Inside 6 of LA tech’s hottest holiday parties of 2018

by Hannah Levy
December 18, 2018

There’s nothing like the holiday season here in Los Angeles. The sun’s out, the malls are a madhouse and the office parties are, well, ginormous. 

Here are six of the city’s hottest office parties of 2018, complete with life-size wax dolls, pop stars, yodelling pickles and virtual reality games. And no, we’re not exaggerating — we couldn’t make this stuff up if we wanted to. 

 

Los Angeles company FabFitFun's holiday party 2018
photo via fabfitfun

We caught up with FabFitFun’s team about their star-studded Hollywood holiday party. “We wanted to do something that would be inclusive for our employees and their guests as well as our brand partners, industry folks, influencers, celebs and more,” they told us.   

Guest list: Around 1,400 (including employees, plus-ones, brand partners, influencers, celebs and more). 

Theme: #FFFAF

Venue: Academy Club in Hollywood

 

We take dressing up very seriously, and we encourage everyone to embrace the holiday spirit.”

 

Does FabFitFun have any legacy holiday traditions?

We take the fun in our name seriously, and every year you can find the majority of teams here hosting ugly sweater parties throughout December. We take dressing up very seriously, and we encourage everyone to embrace the holiday spirit.

 

What was the best moment of the night?

Getting to spend time with the team. As we grow, it’s not very often that we get to have our entire company in one room. It’s a really good feeling to be able to celebrate the amazing achievements of 2018 together. And, of course, Tyga.

 

From 1-10, where does your company generally land on the holiday excitement meter?

10 plus. 

 

Who’s your party's chief competition?

ChowNow. They keep winning for party of the year, but we think the competition is rigged. 

 

Is your company more of an eggnog company or a hot cider company?

Hot cider. 

 

Los Angeles company Universal Music throws an amazing holiday parties
photo via universal music group

Universal Music Group’s holiday bash included famous wax dolls, live musical performances and a VR game. Their event was last weekend, but the party’s ongoing for this spirited group of techies. “There’s a Christmas tree in the breakroom, twinkle lights on almost every cubicle and people bring in festive treats. We also get time off with our families every year as part of Universal Music Group’s Gift Week, and our U.S. offices close down from Christmas Eve to New Year's,” the company shared.

Guest list: 100

Theme: No specific theme for the department party (just holiday cheer)  

Venue: Madame Tussauds in Hollywood

 

We were really excited to have a virtual reality game at the party this year — as a technology-based team, we thought it might be fun.”

 

Does Universal Music Group have any legacy holiday traditions?

Our department always does something to celebrate the holidays and the hard work our teams put in throughout the year. In the past, we’ve gone to the Grammy Museum and bowling at Lucky Strike. Good food, drinks and, of course, music are always part of the festivities. Universal hosts an annual ugly sweater party at the office with holiday tunes performed by our coworkers, a raffle and treats.

 

What was the best moment of the night?

We were really excited to have a VR game at the party this year — as a technology-based team, we thought it might be fun. The game was team-oriented, so it added a team-building element to the party.

We’re always really excited to have live music because that’s obviously really important to the organization. And, because it’s at Madame Tussauds, we were excited to see the wax figurines of some of our favorite artists.

 

Where does your company generally land on the holiday excitement meter?

Our offices really embrace the holiday spirit. There’s a Christmas tree in the breakroom, twinkle lights on almost every cubicle and people bring in festive treats. We also get time off with our families every year as part of Universal Music Group’s Gift Week, and our U.S. offices close down from Christmas Eve to New Year's.

 

Who’s your party's chief competition?

Another department at Universal had a party in Hollywood at Yamashiro, complete with a battle of the bands. They even poached a few of our employees to perform at their party. It’s all in good fun, though — we hope their holiday party was just as fun as ours.

 

Is your company more of an eggnog company or a hot cider company?

We had both on the menu. 

 

Los Angeles company Ace throws an amazing holiday parties.
Photo via ace metrix

Have you ever heard of a yodelling pickle? If you haven’t, read on. (If you have, read on too — there’s more here for you.) The folks at Ace Metrix explain how the singing fermented vegetable has become central to their offbeat holiday festivities. (Other holiday party traditions include BBQ and a Christmas tree decorated with RAM chips from old Ace workstations.)

Guest list: 25

Theme: Ace Metrix’s 9th Annual Holiday BBQ & White Elephant Party. BBQ, and lots of it: beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, veggies, mac-and-cheese, corn bread....

Venue: Ace’s office. The company projects a yule log on the 13-foot projector screen and fires up the music in the break area — which works well because it’s pretty much the centerpiece of the office.

 

We start playing holiday music in the office the week before, bring in all sorts of fattening goodies, hang pine sticks...”

 

Does Ace Metrix have an legacy holiday traditions?

In the early days of our white elephant gift exchange, the presents were pretty kooky. One of the gifts was a yodeling pickle. It was quite funny at the time. We did a little checking and found out that it was part of an urban legend about German Christmas traditions and thought, "What the heck, it kind of fits with our offbeat celebration." So, we kept it around as our holiday mascot to be used each year to herald in the festivities.

 

What was the best moment of the night?

We have some former employees coming back to join us for the fun. We have a pretty tight team that has spawned enduring friendships beyond Ace Metrix. When things align, we invite back old team members to inject a little "Auld Lang Syne" into the mix.

 

From 1-10, where does your company generally land on the holiday excitement meter?

I would say we’re an eight. We start playing holiday music in the office the week before, bring in all sorts of fattening goodies, hang pine sticks, mull spices and generally try to set a festive mood ahead of the event.

 

Who’s your party's chief competition?

Santa. But you can’t Uber to his gig, so we’ve got one up on him.

 

Is your company more of an eggnog company or a hot cider company?

The testing continues.

 

Los Angeles company Chow Now on their xmas party
photo via chownow

We asked foodtech company ChowNow who their biggest party competition was this year. Their answer? ChowNow. This year, they went all out. “We held the party at Harry Houdini’s original ten acre estate in the Hollywood Hills. It’s full of secret paths and surprises everywhere you look. We wanted to pay homage to Houdini’s legacy, the enchanted location and the classic glamour of his time,” the company told us.

Guest list: 600 attendees (200 employees), with guests from the local tech community, restaurant owners, investors, family and ChowNow alumni.

Theme: The mystery and glamour of old Hollywood

Venue: The Houdini Estate (built in the early-1900s) 

 

Before the party goes off, we come together as a team for a formal dinner, catered by some of our favorite local restaurant partners.”

 

Does ChowNow have any legacy holiday traditions?

Every year we change up the venue and introduce surprise elements, keeping everyone on their toes. But we always have a few ChowNow traditions: a live band and DJ, photo booth, full casino, fortune-tellers and magicians, stilt walkers — and late night street tacos. Because, what’s more LA than that?

Most importantly, we always invite our friends from the LA restaurant community, including HomeState, Wurstkuche, Mile & Olive, Coral Tree Cafe, Winston Pies and others. It wouldn’t be a ChowNow celebration without them.

 

What was the best moment of the night?

The highlight of the night is the co-founder speeches. Before the party goes off, we come together as a team for a formal dinner, catered by some of our favorite local restaurant partners. There’s a ten-piece band playing jazz and everyone gets to catch up over great food and cocktails.

Chris Webb (CEO) and Eric Jaffe (COO) each give a speech reflecting on the year and all that we’ve experienced together: the learnings, the achievements, the growth and the milestones of our employees. We raise a toast to each other and cheers to a year of memories, as well as the opportunity that lies ahead.

 

From 1-10, where does your company generally land on the holiday excitement meter?

Eleven out of ten. The holiday party is the one time of year that we’re all under one roof. The venue and theme is kept a surprise until the week of the event — the anticipation is half the fun. Employees and alumni fly in from across the country — in some cases, internationally — and everyone dresses to the nines: tuxes, gowns, faux fur coats. We celebrate big. It’s the event we look forward to all year.

 

Who’s your party's chief competition?

We try to outdo ourselves every year — it keeps getting bigger and better. New venues, new themes and new surprises.

 

Is your company more of an eggnog company or a hot cider company?

Cider. Shaken, not stirred.

 

Los Angeles tech company Hallmark Labs does their holiday party right in 2018
photo via hallmark labs

Hallmark Labs’ business hinges on creating genuine, emotional connections in every life, everyday. So, it's no surprise that their holiday party is a pretty big deal. “Our party’s theme has holiday sentiments throughout the venue to promote inclusion, foster connections and create an evening of celebration among all members of the organization,” the company shared.

Guest list: 130

Theme: Hallmark Holiday (with a Labster twist!)

Venue: The Mint

 

Members of engineering, operations, customer care, marketing and finance got together to do their own rendition of 'Winter Wonderland' at the party.”

 

Does Hallmark Labs have any legacy holiday traditions?

Hallmark Labsters look forward to our end of year holiday celebration because we always switch up the venue and give out special branded gifts that are kept secret all year long.

 

What was the best moment of the night?

This year we have a special live performance. Members of engineering, operations, customer care, marketing and finance got together to do their own rendition of “Winter Wonderland” (“Working in a Labster Wonderland”). We’ll also have a live version of "Family Feud" Hallmark Edition, not to mention we’re raffling off lots of exciting tech prizes and have a full card bar set up for military members to wish them a happy holidays.

 

From 1-10, where does your company generally land on the holiday excitement meter?

We’re a solid 10. Our office has a soft close at the end of the year, which adds to the excitement.

 

Who’s your party's chief competition?

We do not have competition — we dominate the holiday sector. 

 

Is your company more of an eggnog company or a hot cider company?

We'll take both. 

 

Los Angeles tech company CIE Digital's 2018 holiday party
photos via cie digital

Despite being in the heart of the Orange County tech scene, CIE Digital Labs told us they’re pretty darn confident that their holiday festivities can keep up with the best of ‘em. This year, the company hired magicians from the city’s famous venue, The Magic Castle, to perform at their holiday party. “Thanks to the accompanying photo booth, everyone had pictures to remember each of the night's magical moments,” the company told us.  

Guest list: 50

Theme: Holiday magic

Venue: The appropriately-named venue, “Holiday”

 

One of the most memorable moments from the night was when our very own CEO, Anderee Berengian, received a standing ovation after jumping on stage to sing ‘Bust A Move.’”

 

Does CIE Digital have any legacy holiday traditions?

We love the chance to share in the holiday spirit together through our two annual gift exchanges. We start with an in-office white elephant swap — while wearing our best ugly Christmas sweaters, of course — and end with our big Secret Santa reveal at the offsite party. Combine both gift exchanges with our holiday raffle, and we end up with a lot of holiday cheer to go around.

 

What was the best moment of the night?

One of the most memorable moments from the night was when our very own CEO, Anderee Berengian, received a standing ovation after jumping on stage to sing ‘Bust A Move.’

 

From 1-10, where does your company generally land on the holiday excitement meter?

Eleven — did we mention there was an open bar?

 

Who’s your chief party competition? (Assuming you have one...)

Even considering that we’re in the middle of the Orange County tech hub — with neighbors like Google and Acorns — we feel like no one decks their halls quite like CDL does.

 

Is your company more of an eggnog company or a hot cider company?

We won’t ever wine about an opportunity to drink some hot cider.

 

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