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7 Office Holiday Party Alternatives That Will Please Everyone

7 Office Holiday Party Alternatives That Will Please Everyone

The winter holidays are a great opportunity for employees to bond. Yet, it can also be a source of conflict for HR managers, who must make sure the season doesn’t lead to hurt feelings, discomfort or worse—a charge of religious discrimination.  It’s virtually impossible to restrict holiday observances completely from the workplace and what’s the fun in doing that? The key is to make sure to be inclusive to everyone and never to force participation.  

So, here’s an idea! Rather than spend a bunch of money on a pricey holiday party for the office, try and reduce the holiday stress for all involved by choosing one of these office holiday party alternatives:

Company-Wide Celebration Day

Instead of calling it a “holiday” party, why not try and put the focus on an end of the year party.  That way you aren’t singling out one person’s religious beliefs. Put the spotlight where it deserves – on this year’s achievements at your organization.  Management can deliver a speech recognizing the efforts of the entire team. Plus, encourage others to congratulate each other on the year of hard work and dedication.  It’s a great time to celebrate successes.

Multi-cultural Appreciation Day

If your workforce is particularly diverse, then try and include them all in a day recognizing beliefs of all cultures.  Ask your staff ahead of time about their beliefs. You could include decorations, food, beverages, music and activities.  It’s like in elementary school where you learn about different religions and how your families celebrate this time of year.  It’s a great way to get to know each other on a deeper level. 

Diversity Potluck

This is a fun way to invite different cultures and conversations about them into the office. Ask employees to bring a traditional dish that represents their country’s cuisine to the potluck. Write up a story about it and place it by the food. For instance, if you are making your nana’s Latkes – make sure to let others know its origin.  They might learn something new and get to try a new food in the process!

Cookie Exchange

With company-supplied punch, soft drinks, and mulled cider, ask employees to bring in a plate of cookies to share with their coworkers. Keep the event low pressure by specifying that bakery products are welcome, too. Make sure the company orders a supply of bakery cookies to ensure that every employee has a chance to sample a variety. 

Catered Lunch Day

Choose a day when you close the business down four hours early on an afternoon during the holiday season. Supply drinks, sandwiches, soups and desserts.  Highlight that the festivities are to celebrate being together as a work family. Show appreciation to all that have worked so hard.  

Volunteer Day

Instead of a holiday party, make a charitable donation or give your time as a team to make a difference in the community. Employees find charitable giving motivational and exciting. Pinpoint charities your employees support or help the charities identified in your company philanthropic plan.

Decoration Contest

Let employees decorate their office cubicles for the season.  Encourage multi-cultural participation.  Coworkers can vote on the winning display.  Winners receive a gift certificate to a local restaurant so they can enjoy it with their family over the holidays. 

Above all, remember that an office holiday celebration is about coming together for the sake of fun and camaraderie. It’s easy to plan an office holiday party alternative that welcomes people of all backgrounds without compromising the purpose of the celebration.

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