Each year I try to “kidnap” my staff of student workers at Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University during the holidays and surprise them with an experience.
We did Escape the Room. We did hatchet throwing. Last year we went to a Ping Pong event space and then to the Kimmel Center for a show. My team never knows what I’m going to do or where I’m going to take them and there’s usually a lot of build up, guessing and surprises involved. I love planning it!
I’ve seen the power of these daring little group adventures. These first time experiences bond us. The memories give us great stories to share all year long. We work as a team because we’ve played together; we’ve laughed together.
This was one of the great lessons I learned from my year of firsts. The people you dare with and play with become great life allies.
Anyway, this year the whole kidnapping surprise experience was going to be problematic. AND, I really had doubts about yet another zoom meeting party thing.
Enter, a former student worker who started a virtual experience business!
Yep, Meg in Manayunk, aka Meg Solomon. She said “I’ve got this.” She became my surprise holiday party “elf”.
Everyone on my team got an invitation to show up for a meeting on Zoom. All they knew was it was a holiday party. No one knew what they were getting or what they were doing. Meg created these amazing experience packages and sent them out to team members homes with instructions not to open until it was time.
Once we were all together on zoom, we opened our boxes in unison.
Candy, popcorn, baking supplies, paints, a canvas, paint brushes, holiday fun stuff to wear: it was all in there.
We baked brownies together bringing our devices into our kitchens. We painted holiday pictures together. We played jeopardy with questions based on our own team.
The whole thing was supposed to last for just 90 minutes.
NO ONE WANTED TO LEAVE OUR EXPERIENCE.
We stayed together for 3 hours playing games and hanging out with each other.
So much joy! It was clear we were craving this. We needed this fun. We needed the interaction. And while the whole night was virtual, we all felt like we’d somehow been in the same space together.
I’m so grateful to be reminded again…experiences are the best gifts. Virtual or not.
And yes, it’s harder than buying something on Amazon. It’s a creative effort, but sooooo worth the effort.
So…think, think, think! Be creative. Create connection in this time of pandemic isolation.
Give a loved one a coupon book of dares to do together: a hike, some outdoor adventure.
Give a gift of a class, an online event or workshop.
Create the event.
Even as we grieve so much over what we’ve lost this year, laughter among friends, family, and colleagues can keep us sane and strong enough to keep going.
And finally, if you are ready for an experience for YOU or for someone you love, come to mine! Tickets are still available for the Big Wild Dare Women’s Workshop on January 10th. Invest in a gift that will help you boldly launch into 2020. I’ll be there to dare you!