Building the 2021 Employee Gift

Every year the LEGO Group create a special exclusive set just for company employees for Christmas. These are also gifted to LEGO Certified Professionals and LEGO Ambassadors like me, and I couldn’t be happier! You can get these in the secondary markets, but be prepared to pay a lot more. I’m so thankful to LEGO for doing this every year, as it’s a really special Christmas tradition of ours! I’ll usually save it until Christmas Day or Boxing Day and build it with family. This time I built it with my mini LEGO fan 4 year old daughter, who was having a great time.

This year the set is The Temple of Celebrations, celebrating 10 years of Ninjago. There’s a big multi storey temple, a very festive looking dragon and sleigh, Christmas Tree, and 11 minifigures including all of the 10th Anniversary Golden Ninjas in one set! These have been spread around 7 different Ninjago sets in order to collect the lot. The boxes for Employee Gifts are always stunning to look at and this is no exception, with a stylised picture of the set on stamps on the cover. The back shows the set in all it’s glory, and some text in 8 different languages as well. The side of the box indicates that this set can be built with 6 people working at the same time, as there’s separate instructions for each build.

Also inside the box is a huge milestone, with this being the first official set with numbered paper bags inside. They look fantastic and this is a big step towards reducing single use plastic bags. While this is huge, it’s not quite there, with not every bag is paper. Four of the 12 bags were paper, and even inside the paper bags are still small plastic bags. It’s a bit silly, but it’ll take a while to get every set using 100% paper bags. This set however is a massive step towards that.

On the exterior under the lid there’s instructions on how to pack the set up, so it can be re-displayed next year, but I found it pretty hard to get to fit! I’ve managed in a different way, but it’s pretty jam packed. Let’s take a look at minifigures before checking out each aspect of the build one by one.

There’s 11 minifigures – the 6 Golden Ninjas (Lloyd, Kai, Cole, Nya, Zane and Jay with a crazy amount of weaponry), an almost Golden Wu (more on that in a bit), Santa Garmadon, Misako and Skales and Skales Jr. The printing on the minifigures is stunning.

It’s incredible to have all of the Golden Minifigures in one set (the heads aren’t golden), however there is one that has a slight difference – Master Wu. The golden version of him in this set still has a white beard, but there is a golden head and beard included in the set. At the top level of the temple there’s a bust of Wu, which has the golden elements. Wu also has a spinjitsu element to stand in, and it looks fantastic! There’s meant to be a white slide shoe on the bottom, but it wasn’t great for taking decent photos so I took it off, but the element is brilliant, all sparkling clear and gold. Santa Garmadon looks great, although I wished he had the double torso feature and the Skaleses have some awesome printing. Skales Jr has small unprinted legs, but he does have a red scarf. Finally there’s Misako with the Lloyd hoodie. She’s proudly representing her son! On to the builds.

First up, that dragon. it’s small and relatively sparse, but man does it have presence! The massive wings using the large golden blades are very imposing. The body itself is small, but it works well. There’s a nice triangular shape to the front legs, and the head looks good with the gold beard and antlers. Behind it is a cute and very Ninjago-esque sleigh. I love the combination of a typical sleigh with the rear wings form the Destiny’s Bounty thrown in. There’s even a couple of presents on the back.

The temple is beautiful and uses some really nice techniques. The base is made up of three BURPs (big ugly rock pieces) with some supporting poles dotted around for good measure. It’s simple and complex at the same time. The complexity of the rooflines mix well with the more simple aspect of the walls, with a bit of SNOT thrown in for the windows. There’s also some very nice upside down building in the top opening. I’d not come across the new black pointed corner roof elements before, but they’re superb. There’s some snow on the roof with some icicles, and some lovely wreaths hanging off the balustrades.

From the top, the interior includes the bust of Wu and a present, some cabinets with more gifts, a writing desk and a spectacular microscale version of Ninjago City Gardens (this was really well done but is a little hidden), and then a large open plan area with a corner fireplace and a printed 10 year tile. The hats on the walls was a very nice touch, but what’s with that floor?

Bag six holds the answer. You can either have a large dinner table and eight chairs (looks like they’re on dessert), or a Christmas tree and gifts! It’s a shame there’s not enough seats for all of the minifigures included, but the tree is something else. There’s been a lot of tree variants in LEGO over the years, but this is easily my favourite. The tapered shape, the elegant decorations and the presents make for the best LEGO tree I’ve seen for a while in a set. It also complements the set really well.

This was a brilliant build and it’s so great to have Employee Gift #4 in my collection. This was a really enjoyable build, and a huge thanks to LEGO for sending the gift! If you want a copy of this yourself, the aftermarket price is at just over AU $500. It’s not easy to get, but it is possible.

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.