Published: 5 November 2023

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song tells us. So, this year why not do something a little different to make the festive season a motivational and fun period for your team?

Christmas in the workplace

When it comes right down to it, the last few years have really disrupted the usual Christmas fun and games, and I suspect even the most cynical of us are looking forward to a few laughs and a bit of Christmas cheer. That doesn’t mean you need to just roll out the tired tree, tattered tinsel, and disco in the function room at the local pub, though. Here are six thoughts around Christmas events that take a slightly different approach.


1. Deck the halls

Why not get all of the team involved in decorating the workplace? It’s easy to be a little bit cynical about the tinsel and the baubles, but they are colourful and specifically designed to make things a bit festive. This year, why not switch things up and ask everyone to get involved? Make decorating the workplace a community event that will officially start the festivities for everyone. This is also a great opportunity to personalise things for employees who don’t celebrate Christmas or choose to do something different for it.


2. Think about ditching the office booze up

Not everyone likes the office Christmas party. We’ve all seen what happens when the booze releases a long-standing resentment or perhaps some inappropriate relationships. Only the gossips enjoy those dramas. For some people, these events can also be an awkward or even difficult experience. According to Charity Alcohol Change, there are over 600,000 alcohol-dependent users in the UK. Others may not want to drink for medical reasons or have cultural or religious objections and so on. Alcohol-based parties may not be the best option. The traditional ‘works do’ may be the default position, but can it be swapped for some other event?


3. Give everyone the gift of time

The worst thing about Christmas is trying to cram everything in before the holiday. Everyone feels rushed, and we all hate the last-minute shopping. This Christmas, could you give everyone a ‘Christmas shopping’ day bonus? It doesn’t need to be a full day off if that doesn’t work for your business; even a half-day is something most people would really appreciate.


4. Have an annual awards ceremony

Why not get everyone together and give awards / thank you gifts to everyone? This will allow you to mark the achievements for the year, recognise exceptional effort or outstanding work, and generally say thank you to everyone for all they have done for the company. A couple of hours out of the working day to recognise everyone could well be a real motivation during the cold December months.


5. Personalise and recognise

In the same vein as the awards ceremony, one way to really show that you respect, thank and recognise the contribution of your team is personalised gifting. It is a little more work, and, of course, it may not be practical with larger workforces, but we are all touched when someone makes an effort specifically for us. When that effort comes from the directors of a business, it shows that you not only appreciate the team but also that you are interested in them as people and not just assets.


6. Ask the team what they want

Probably the best and easiest method of giving the team exactly what they want this Christmas is to just ask them. You may want to limit the options based on what is reasonable and affordable for you or just leave it open to see what comes up, but why not find out what they want to do?

Final festive thoughts

It is probably a good time to mention inclusivity here. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but that doesn’t mean they need to be excluded from the fun. It really doesn’t take much to make your events more inclusive. You know your team, and you know who they are, so tailor things to what works best for everyone. If you make the focus thanking the team and recognising their contribution, Christmas can just be the stage on which you show you appreciate them.

If teams engage with the Christmas season in their own way, it can be more than just an annual disruption to the daily routine or the same old tired event. If everyone is involved and active, it becomes a bonding and loyalty-building period that will give everyone a little boost when they need it.