In our last post for 2016, we’ll share Adrenaline’s annual holiday survey results and some insights into what magical experiences you can create this festive season.

There’s a nip in the air and a skip in our steps! It’s the holidays again, and to really get in the spirit of the season, we’ve conducted our annual Adrenaline team survey. As an experience design agency, we wanted to find out what experiences created memorable moments for our team and see if those are mirrored all across the country. After all, the holidays are a feast for all the senses, and you can’t get that from sitting in front of a computer screen. Or can you?

Holiday Traditions

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When asked if we’d ever visited a department store or mall Santa, 71.4% of our staff reported that yes indeed, we’ve sat on the fat man’s lap or at least taken our kids for a visit. Like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation, more than half of us have cut down our own Christmas trees  . What about other holiday traditions like parades – does everyone really love a parade? On our team, nearly 70% of us have seen a holiday-themed parade. Whether or not we loved it? That’s another story…

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Holiday shopping has a long and storied history in our country. While it’s true that online has taken a bite out of traditional retail especially around the holidays, the Prosper Insights retail survey found that 40 percent of us are still shopping in the store this holiday season. And one great thing about shopping in-person, at a store is the sparkly, shiny scenes you’re likely to see. When it comes to seasonal holiday window displays, exactly half of the Adrenaline family has taken in these seasonal spectacles.

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But wait! Now everyone can see New York’s holiday window displays from the comfort of our homes. Thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology, Google has now enabled us to take a VR tour of New York’s legendary holiday window displays. With iconic retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks, Lord & Taylor, and Bergdorf Goodman participating, we can expect some real eye candy, so grab your cocoa and your smart phone and explore the lights and sounds of the season using Google Cardboard or Daydream View. Now, we know what’s going on our letter to Santa this holiday season…

The Gift List

Speaking of wish lists, in A Christmas Story Ralphie longs for a “Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.” When we asked our team what was one gift we longed for as a child, we got both low-tech and high-tech desires. Video game consoles were at the top of the list for many of our team, but we also wanted decidedly low-tech gifts like bicycles, dolls, musical instruments, a puppy and even a pony. On the odder end of the spectrum, some team members longed for a full-size tractor, a pig, tangerines and a real cash register. And yes, one of our team members indeed wanted a Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.

Experiences Make Memories

When asked about one vivid memory we have of an experience around the holidays, our team had some delightful, heartwarming answers. These responses show that the holidays are both a time for family and friends to create memories together and an opportunity for companies and destinations to show their love for their customers by creating spaces for holiday enchantments to unfold.

  • I grew up in small town Keene, New Hampshire. Every year there was a huge Christmas tree inside an old mill building “the colony mill marketplace.” It was always great to do all my Christmas shopping and get to see the tree decoration ceremony.

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  • Walking down the promenade at Radio City Music Hall in NYC toward the lit Christmas tree and Rockefeller Center skating rink. Passing by the white fluffy angels and their garlands and bugles with snow falling all around.
  • Shopping at the kiosks of Christmas Town along Champs Élysées in Paris. In addition to the beautiful hand crafted gifts and ornaments, and the food was amazing!
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 12: People visit the Christmas market at the Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower on December 12, 2013 in Paris, France. The event inaugurates the traditional Noel market as part of Christmas holiday season preparations. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE People visit the Christmas market at the Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The event inaugurates the traditional Noel market as part of Christmas holiday season preparations. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

  • I remember handing out toys to less fortunate families for the holidays. They were extremely grateful for the food and toys so that they could provide for their family. It was a magical experience getting to play Santa for someone else.
  • In recent years, gift giving has been subordinated in our family. It’s more about spending time together and participating in a shared experience beyond the everyday. Whether it’s enjoying a gourmet lunch aboard the wine train in Napa Valley or dog sledding in Park City, these experiences have created memories for a lifetime and strengthened bonds across generations. It is a little like team building with your relatives.

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  • Each year my home town did a fabulous Christmas display on the town green, including a life sized light-up crèche and scale model of Santa on his sleigh with all the reindeer. Every year without fail someone would steal Santa from his sleigh and eventually the town literally chained and padlocked him to the seat of his sleigh to stop the annual shenanigans. Seeing Santa aggressively chained to his sleigh is not exactly what a kid expects to see when filled with the Magic of Christmas!
  • Families take their children to Jellystone National Park during the holidays to drive through the park’s gigantic light display. My brother’s and my favorite part was a tunnel of lights we would drive through. There were lights in every direction that were synced up to feel like you were being launched into space. It didn’t matter how cold it was outside, we wanted to hang out the windows and it just seemed warm with all of the lights.

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  • Going to the 1992 Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta Georgia, NC State vs East Carolina. I was part of the record crowd of 59,000+ to take in the game. This was the last Peach Bowl to ever take place in Fulton County Stadium.
  • My first year out of college I was in a Visual Merchandising training program with Macy’s, located in their Herald Square store. Within that store team was the window display visual team, I was able to be a part of actually creating the 2013 Christmas windows for Macys Herald Square that year. It was the first year they were integrating interactive technology into the display. I also was able to travel to their offsite studio in Brooklyn to see all the custom, handmade designs and displays that were apart of windows that year. It was one of the most memorable Christmas moments I have from living in the city.

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  • Watching the Apollo astronauts broadcast from lunar orbit with my family on Christmas Eve and seeing the earth rise from outer space!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this magical walk down memory lane and that it sparks in you the desire to go and experience something wondrous this holiday season. Cheers from the Adrenaline Team!