How LEGO has changed lives even in a pandemic

Joshua Mah / Staff reporter

Since 1932, LEGO has brought people huge amounts of entertainment, creativity and fun, and these bricks will always bring back childhood memories. Now there are Lego video games, movies and new sets coming out every month. Even though people are going through a hard time right now, it is still an easy time to play around with the most beloved LEGO bricks. LEGO has affected most people in a way that it keeps them ‘busy’ and they get the chance to fidget with their hands when building and to challenge yourself to build such elaborate, unique and incredible artwork and structures.

LEGO MOC COVID-19 by Back 2 Brick | Rebrickable - Build with LEGO
Coronavirus in LEGO form

LEGO is neither an English nor a gibberish word. It’s a Danish word. The word “LEGO” came about when Ole Kirk Christiansen used the abbreviations of the Danish words “Leg Godt“, which means “play well”. Back in the 1890s and 1920s, Kirk Christiansen had faced many challenges. His factory burnt down a few times, but he never gave up. He continued on with his business and eventually succeeded.

According to “Home-bound children drive surge in Lego sales” by The Associated Press, skyrocketing sales of LEGO toys caused their net profit to gain 19% to 9.9 billion kroner which is equivalent to US$1.6 billion. Their presence grew in 12 markets. This big increase in sales and profits was due to the decision to introduce LEGO video game apps as well as move LEGO sales online.

Since COVID-19 hit, LEGO hasn’t been affected by it at all. The majority of people missed the outside world and weren’t able to enjoy the activities they wanted to do. However, they could always play and use their creativity with LEGO and keep themselves busy with bricks. For the past few months, LEGO has been able to send out new sets they’ve created and absolutely nothing has stopped them. There are people out there who have created very intricate and elaborate creations and made stop-motion videos with LEGO. People can entertain themselves and play with bricks instead of going out and doing other things. People were generous enough that they donated some LEGO products to children’s charities during the pandemic.

This is not COVID-related. This was an evolution that started a while ago. In 2020, we began to see the benefits of these, especially in e-commerce and product innovation. We had factories that had been forcefully shut down and shops closed, some have reopened, others are still closed.

We had several times to hold back toys because movie releases were postponed. It was frustrating for us. The past year has shown the importance of having an agile, responsive business built on strong digital foundations, I expect that 2021 will see sales increase.” said chief executive Niels B. Christiansen from the Associated Press. In Mexico and China, a lot of stores and manufacturers have closed down due to the pandemic or gone bankrupt.

Since people are being creative in a pandemic right now, James May, an English presenter and journalist, decided to think “outside-the-box” and made an actual house out of LEGO. The house took about six weeks and more than a 1,000 volunteers to finish building and, yes, people can stand inside it but unfortunately, it’s not all LEGO. Behind the LEGO is wooden framing that holds the house structure, so in a way, they cheated. However, they had to do that because the house can fall at any time and can cause injuries.

James May inside his house made out of LEGO. 3 weeks before the house was taken down.

Three weeks later, it was sadly dismantled because nobody wanted to ‘save it’ nor claimed it on Facebook. Legoland decided they didn’t want it anymore, but what’s important is that the house was planted on a vineyard, so the house was taken down and the vineyard was back to growing grapes. Even if Legoland wanted to move James’s house to the fairgrounds, it couldn’t happen because of the transportation costs which made it not worthwhile.

Ole Kirk Christiansen - Wikipedia
Ole Kirk Christiansen, creator of LEGO (1891-1958)

The success of Ole Kirk Christiansen and his toy company has allowed children and adults to enjoy this “brick-fusing” toy during this pandemic and fend off boredom while cooped up at home. In addition, his determination to build up his company in the face of difficulties is a lesson to people today. Even though we’re in a pandemic, we mustn’t give up and must continue to do our best to take care of ourselves and others.