The holidays have a way of filling the air with warmth and cheer—and the anticipation of spending time with friends and family. ‘Tis also the season to organize holiday events for your employees at work.

This year, brighten your employees’ spirits by organizing a fun (and/or fulfilling) holiday office activity, such as an office party, gift exchange, or volunteer event. Here are some ways to bring the festive spirit into your workplace.

Throw a Work Holiday Party

Who doesn’t love food, music, and laughter? Host a party in the office or take your employees out—dinner, theater, or bowling are some great group activities where employees can visit and meet each other’s famiy members.

The office party is one of the most common ways to celebrate the season and have fun before everyone leaves for the holidays. Plan a get-together at work or outside of the office to boost morale; it gives employees something to look forward to throughout the year.

Holiday parties are exciting an fun to plan, and they create anticipation among your employees. Include your employees in the planning (or your social committee, if you have one) and schedule it for a day when the most people are likely to attend. If you simply don’t have time to plan before the holidays—such is the case with many retail businesses—set a date for the new year. This gives your employees something to look forward to after the holiday break!


If a dinner or office party doesn’t interest you, a catered luncheon or potluck is an easy, no-fuss alternative. Plus, it’s during work time, so it’s likely you will have greater participation from your workers. Plan a lunch event, where you set up a seating area for employees to gather and enjoy a meal together. Have it catered in, or reserve a table for your staff at a nearby restaurant. A luncheon is casual, and also gives you an optimal moment to address everyone at once with your well wishes and gratitude for a good year.


Volunteering for a non-profit organization is a great way to get employees together and spend time giving back to the community. It’s another feel-good activity that gives employees the opportunity to work together for a good cause and have fun while doing it. Donating time as a business can also benefit your company as a whole because you are creating a positive partnership and an excellent PR opportunity.

There are many volunteering activities your business can take part in, including helping with fundraising events, working in a soup kitchen, collecting items for a food drive or clothes drive, or even making a donation to a non-profit for an auction, or simply to fund their mission.

Gift Exchange

To keep with the spirit of giving, workplaces organize gift exchanges between employees, such as a Secret Santa or a White Elephant Gift Exchange. For a small price, it gets everyone in the office involved and mingling over the element of surprise. This activity is easy, inclusive, and gives everyone a chance to give and receive gifts from people they may not know very well. In other words, it can make unlikely connections a possibility.


Contests encourage participation if there is an incentive involved, such as a prize or trophy. Put on a contest during the holidays to spark some friendly competition among co-workers and even encourage creativity and team building.

Contest ideas include raffles or draws for prizes, door decorating contests, ugly sweater contests, charades or trivia tournaments. The options are endless and are sure to be a hit.


What would the holidays be without the décor? Lights, garland, wreaths, candy canes, and more are easy ways to take the office from winter drab to decked out with cheer. Adding this little touch to the workplace will put employees in the spirit and also warm up the office environment for clients and customers.

Although the holidays are celebrated by many, there are some people who do not celebrate at all. Be respectful of all your employees’ beliefs and decorate accordingly.

Time Off

While Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are both National Holidays, many companies offer additional time off, such as shortened hours on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. If you are able, offer your employees a half day on these days. It puts people in a nice mood and shows you care about their happiness and work-to-life balance.

Employee Recognition Gifts

Some companies give their employees a bonus at the end of the year. For those small businesses who do not offer holiday bonuses, consider other ways of acknowledging your employee’s contributions throughout the year.

The smallest gifts can mean the world to a worker if the thought is there. Greeting cards, chocolate, gift cards, or other small tokens show that you care. You may even wish to send a warm compliment to each of your employees or hold a casual awards event where you commend employees on their dedication and accomplishments. No matter how small or big, an employee appreciates recognition from his or her employer and it will do wonders for morale and employee satisfaction.

‘Tis The Season For a Merry Workplace

It’s the season for giving. Your employees are valuable to your operations and keep your business going forward. The holidays are the time to give something back to them. Whether you plan a party, volunteer to help work a fundraiser for a local organization, decorate the water cooler, or give them a card, the main thing is that you show your appreciation and gratitude for their hard work throughout the year. Your recognition will mean a great deal, and what better time to make an effort than a season already filled with joy, warmth, and cheer?

What does your business do for the holidays?

Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.


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