What sort of things (parties, white elephant exchanges, etc.) does your office do during the holidays? Why (or why don’t you) do them?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
“Around Christmas, we throw a Christmas party. Instead of bringing gifts and things like that, we give away a white elephant gift valued at under $10. This allows people to show a side that you typically don’t see. It also allows the business to be a little cheaper and not give gifts. Everyone leaves happy and you can reward others in different ways.”
“Every employee at ZinePak selects a child, teen or adult from the New York Cares Winter Wishes program during the holiday season. We shop, decorate cards and then wrap presents as a team for our holiday activity. Being able to help others who wouldn’t otherwise receive gifts during the holidays not only brings our team together, but it reminds us to appreciate what we have.”
“The holiday season is a time to reflect on the past year and look towards the future. It is important to appreciate your successes as well as your failures, and boost the morale of your team of warriors. At Pley, we have the big Holiday Party, but we also enjoy low-key themed days for celebration. We dressed up for Halloween this year and are planning an “ugly holiday sweater day” in December.”
“Last year, some of my staff and board members traveled with me into a disaster zone — post-typhoon in the Philippines. Nothing is more unifying than working together to save peoples’ lives. This allowed us to see our work in action, connect with international team members and learn so much about one another. Now we have a shared understanding that carries us through challenging times.”
“December is always a cranking time, party and event-wise, so my team elected to do a Thanksgiving breakfast party. Every member of our “BAMily” brings a little gift of thanks for everyone else on the team, be it a personal note, a trinket, flowers, whatever. This type of gratitude party celebrates one another, as well as our team’s accomplishments of the year.”
“I try to keep my team members on their toes, so each year I roll out the infamous “prize wheel” — every day leading up to the holiday break, a team member rolls the wheel and gets a prize. These may include “dud prizes” like promotional materials, merchandise, etc., or great prizes like two nights in Vegas. It’s something special that keeps my team motivated and engaged.”
“We don’t do any holiday parties or exchanges. Although we do try to do something nice for our staff, most of them would agree that they’d rather us save the expense and put that money into their bonus and profit-sharing pool.”
“We don’t do an elaborate holiday party, but always make sure to do a Secret Santa. While it’s a small thing, it brings employees together and makes everyone get to know one another a bit better.”
“Instead of a big fancy party or gifts that no one really wants, we give our employees extended time off. It shows them that we recognize their hard work throughout the year. Productivity usually goes down around the holidays anyways — why not let them re-energize and come back after the holidays with a refreshed spirit?”
“We usually do a party that brings everyone together. A few years ago, we did a cooking a class; it turned out to be a great team-building exercise and amazing entertainment.”
“For the past few years, we have had holiday parties in our office. But these are about our customers, not our team. Everyone is invited (we had folks from out of town last year!). It’s not fancy, but it’s our way of saying thanks. Our company is built on customer engagement — fans vote for our watch designs and advise us on new products, so meeting face-to-face is the best party option there is!”