Spreading Christmas Cheer at Picnic: Decorating Our Apps During the Holiday Season

Simon Baars 23 Dec, 2021 04 - 2 min read
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Work during the holiday season can be quite hectic. Many people are on vacation, and especially in companies like supermarkets, demand rises. Both in our personal and professional lives, the merriest season of all can also cause the most stress. Sometimes, even the smallest of gestures can help bring some relief to the stress.

During the holiday season, the Picnic apps take on a new form. Electric delivery vehicles turn into sleighs, our mascot Peter turns into Santa, and our online store is filled with delicious Christmas recipes and products. But it’s not just our customer-facing store application that gets a makeover! We also bring those warm, festival vibes to our internal applications for the holiday season.

One-day Christmas hackathon

To decorate our warehouse systems app, we blocked off a whole day so that the entire team could take part in a ‘Christmas hackathon’. Two weeks before the hackathon, we opened a board where members of the team could share their ideas using a tool called ‘sli.do’. In sli.do, team members post their ideas and upvote ideas that they find interesting. This also lowered the bar to contribute: even without ideas team members can make their voice heard.

We kicked off the hackathon by selecting which ideas to pursue. Then, we divided the work amongst ourselves and got down to business. In the afternoon, we came together to discuss the progress and push the last changes over the finish line. Some testing and reviewing later, our application was filled with fun Christmas additions.

Initiated by the engineers

As Software Engineers at Picnic, we work hard to make our products more efficient and easier to use. Although it’s super important for a product team to listen to its users, great ideas can also come from the engineers. Such ideas, like the Christmas decorations, don’t necessarily have to be functional. More importantly, these kinds of changes are fun to work on and create a positive impact on operations.

Just because this project was fun didn’t mean we threw our usual rules and considerations out the window — we didn’t want to end up on Santa’s naughty list after all! So right from the start, we all agreed that our additions would not:

  • Impede operations in any way
  • Be controversial or annoying
  • Cause any bugs or block flows

With this as our criteria, we only made frontend changes and ensured they could be easily disabled if we felt it necessary.

Most importantly: have fun!

Ultimately, in every company, we work with people. In large organizations, people sometimes get forgotten amongst processes and protocols. That’s why it’s good to sometimes take a step back and look at the human factor within your organization. How can we not just improve the KPIs, but also make work more fun? Even when writing software, you can make a small gesture to make life more enjoyable during these hectic months :


If you want to work on fun projects like this, check out our current vacancies to learn more and apply today!

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