For many organizations, December represents the busiest time of the year. As the winter holidays near, work must go on – and finding the time and energy to get into the spirit can be challenging. For your employees, holiday responsibilities can exacerbate the stress of the busy season at work.
But the holidays also are the perfect time to spread goodwill and cheer, both with your team members and with your local community. Consider incorporating some of these fun and festive ideas into your work environment to promote camaraderie and a spirit of giving this holiday season.
Create the Right Environment
A little time and effort spent decorating your office can go a long way toward boosting the holiday mood. If you haven’t already done so, consider decorating a tree for your reception area, and add some evergreen-scented candles or air fresheners if you opt for artificial foliage rather than the real thing. A decorating contest with a prize for the best effort can quickly add a festive air to your surroundings.
Plan some simple events, such as a “goodie day” or holiday potluck for everyone to bring in their favorite holiday recipes. Depending on the number of team members in your office, you can plan a Secret Santa gift exchange that includes a dollar limit.
Throughout your holiday celebrations, remember to be inclusive of all team members with multi-faith or secular decorations, along with foods that fit various dietary preferences. If anyone in your office suffers from allergies or chemical sensitivities, skip any scents that might cause problems.
Have a Holiday Party – and Help Others
Consider throwing a holiday party to express appreciation for the hard work your team members do throughout the year. A catered lunch at your office is a nice touch, or you can take the team out on the town if your budget permits.
You also can plan your holiday gathering as a way to support a good cause. An event like a silent auction can raise money for the charity of your choice as your team members bid on donated prizes and have fun in the process.
Get Your Holiday Cards in the Mail
Don’t have time to send out holiday cards this year? Consider making it a fun team activity and getting those cards in the mail. With digital communications now nearly ubiquitous and hand-written cards going the way of the horse and buggy, your efforts to send out personal cards will surely garner attention.
Consider assembling a hot chocolate bar — complete with several flavors of hot drinks, whipped cream and toppings — and get everyone together for a card-writing session. Send the fruits of your labor to your customers and prospects, and you’ll set the tone of goodwill for the coming year.
Donate to Worthy Charities
Charitable organizations in your area need your help more than ever, and you can make giving an important part of your holiday celebrations. As you’re setting up your holiday tree, consider making it a giving tree that allows employees to select ornaments designating a charity for sending donations.
Alternatively, you can choose one individual charity or cause that everyone in your office can support as a team. You and your employees can purchase items from the organization’s wish list, put them under your tree and then send a group to deliver the gifts. You also can choose to support one needy family or several families.
Give of Your Time
Along with financial resources, an important gift you can give is your time — and that of your employees. Many nonprofit and charitable organizations in your area need help over the holidays. Why not give by allowing team members to volunteer during their on-the-clock time?
Your employees can serve meals in a soup kitchen, organize donations in a food pantry, read to children in a local school or library, or deliver gift baskets in a hospital. Regardless of the ways in which you choose to help, your team members will appreciate the opportunity to get involved in a hands-on way in your local community.
In addition, consider participating as a group in an event to benefit a local charity. If weather allows, your team can clean up a park or join in a fun run for a bonding experience that also helps others in need.
At this busy time of year, consider sparing a little time for activities like simple decorating, preparing cards, planning a party and supporting a local charity. Your efforts are sure to pay off — for you, your team and your community.