Guest Author - Dianne Walker
The holiday time is supposed to be a time for fun and cheer. With a tight economic climate and even tighter budgets, unfortunately the office holiday party is the first to go. The problem is the effect this one simple cut can have on staff morale. While the era of the lavish, no-expense spared holiday party may be long gone, there are ways your office can effectively save and celebrate holiday cheer.
Hold a decorating party – The office can hold a decorating party which includes all of the different cultures represented in the office. Ask each member of the staff to bring in a small representation of their culture to decorate the office. This will help to bring an “all-inclusive” multi-cultural feel to any environment. Each member of the staff can also decorate their cubicle to represent their culture. Everyone can walk around and visit the different countries to gain an appreciation and understanding of their co-workers.
Make it potluck. Who says the company has to foot the bill for a large spread. Ask members of your staff to bring in a food item to share with others. This can be handled a number of different ways. The food can be brought in on “decorating day” and employees can snack while they decorate. This can also take the place of the holiday party. When food is catered, it is usually a one note theme not everybody likes. A caterer will bring in perhaps a chicken dish, some rice or salad, perhaps sandwiches with little imagination. The array of food brought in for a potluck meal will ring in the fun and increase morale as employees share cheer and recipes over their favorite dishes.
Make it an international day. Along with the theme of having cultural decorating, make it an international potluck day. Have each unit or employee make a dish from another county. It can be either their own or have each unit select a country to represent. Each unit will bring in a dish to share based on the selected county. Allow each unit to go around and sample the dishes of other “countries”.
Are employees into gift giving? Make it easy on everyone’s budget. Put the names in a hat and pull to be a secret Santa. Each participant can choose gifts from the dollar store to give their “chosen” for a week and on the final day, present them with a gift at a cost of no more than 5 dollars. Employees will be amazed at what they can find on the clearance shelves for 5 dollars, even designer picture frames.
Don’t let the economy ruin the holiday spirit of the office. There are many creative ways to celebrate the season without breaking the company budget.