatte.

How will your company be celebrating this year?

We thanked our employees and their family members for a great year with a holiday bash that included a giant Yankee swap, a company-themed photo booth, and a feast of steak, lasagna, and Tasty Burger fries and burgers.

Are you giving back to the community in any way?

We encourage employees to donate to Toys for Tots with a donation box and reminder notes in our office.

What gift would your company want this year?

We could likely use additional microphones for our Karaoke party.

 

Photos via companies and Shutterstock

Is your tech company going all out for the holidays? Let us know or tweet us @BuiltInBOS

 
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