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Company Culture Lessons from Our First Christmas Party


Company parties are usually wild and loud. But with barely a dozen people in the Spiralytics team, our first company Christmas party gets the award for the most intimate party ever!

For a startup company, a Christmas party is a great way for us to start defining and building our company culture. That’s why although it wouldn’t seem as much fun as how bigger companies will do it, we still pushed through with it despite having only 2 days to plan.

One Friday night before Christmas, at 6 PM, we closed our laptops, called it a wrap for the working week, and the entire team of barely a dozen people headed to Bowler Restaurant and Bar in Makati. As much as we wanted to have the entire place to ourselves, we only occupied a long table in Bowler. But that didn’t stop us from turning this intimate party into a fun and memorable night of creating the Spiralytics culture. Here’s how we pulled it off:

A Surprise for the Spiralytics Boss

Jimmy Cassells, best boss ever

Knowing that Spiralytics’ Managing Director, Jim, is a big fan of UFC, we thought we’d give him a not-your-ordinary-Christmas-gift-for-your-boss.

A week before the party, a member of the team (Carlo) measured the hands of Jim and two other team members. Jim thought that it was nothing because Carlo made up some story why he was doing it. Carlo, our PPC and Google Analytics guru around here, makes up really good stories.

Before we started the ‘program’ for the party (why, of course we had a program!), we surprised Jim with a pair of MMA gloves as a Christmas gift. We know he liked it because he wore them as soon as he opened the case, he even drank a beer while wearing them. 🙂

Company Culture Lesson #1: No Barriers

In the Spiralytics office, everyone gets to work in one room, and in one table, including the boss. We don’t have the Mad Men type of office where the boss is isolated from the employees that’s why we’re able to talk freely with each other without the physical and company structure barrier.

With the office setup that we have, not only do we get to discover things that Jim likes (like MMA) and what his hand measurements are, we’re also made to feel like everyone’s part of a big happy family.

This same atmosphere is evident during our Christmas party, where everyone takes a seat in the long table with the boss. No barriers like a huge stage and microphones that big company parties usually have, and we can all just relax and have fun.

Ping, pong, pang!

The highlight of the night were the games that were lined up, all with a punishment shot of Jose Cuervo for the losers. When we got better at each game, we changed the rules to make them a bit harder. What’s a drinking game without actual drinking, right?

To make the games even more challenging, we devised transition rules so we can jump from one game to another quickly, just to see if everyone can still keep up. Some members of the team were frequent victims and had one too many shots of Jose Cuervo, while the others (ehem, like me) were really focused on not making mistakes even if there was no prize but to not get a hangover the next morning.

Company Culture Lesson #2: Invest in career-growth

Every Wednesdays at Spiralytics, we have a lunch meeting where Jim will update us about our clients and how the company is performing as a whole (plus free food!). He also sneaks in mini lectures on SEO, analytics, etc since not all of us are knowledgeable on every service that Spiralytics offers. Each of us has his own expertise in digital marketing but through these meetings, we’re encouraged to explore the other sides of the industry and have a better understanding of what performance marketing is and how we do what we do.

More celebrations to come

When the night came to an end, seeing how much fun everybody had, Jim came up with an idea that we do something like this every end of the month or when there are milestones to be celebrated. Unlimited beer, fun drinking games, and your foreigner boss surprisingly beating you in Filipino categories? Count us in!

Company Culture Lesson #3: Celebrate milestones

A healthy company relationship isn’t only about having one inside the four walls of the office; a true test of it is how well you treat each other when you’re outside the office. When you know that your team has done a good job, sometimes a pat on the back or a ‘good job!’ won’t cut it.

Spiralytics' Christmas Party

The Spiralytics team (l-r): Nina, Carol, Jevie, Carlo, Jim, Janelle, Gem, Mike, and Anonymous. Missing in the photo: Riz and Normi

This Christmas party was our first ever party, and it was indeed a memorable one for all of us. Although it was the most intimate company party that all of us have been too, it has given us a great opportunity to define what our company culture is.

As we continue to grow and kickass in what we do, the Spiralytics team will ping, pang, pong our way to building a bigger and better company with a winning company culture in the years to come.

Happy Holidays! From our little company to yours. 🙂