Wooden booths decorated with lights and garlands, where people can buy grilled food, mushroom dishes, fresh tarte flambée and soups. The sweets are waffles and crepes. If you like, you can drink mulled wine, punch and non-alcoholic drinks and warm yourself by a fireplace. This is what the mobile Christmas market that employees of the Cologne event agency mSa Events are building looks like. “When it comes to entertainment, we offer everything you can do in a thick jacket,” explains Managing Director Arne Douglas and lists a few amusements: ice stock sport, archery and a photo box where you can have funny pictures of yourself.

Curling is a big hit at the Teamgeist agency's mobile Christmas market.

“When it comes to eating, the rustic is trendy - a hearty soup or kale,” says employee Marc Heinemann.

“The Flamm-Salmon is also popular.” The company has eleven locations in Germany and does not see itself as a catering service, but as a specialist in team building.

When a company has booked an event, Teamgeist employees put teams together in such a way that employees can also get to know colleagues from other departments.

Competitions and celebrations are intended to promote solidarity in the company.

Fresh air and one-way streets

In the opinion of Marc Heinemann, such a mobile Christmas market is actually ideal for another Advent in the pandemic. The market with stalls and tents is set up outdoors for five or six hours, for example in the parking lot of the company that ordered it. Only their employees are admitted, but not - as was common in some places in earlier years - their families as well. At the Christmas market they would stroll past the stalls in a one-way system and with sufficient distance from one another, and eat and drink outdoors too. Heinemann emphasizes that his colleagues who set up the Christmas market and stand at the stalls would follow the 3G rules.

But the daily worsening corona situation ensures that companies change their plans. A large service provider, interviewed for this article, had only announced that it was not planning a mobile Christmas market for employees, but was planning open-air “lunch events” with music, entertainment and Christmas surprises. That no longer applies. The management does not want to make any public statements about the company Christmas party. That was too tricky, said one employee. Many other companies also declined: no company Christmas party - or no information to journalists about it.

The consumer goods manufacturer Beiersdorf announced on request that there would be a Christmas menu for employees in all company restaurants on two days in December.

Celebrations would be organized on a decentralized basis, if at all.

Minimum requirement: All those involved adhere to the 3G rules.

The traditional retirement Christmas party for former employees had been canceled, too risky for this age group.

The charity campaign that is common every year could take place: Employees at the Beiersdorf headquarters and the subsidiary Tesa donate to children from low-income families.

All Beiersdorf employees around the world could take part in a digital donation Christmas calendar with sustainability topics.