MONTREAL -- Want to share in a little holiday cheer with co-workers -- but can’t get together for a traditional office party?

Montreal event planning companies have had to get creative this season to find a way to plan pandemic parties.

“We created an in-house webcast studio, with all of our equipment and technicians,” said Laure Gazalé, a senior sales representative at events planner Happening. “We can bring people into our studio or do everything online with people plugging in virtually.” 

The company has come up with a few different themes to suit every style.

“We can devise a late-night talk show concept. Or we can do a mixology course. We will prepackage all the goodies they need and deliver it to each person’s home and then have a live mixologist talk you through it,” said Gazalé.

Happening has also come up with ideas like doing pop quizzes or creating a rap song, but much of it depends on the budget of their clients. 

The pandemic wasn’t that much of an adjustment period for another event planner, Steve Coté.

“The way I operate in my career, even before the pandemic is to meet the goals of my clients. They have messages to convey and objectives to meet with the event that’s being produced,” he said.

Similar to Happening, Coté pointed out the creative concepts that go with these virtual parties but explained the importance of making sure ideas are interactive and will get people to participate.

“Do ten-minute animation blocks to keep people from getting tired of the concept. Also, think about being interactive,” he said. “You have to involve them.” 

Once upon a time, it would have been difficult to imagine virtual Christmas parties, but as 2020 continues to throw things at us in new ways, for now, this has become our new reality.