Decking the Halls for Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year when we’re thankful, our bellies are full of turkey, and we’re turning on heaters and bundling up in sweaters. The holidays are always a great time of year at Tinfoil. We’re typically working hard on fun wrap-up projects before the holiday exodus, and are most collaborative during this time. Tinfoil is a small team, and often our collaboration makes us much more like a family than most companies. Just like all families, we like to make time to celebrate the holidays with one another.

Tree Scene

This week, we’re decking the halls with cheer. Each year, Tinfoil puts up a traditional non-denominational holiday tree, adorned nicely with hand-cut snowflakes, twinkly lights, and a hodgepodge of ornaments from different team members and different religions. Slowly it gets filled with surprise Secret Santa gifts, surprise founder-to-employee gifts, and surprise employee-to-employee gifts. Our tree is one of my favorite aspects of Tinfoil. We buy it just for a few weeks, and donate it immediately after our gift exchange to a family who can’t afford one themselves. We’ve given it to a retired firefighter with pensions too small for Bay Area rents, a family whose father was recently laid off, and a nice retired couple living frugally. Each person is so very different, and each one walked away in love with their tree.

Our Secret Santa is a simple event. Each team member automatically draws a name (thanks to drawnames.com) and anonymously picks out a gift with a price limit. We’ve had silly gifts, loving gifts, and gifts that seemed just right. Sometimes we even get visits from past employees. We have a small party to guess who Santa’d us and cider is enjoyed by many.

My cofounder and I like to make sure the tree is filled right up. We add some small additional gifts, ranging from joke gifts, to food, to fun toys for the entire team. One year each person got an animal onesie, and a different year they each got surprisingly good waterproof speakers. There are usually 2-3 gifts for each employee, making unwrapping a fun holiday evening.

Tinfoil’s traditions are similar to many startups. We keep it simple, try to incorporate as much diversity as possible, and try to end the year celebrating our successes together. I’ve heard so many wonderful ideas for holiday celebrations from other startups. What are yours?


Ainsley Braun

Ainsley Braun is the co-founder and CEO of Tinfoil Security. She's consistently looking for interesting, innovative ways to improve the way security is currently implemented. She spends a lot of her time thinking about the usability and pain points of security, and loves talking with Tinfoil's users. She also loves rowing, flying kites, and paragliding.