The holidays are a perfect time to have fun with employees and show them a good time. If you’re throwing a holiday party, don’t stop there—54 percent of employees want to feel more “holiday spirit in the workplace,” according to a recent Randstad survey—so start some fun new traditions this year.
If you’re not sure what to do, consider these fun ideas. They’ll keep employees excited all season long, while connecting co-workers and getting everyone into the holiday spirit.
1. Cook-Off Competition
Who’s the best cook in the office? Find out by pitting your foodie coworkers against each other in a holiday cook-off competition. The first step in organizing your first-annual cook-off is to decide what employees will cook. Choose something fun, like:
- The best cup of hot chocolate
- The best holiday cookie
- The best holiday side dish
- The best cup of egg nog
The prize? A year’s worth of bragging rights. Perhaps the winner walks away with the “World’s Best Office Chef” trophy, a recognition spotlight, or mug to keep at his or her desk until next year.
2.White Elephant Gift Exchange
A white elephant gift exchange is similar to a Yankee Swap, but in this case, the focus is on “stealing” gifts rather than swapping them—making it a lot more fun. The good news is: this old holiday tradition is still very relevant. After all, 56 percent of holiday shoppers report buying gag gifts for family or office exchanges, according to the Holidaze 2018 poll.
Host the gift exchange on an afternoon in the office, allowing employees to have some fun on the company clock. Plus, if spouses are at the holiday party, it may be difficult to do the exchange. Not to mention, some employees may not be able to make the party, so this ensures everyone can participate.
3. Charity Outing
Did you know that 75 percent of employees want to see their company give back this time of year by donating to food drives or charities?
A fun way to celebrate the holidays with your office is by doing exactly that, giving back to the local community. Not only does this bode well for your brand, but your employees get more than just a fun party—giving back increases feelings of purpose, which leads to better sleep and a longer life, as reported by Forbes.
You can host a food drive in the office, or turn it into a group event, volunteering at a local non-profit. cCook a meal for a homeless shelter or host a holiday party at the local Boys and Girls Club. If you’re looking for more options, consider these non-profits:
- Meals on Wheels
- Feeding America
- Ronald McDonald House
- Local Children’s Hospitals
- Local Senior Citizens Homes
4. Gingerbread House Contest
There’s nothing that screams holiday more than a gingerbread house contest. Gingerbread house kits can be costly, so spilt your office or department into teams.
Each team will be responsible for making a gingerbread house within a certain period of time, say 30 minutes. To make it even more fun, set out bowls of extra fixings, like hard candy, sprinkles, and even non-edible elements like mini Santas, reindeer, menorahs, etc. for team members to spruce up their gingerbread houses.
In addition to being fun, this kind of holiday tradition is great for building teamwork and communication skills—while no one’s even thinking about it.
5. Ugly Sweater Day
The same Holidaze 2018 poll found that 92 percent of shoppers spend between $25 and $50 on an ugly holiday sweater—so give them a reason to wear it with an official Ugly Sweater Day in the office.
To make your Ugly Sweater Day tradition more fun, give away a variety of awards. For example, you may give awards for:
- Ugliest Sweater
- Most Creative Sweater
- Least Ugly Sweater
- Classiest Ugly Sweater
The prize for these could be the same as the others: a trophy for bragging rights all year long. You could also buy inexpensive stocking stuffers to give as prizes or reward winners with monetary points in a recognition program.
Your Office Holiday Traditions
Have fun with the holidays this year. Don’t just throw a party—celebrate for the entire season with fun contests, gift giving and an official Ugly Sweater Day. Your employees will enjoy having some holiday fun after a long year of hard work and dedication.
To learn more ways to engage your employees during the holidays, check out this blog post.
About the Author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.