5 Fun Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season with Employees
Regardless of the state of the economy, great employers realize that the most important business investment they can make is in the morale of their employees. Holiday office parties sometimes get a bad rap for being boring, cliché, "Attendance Mandatory or Else" affairs, but the truth is that traditions carry meaning for people, and your people carry your company’s success.
With a bit of creativity you can design a holiday celebration that will boost morale, increase motivation, improve office friendships and deepen loyalty to your company. Here are five festive ideas to get the jingle ball rolling. At least one of these is sure to delight even the most introverted and non-social employee:
Improve team dynamics by participating in an outing or sport that involves team building. Fun choices include bowling, paintball, softball, golf and mini-golf. Ice and roller-skating can be a blast, especially if many years have passed since the last visit to the rink.
If your group is more culturally inclined, attend a concert or play. Consider a murder-mystery dinner theater!
Charitable projects can be the perfect win-win activity with so many fulfilling ways to volunteer as a group. Invite partners and children to join in. Collect pet food for a local animal shelter and spend several hours socializing with cats and walking dogs. The overworked shelter staff and animals will be extremely grateful. It’s likely that at least one lucky pet will find a new family! Paint a new home with Habitat for Humanity, sing carols at a retirement village, adopt a family in need and provide all the holiday meal fixings and gifts for each family member and pet.
Consider hosting the company dinner at the CEO’s home. Hire a caterer, design a creative and intimate menu, and relax in a comfortable and low-key environment. This warm touch of intimacy and personalization can mean a lot to employees. If the budget allows for bonuses, instead of cash give each employee a grocery store gift card. Enclose a handwritten "Thank you for all you’ve done this year" personalized wish.
Ugly Holiday Sweater Days are all the rage! Encourage employees to arrive at work dressed in the most hideous holiday sweater (or entire outfit) that they can find. Have a contest for the Truly Ugliest, take many photos, and laugh all day. For even more fun, hold a Cutest Dog Holiday Sweater contest. Invite employees to bring their dogs decked out in festive apparel. All dogs willing to humiliate themselves along with their humans welcome!
Serve beer, wine, hearty lunch foods and desserts. Encourage musicians on staff to perform. This is a great way to experience new sides of coworkers.
Team building classes are inspiring holiday party options. Hire a local chef to teach an ethnic cooking or baking class. Contact a Certified Wine Educator and plan a wine tasting and evaluating class. Hire everyone’s favorite bartender for a mixology class. Get creative with clay at a potter’s studio. The fun of learning something new as a group will definitely be a bonding experience!
Most importantly, enjoy your time together. It’s not often that you get to move beyond your office walls bonding about things other than how much you dislike a certain coworker’s habits.