There are workplaces suited to civilised, sit-down Christmas dinners, and then there are raucous, adventurous types looking for something different to do to celebrate the year.
Here are four activities to try this festive season.
Brewery Tour at Young Henrys
Walking into a Sydney pub or bottle shop and failing to find a Young Henrys brew is unlikely, so ubiquitous is the inner-west brewer.
Learn about where it all started with a tour of Young Henrys brewery and taproom off Newtown’s Enmore Road. Brewers will give you a lesson in the art of brewing handcrafted beer and pour a few glasses to taste on the way. You’ll get to ask all your burning questions about brewing, touch the malt, smell the hops and drink beer straight out of the tanks.
The tour is only an hour, but there’s plenty of space in the taproom to congregate, sample more beers and have a meal from one of the food trucks that frequent the car park outside.
Shibori Dyeing Workshop at the Happenstore
Open the heavy wood door of the Happenstore on Parramatta Road and you’ll enter a sanctuary full of exquisite goods handmade by Australian and international makers. At the back is a large workspace where owner and textile designer Cath Derksema hosts classes. Derksema describes it as a place to restore the senses.
In her shibori dyeing workshop Derksema teaches students the ancient art of Japanese indigo resistance dyeing. “Shibori is an amazing craft,” says Derksema. “You get such magnificent patterns from manipulating, tying and clamping fabric.”
Students are encouraged to bring pieces to soak in the indigo vat, or the Happenstore has plenty of textiles on offer.
“A multitude of gifts can be made – silk scarves, towels, pillowcases and serviettes are all available to be dyed. They’ll be the best presents under the tree,” she says.
After the work is done, have a glass of champagne and sample the Christmas platters while your designs dry.
For bookings call Cath Derksema on 0438 212 231.
Urban Adventure Race in Sydney CBD
CBD workplaces will have an edge in this six-hour race around Sydney’s city centre. Starting at Prince Alfred Park, teams of two each receive a map and a series of clues to find 20 checkpoints around the city before the time is up.
Teams move around the city on foot or using trains and buses, but a knowledge of public transportation routes doesn’t necessarily make the race faster. “It helps, but with everyone using their phone, it doesn’t make that much of a difference,” says Mark Roberts, event manager for the race.
The checkpoints involve teams doing various tasks. “Last year there was a kayaking checkpoint and an indoor rock climbing challenge. Others are less about physical fitness. We did one where one partner painted a portrait of the other using just their feet.”
Roberts estimates five per cent of teams are serious competitors trying to achieve a superhumanly fast time. “The other 95 per cent are out to have fun,” he says. “They stop to have lunch or coffee around the city.”
Roberts recommends bringing plenty of water, cash for refuelling pit stops and a loaded Opal card.
Dodgeball at Sky Zone
A game of dodgeball is the ideal Christmas party activity to exact your revenge upon the colleague who always eats your Vegemite, even when it’s clearly labelled.
This isn’t normal dodgeball, though. At Sky Zone, dodgeballs are hurled from great heights as players jump on trampolines.
The game takes some coordination, but the space is fully padded, so even accident-prone players are safe. The trampoline area is broad and surrounded by a ring of bouncy walls. After a few friendly games, hungry players can head around the corner to share wood-fired pizza and a few drinks at The Grounds of Alexandria.