It had been a while since our last trip together as colleagues, when the DPAS team took off to Hereford in May on our “away day” (which actually lasted two days!), but last week, we decided to journey north once more. This time, Bath was the destination, and Christmas was, of course, the occasion. We’d already been feeling the Christmas spirit as soon as November came to a close (thanks to music and decorations filling the office), so celebrating the holidays so early in the month just felt like Christmas came early.
So what did we get up to this time? Did it bring us closer, like our previous trip did? And what were some of the most memorable moments? Here’s how we spent our day away.
This year, we thought the best place to spend our Christmas celebrations was in one of the country’s finest cities – Bath! With its gorgeous architecture, electric nightlife and conveniently short distance from our office, this was the ideal contender for our festivities. Many of us were eager to visit the market to do a little Christmas shopping, whereas some of us were just itching to try out the local pubs. Whatever we were most keen for, we were all rubbing our hands together in anticipation and excitement for what the night had in store for us.
After piling into our cars, we shot down to Bath in the afternoon, where we hastily dumped our luggage in our hotel rooms, excited to shoot off to a nearby pub to get the party started.
Drinks were flowing, music was booming, we were laughing. It wasn’t very often we all got to unwind together like this, so it was wonderful to have the chance to get to know one another a little bit better. With our office split in two, and a lot of us working remotely, some of our colleagues still felt a little bit like strangers. But when you’re a team, you need to be more than that. And this was the ample opportunity to boost those relationships from acquaintances to close friends.
But it wasn’t just about breaking the ice with the colleagues you weren’t as close to. It was also a brilliant setting for sharing some festive moments with those we had already developed friendships with. We shared embarrassing stories, told our best jokes, and even showcased some of our best impressions. The night had only just begun and it was already feeling like a celebration.
After loosening up a bit in various pubs (and remaining positive throughout the persistent rain) we met up at the restaurant – a fantastic Greek establishment called OPA. While the food was to die for, and the ambience was as cosy and welcoming as we could have hoped for, what really elevated the experience was the entertainment. There was music, there was dancing… there was a lively and memorable performance that will be burned into our minds forever. But we didn’t just watch this performance. We participated.
Linking arms in a circle, feeling slightly nervous but with too many cocktails in us to care, the music began to blare, the clapping began to boom, and plates were placed in our hands. And after watching a couple of the luckier of us enter a circle and dance with one of the restaurant managers, it was time to launch the plates directly at the floor. Watching the china shatter on the tiles into a million pieces was oddly therapeutic. This Christmas party was all about letting go of the stress of the year and having a bit of fun, and… tossing crockery onto the floor and watching it explode? Well, that’s a fantastic way to do that.
The final stop of the night was a bar unlike most others we had ever been to. This one had a magician. So if Greek dancing and plate smashing hadn’t quite been exciting enough for us, a magic show was sure to do the… trick (I’m so sorry).
Crammed into a booth, being paid regular visits by many of the university students that filled the bar, we shared some more laughs over our drinks of choice while we took turns at the magician’s table in groups to witness what would blow our minds after a few rum and cokes.
It’s safe to say we were thoroughly amused by the night we shared. The last time we had all got together for a fun night as a team was all the way back in May, so it had felt like forever since a lot of us had even last seen one another.
With the market scattered across the city centre, the lights draped above our heads, and machines casting flurries of fake snow into the streets, we were all feeling the Christmas spirit. But now that it’s over, we’ve come home from Bath with a strengthened bond and a further appreciation for each other. Our trip has expanded on our relationships beyond what we know about each other’s job roles, and giving us the chance to learn about the person behind them.
We would encourage you to do the same! If your office doesn’t have much planned together to celebrate the holidays, an overnight stay somewhere is the perfect way to really make it feel like Christmas. But even a game or two in the office (secret Santa, anyone?) can do wonders for your team. We know it did for us.