An Agile Christmas Carol

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At the end of the year to reflect on the year that was and surface people wishes for the year ahead.

Length of time:

1 hour for a large group of 50+ people. Less for smaller groups.

Short Description:

This retrospective has three components, based on Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas future. (1) Christmas Past - each person writes down their greatest regret from the past year, then lets it go by tearing it up. (2) Christmas Present - team members share appreciations for people they have worked with during the year. (3) Christmas Future - each person tells Santa their wish for the team to receive in the future.


Shapries, Index cards, a wall or whiteboard, blu tack, a cardboard box, optional - santa suit and skeleton


Before the retrospective

  • Line up someone outside the team, perhaps a senior manager to play Santa.
  • The day before the retrospective given each team member a wish card (an index card with the words "All I want for Christmas is..." printed on it)
  • Ask each team member to write one wish for the team / group and bring it to the retrospective to share with the team (and Santa).

Running the retrospective

  • Explain the theme of the retrospective inspired by "A Christmas Carol"

Start with Christmas Past.

  • Asked everyone to take an index card and a Sharpie and spend a few moments reflecting on the year that was. What is their largest regret, the one thing they wish they could change? Once everyone has written down one thing ask them to"let go" of the past by tearing up the card and throwing it in the cardboard box (optionally held by a skeleton). Team members tend to find the act cathartic.

Next move to Christmas Present.

  • Asked everyone to think about who had been naughty and nice, then share their appreciations thoughts with the group.

The final section is Christmas Future.

  • Each team member reads out their wish and gives it to Santa (assuming you can find a volunteer) to create a word cloud.
  • Following the retrospective the group leaders should look for opportunities to grant some of the Christmas wishes.