Government Digital Service Xmas Principles

Are your christmas needs not being met? Is your turkey not agile enough? Well, listed below are our christmas principles and examples of how we’ve used them so far. They are entirely open source, free to use, for the public good.
(Created, produced and owned by Cap Gemini. © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved)

  1. Make things festive: it makes them better

    We should decorate whenever we can. With family, with colleagues, with the world. Share tinsel, share fairy-lights, share baubles, share spray snow, share candy canes.

    The more eyes there are on your decorations the better it gets — paper-chains are spotted, striped or just plain. Tasteful alternatives are ignored. The bar is visited regularly.

    Much of what we’re doing is only possible because of magic and sparkles. We should decorate!

  2. Mince pies so good people prefer to eat them

    People do all sorts of things with mincepies. Throw them, catch them, roll them, chase them, but why don't they eat them? We think we've found the answer. Lack of dinosaur filling. Our suggestion? Minced Velociraptor Pies. Test them with actual users and we think you'll find their refinement means you'll get great feedback.

    Also, watch where you put them down! Are they on a phone? A tablet? In a library? On Facebook? That’s all wrong. A nice plate is what you need, to catch the crumbs.

  3. The strategy is revelry

    A long winded planning process is wasted at christmas.

    “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Gang aft agley”

    … is an insight we got from one increasingly inebriated user who stumbled out of a pub at something like 3pm!

    But she was right (to be drunk, not about the plans) at christmas time it's vital to drink early and drink often. Choices needs to be changed on the hoof. If they run out of Cointreau switch to Harvey’s Bristol Cream, when that’s gone go to mulled wine. Just don’t, whatever you do, stop!

  4. The unit of delivery is the sleigh

    It’s very important to remember that whilst it’s Santa who brings us presents, he doesn’t do it on foot. He has a sleigh. This simple fact is too often forgotten in these times of confusing ambiguities and mixed messages … blah, blah … social media … blah … 24 hour news. The people who really need to know this are often the very ones who are hardest to convince (children, the infirm). Let’s make sure this year amid the chaotic hubbub of christmas that the facts of the matter are not forgotten.

  5. Decoration is a team sport

    You know what we’re talking about here. There’s always one. One grumpy soul who’s “too tired” or “can’t be bothered” to climb that ladder and hang that mistletoe. Well through scrupulous ethnographic research and hypothesis driven investigation we’ve determined empirically that these people are pure evil. Call them Grinch, or Scrooge or simply call them Aunty Flo, they need to be hounded and hassled until they see the error of their ways. Christmas is not optional, it’s POLICY!

  6. Baste, and then baste again

    Don’t just outsource the cooking of your turkey to some corporate oven and expect to return hours later and have the thing magically turn out the way you want it. Get in there, see how it’s doing, get some feedback, and baste the damn thing! Basting reduces risk, but if basting isn’t working don’t be afraid to scrape it and start again.

    Remember you’re cooking for the entire country (it sometimes seems) and not just the ones who like turkey.

  7. Be consistent wearing a santa uniform

    Every Santa should wear the same outfit in the same colours wherever possible. This helps children get familiar with him and not question his existence. When this isn’t possible you should not wear a straitjacket, that'll scare them. Every child is different but none of them will like that.

    Find presents and share them, but don’t talk about why you gave them. And another thing, you shouldn’t stop people from exchanging them in the future when they find better presents or their needs change.

  8. Do the hard work to make it seasonal

    Making something look seasonal is easy. Making something really seasonal is much harder — especially when you're lying under a tree trying to negotiate a complex system of power cables — but that’s what we should be doing. Don’t take “It’s always been that way” for an answer, get out to the shops and buy something new EVERY YEAR!! It always takes more money to make things seasonal, but it’s the right thing to do.

If you like the Xmas Principles there is, of course, a poster too.