The annual company Christmas party can be a great way for employees to relax and to get to know each other better outside of the formal office structure. This can bring a genuine return on investment for any business: as Christmas Connections notes, offices with higher morale see a 31 percent increase in efficiency on average. And as Sam Booth at Keele University remarks:
“It’s the one time of year that you get the chance to truly reward employees for their input and engage them with business objectives for the year ahead. No matter how big or small your Christmas budget, businesses should not underestimate the long-term value of engaging with employees by getting into the festive spirit.”
However, not all office holiday parties are equal. Take advantage of fun ideas to ensure this year’s celebration is one your employees want to attend.
1. Fill the Refreshment Table with a Cookie Exchange
A cookie exchange is simple to execute. Each person makes 2-3 dozen of their favorite holiday cookie, and at the end of the party, everyone gets to take home a few of each of the leftovers. This gives employees the chance to show off their baking skills and talk about family recipes and memories. It also provides built-in party favors and cuts down on catering costs at the same time.
2. Put a New Spin on the White Elephant Gift
White elephant exchanges are a staple of Christmas parties, but you can up the fun factor by making it a bit more personal. Consider having someone on the writing staff (or just an employee who enjoys and has a knack for humorous writing) develop a Christmas-themed story that incorporates the employees’ names and directions. Then the employees can pass the gifts around as the story dictates.
3. Think Outside the Box
If your employees seem less than enthused at the idea of wearing ugly sweaters or sitting down for lunch in the break room, consider a less traditional office Christmas party. You could sponsor a fun day out of the office, such as to a local Christmas market or a trampoline park for team-building.
If you want to stick with the tried and true, consider breaking the festivities into two parts — a meal at a nice restaurant where employees can socialize quietly and then an optional follow-up at a local brewery where things can get a bit more relaxed.
The most important thing about a successful company Christmas party is that it focuses on making the employees feel appreciated and gives them a chance to socialize and enjoy themselves outside of work. This leads to further benefits like boosts in morale and team bonding, increased retention rates, networking opportunities and a stronger company culture. It’s worth doing, and it’s worth doing right.