Christmas parties won’t be the same this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them a miss with our round-up of the local businesses who will deliver the fun to your door..
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK in March, many of us hadn’t envisioned that we may not be having a ‘normal’ Christmas.
But eight months later, and here we are. Yet although restrictions are in place to keep us, and our friends, families and colleagues safe, that doesn’t mean we can’t have just as much fun together this festive season.
While office Christmas parties are usually the talk of the town, with hundreds going out for festive lunches and dinners, taking part in cocktail-making classes and getting involved in festive-themed activities, there’s still plenty of joy to be spread virtually, with a whole range of opportunities to connect with colleagues.
Here, we take a look at just some of the businesses who are delivering the party to your door..
Afternoon tea with a festive twist
With multiple hotels and venues across the region offering festive afternoon tea, why not book yours to go?
Maryculter House in Aberdeen has launched its Christmas afternoon tea which can be delivered locally to your office, or collected by a designated driver who can then distribute them between your team.
You can then set up a Zoom call and have a festive afternoon tea experience together while you all catch up and talk about your Christmas Day plans.
Packed with seasonal delights including a honey mustard pig-in-a-blanket and Portsoy smoked salmon, gingerbread Christmas trees, dark chocolate baubles and Maryculter’s Battenberg, there’s plenty for everyone to indulge in.
Peter Walker, general manager of Maryculter House, says Christmas isn’t cancelled and is certain his team can add some sparkle to virtual meet-ups.
He said: “The idea really came from myself as I was under the impression that office Christmas parties were going to be cancelled and I wanted to understand how I could bring the party to the staff, seeing as the staff can’t come to us.
“I like being creative and I wanted to do something special for everyone and the afternoon tea takeaway was really popular for Mother’s Day so we thought about adapting it. There’s also dividers in the boxes for sweet and savoury.
“We came up with a themed drinks list and everything is in cans and bottles so it is Covid-19-friendly and can easily be delivered chilled.
“Christmas isn’t cancelled. I know the government are asking people to work from home, so this is a great way for people to reconnect with their colleagues and friends during a challenging time for many.”
If you’re just looking to send a simple gift instead then why not opt for a festive hamper? North-east catering firm Country Flavours has created a range which is suitable for all budgets and can also be personalised to taste.
Priced from £25 to £130, there’s a whole host of options available packed with delicacies from the local larder which are certain to put a smile on anyone’s face.
The hampers can be delivered locally or can also be collected from the premises in Alford.
As well as hampers, the firm has also launched a winter warmers collection which features antipasti craft cheese and meat platters, cocktails and nibbles, cheeseboards and more.
If you can’t meet your colleagues or friends at the bar, why not bring that bar experience into their home – and get them to make their own drinks, too?
Cocktail mixology firm Boozy Events in Aberdeen went global during lockdown and have now put a festive spin on their cocktail mixology classes, giving individuals the chance to master festive drinks at home, and also indulge in some festive snacks at the same time if they desire.
Offering a range of packages from £54 to £119, participants will get everything they need to make a range of cocktails sent straight to their doors and will be led by a top mixologist to craft their drinks.
Gregor Sey, co-owner of the firm, said: “We’ve got a new festive menu and we’ve also launched a hamper package, too. We started pulling everything together in August to ensure we were prepared for Christmas.
“For the Christmas menu we’ve got a great selection. We’ve tried to take as much inspiration as possible from the Christmas dinner table, although don’t worry, you won’t see Brussels sprouts in the drinks. It will be cranberry, Bailey’s and that sort of thing. We have four confirmed and we may add to that in the coming weeks to accommodate more dietary requirements etc.”
You can also take part in a range of virtual drinks tastings which can be fully personalised to your tastes too.
John Kelman of Rutabaga in Aberdeen has decades of experience in the food and drink industry and runs a number of drinks tastings including wine, gin and whisky experiences to name a few.
He is also a wine columnist for the Press & Journal so if you are looking for top wines to enjoy this festive period, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in his scribblings here.
The Wee Wine Club in Aberdeenshire also recently launched its wine tasting classes which can be easily booked online and are priced from £27.99.
Numerous Scottish whisky brands also offer tastings online, too.
Cocktails to their door
If you’re looking to connect with your colleagues or friends over a beverage or two, why not order some cocktails to be delivered to their door and have a catch up before the festive break.
You could also use it as an opportunity to have a few pre-drinks with them before you take part in an event like a virtual silent disco, virtual bingo, or a virtual festive quiz.
And for the Negroni fans, there’s always the Send a Negroni service which launched during lockdown, too.