Augmented reality Christmas decorations halt Santa shortage

Handcrafted augmented reality Christmas decorations let people bring virtual father-christmas, musicians and stand-up comedy into their homes and workspaces.

Project overview

Two creative agencies, Skudras Metropole and Don’t Panic Design, teamed up to create interactive Christmas decorations and brought to life a full-fledged event package. Featuring six augmented reality experiences, the decors prompt user participation in various activities, including AR meetups with Santa, an astrologer and stand-up comedian.


The limited-edition Christmas gift set has been a hit with the agencies’ corporate clientele and the general public alike. Available in both Latvian and English, the AR decors have found their owners in Europe and across the pond and will help party hosts entertain friends, colleagues and family this Christmas.

World’s Top 30 creative agency, Skudras Metropole, is known for bringing incredible projects and event experiences to life. Even as the global pandemic attempted to halt the flourishing events industry, the innovative business fired back. The company upped the use of interactive technologies to drive human connection and bridge the gap between households, offices, cities and countries.


Now, as the virus outbreak has caused another unlikely issue, a shortage of Santas, the creative agency has once more pulled it out of the bag. In tandem with design and installation experts, Don’t Panic Design, the company launched a surprise-filled augmented reality gift box–letting people bring Santa (and more) into their homes or workspaces. 

Photos courtesy of Skudras Metropole Facebook page

Creating AR decorations from scratch

With a vast audience in mind, the AR gift set has been created for corporate and family gifting alike, shares Toms Veiss, Project Manager at Skudras Metropole. “Each year, as the holiday season approaches, people are scrambling for fresh gift ideas. Nevertheless, we end up giving and receiving calendars, candles and bottles. Our goal was to bring something new to the market–a present that cannot be found on a supermarket shelf and has the potential to surprise and entertain the recipient and their guests,” he says.


And the team certainly achieved what it set out to do. Available in English and Latvian languages, the AR Christmas set features a board game and six augmented reality decorations. Don’t Panic Design and Skudras Metropole skipped on mass manufacturing, and their team members-turned-elves handcrafted the decorations to the last detail. 


The creatives also didn’t spare any efforts on building augmented reality experiences. The interactive AR content featured within the Christmas decors has been purposely designed, recorded and animated exclusively for the gift set.

Out of the box AR entertainment for Christmas guests

Each interactive AR decor features a unique photograph of Santa Claus. The image comes to life once scanned with the Overly app. Once awakened, Santa shares Christmas wisdom and introduces the audience to other stars of the night. People can tune in to a Christmas concert, watch stand-up comedy, get an astrologer’s forecast ahead of 2022 or set off 3D fireworks right in their living room.


With six different AR experiences in total, the decorations are there to enrich Christmas gatherings and keep the guests entertained. AR layers enable people to take part in various activities, be it watching never-before-seen content or creating instant Christmas photos. As a full-fledged event package, it can take some pressure off the host to come up with unique Christmas activities or organize Santa’s appearance.

Photos courtesy of Skudras Metropole Facebook page


Although people across the world are fatigued by the increasing tech use in the times of pandemic, when implemented correctly, digital content can intensify our real-world experiences. “As event organizers, if there is something we cannot implement in real life, we don’t drop it altogether. Instead, we experiment with digital content and augmented reality,” says Toms.


“Sometimes technologies are the only way we can reach people, organize a Christmas rock concert or set up Santa’s visit. While we’re longing for real-life interactions, we have to work around the situation that we live in and use technologies to enhance our experiences,” he adds.

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