Everyone at Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC) knows that holidays are serious business here. Christmas is no exception. This is when we host our Children’s Holiday Party and give all of our team members’ kids and grandkids a celebration they never forget.
How exactly do we ensure that we’re leaving kids (and honestly, their parents) with incredibly happy memories? Well, just like with our Halloween traditions, we use all of the creative skill, passion for volunteering, and literal, physical materials at our disposal. There are two words that best sum it up: production value.
In other words, our volunteer party planners plan a themed event with spectacular art installations that only a manufacturing company could pull off. This year, Lea from our Prepress Preflight – Retail Packaging Division, Carrie from Customer Solutions in the Folding Carton – Retail Packaging Division, and Joyce from our Customer Solutions –Labels Division took on this gargantuan task. The theme this year was Gingerbread Candyland, which means they have transformed elements like corrugated cardboard and protective packaging into, among other things, larger-than-life gingerbread houses large candies, a giant cake, a life-sized nutcracker prince, and a huge box of donuts.
Here’s what the team has to say.
A Long-Running Tradition
The Children’s Holiday Party started with GLBC founder Robert Meggy inviting the whole team and their families to his house. He would personally buy presents for all of the kids. Over the years, the party has moved to a few different venues, always getting bigger as the GLBC team grew. This year, around 200 children attended this event at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver hosted the biggest-ever edition of this decades-long tradition.
Are you inspired by the history of this event?
Carrie: Very! This will be my 23rd GLBC Christmas party. Even when my child was 5 or 6, she was volunteering for this party. There was always Santa and entertainment. It grows over time. Somebody says, “Why don’t we do this as an idea?” and it grows from there.
Joyce: We used to have this in a curling club and a previous colleague of ours would play Mrs. Claus and cater the whole event. This event has changed so much!
Lea: The history inspires me to keep it going. Just because I wouldn’t want it to ever end. It kicks off my Christmas!
Carrie: I think this event happens because GLBC is such a family-oriented company.
Lea: The resources that this company puts into these parties is amazing. It’s amazing they’re willing to spend that amount of money on kids and grandkids. We try to be as conservative as possible when we’re spending the money, but still, the result is inspiring.
Inspiration & Motivation
There’s no doubt that making this event come together takes serious commitment. In fact, our volunteers started planning this event in June 2023, and they’re talking about moving that planning up to February in 2024.
What inspires you to do this?
Lea: It’s just a reason for me to nerd out on being creative. It’s an excuse to turn my basement into a craft center! I came from a design background. When I joined GLBC I was creatively burned out on it from my previous role, but being creative in this way is different. It’s a great outlet.
Joyce: It was a good excuse to do something a little different from the usual 9-5. It’s cool to imagine something and see it become real.
Imagine the ballroom of the Westin Bayshore Hotel transformed into a holiday wonderland. How does it happen?
What’s your process for getting all of this done?
Joyce: Do a lot of it at home! 90% of it happens at home. My husband’s like, “It’s August, it’s 40 degrees outside, and you’re getting ready for a Christmas party?” Starting early makes a difference. It’s not fun when it’s stressful.
Lea: Yeah…we’re going to start figuring out ideas in February…figure out what’s doable, what’s not.
Carrie: I think we just all said, “Hey, this would be cool,” and set off to create. If we use the talents, creativity and materials from all GLBC departments, the process becomes a collaborative effort. Making it a true GLBC event. The process is a great way to bond and create memories with colleges. It’s the main reason the party gets more elaborate every year. Corrugate and protective packaging played a huge role. We need corrugate when we’re making big things, like our pillars. I look at them and think, “Oh yeah, we could use those next year and create a tunnel or huge trees the potential is endless.
An occasion this epic and long-running is bound to inspire more than a handful of memories. These are the ones that our party planning team holds onto.
Carrie (laughing): Julia (my daughter’s) second GLBC Christmas party was when I realized I was a mom. It was in a community center in Richmond, and she was running around with kids and ran right into a cement pole. Someone handed her off to me and I realized, “Right, I’m the mom, the one who’s supposed to be able to handle this.” We had a magician once when we had the party at the curling club, that used the parents in their show, not kids. It was so good. The kids got a kick out of it. Seeing your coworkers do these crazy things was great.
Lea: Last year when I got to the party, I was so dumbfounded by how beautiful it looked. It made me emotional!
Joyce: I was never involved until our previous Social Coordinator colleague reached out for some help. It kind of snowballed from there and here we are today!
The Children’s Holiday Party is, in the words of our volunteers, “an unstoppable freight train”. Something this big and fast-moving is bound to come with challenges.
What’s the hardest part of making this happen?
Joyce: The logistics of this event are mind-blowing. “Oh, we have these big things coming…Are they even going to fit through the door?” There’s so much to organize.
Carrie: Finding storage. Finding places to work.
Lea: Time. Communication!!
We’re so grateful that we have team members like Carrie, Lea, and Joyce and other key employees over the years. Traditions like this party make GLBC the incredibly special workplace it is, and they wouldn’t be possible without these volunteers’ passion and creativity. Happy Holidays, everyone!