31 Holiday Office Activities for Diverse Workplaces
The holiday office party is the perfect opportunity to show your employees just how much they are valued and to celebrate their achievements. Unfortunately, more often than not, employees would rather be spending their time at home or on their beach vacation than in the office during the holidays. Instead of blaming them for not getting thrilled about the store-bought cookies that the company splurged on, let’s give them something to be excited about.
Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, The 4th of July, or Thanksgiving, holiday office activities lend themselves to internal team building, retention, job satisfaction, and culture setting. It is important to choose activities that celebrate culture and inclusion rather than divide and alienate those who may not share the same traditions.
Here are some ideas of activities that we promise are better than stale cookies.
- Ugly Sweater Day
Make sure everyone saves the date. You’d hate for the manager to get compliments for his “ugly sweater” on a day when he dressed like it was any other.
- Holiday Gifts
It’s the thought that counts. You don’t need to blow the budget to get the office gifts that show they are valued and appreciated.
What better way to celebrate together than sharing your favorite foods? Potlucks are an easy way to take the planning pressures off of the office administrators and let the creativity of the employees shine.
- Volunteer Together
Team building at its best is coworkers volunteering side by side to prepare meals for the hungry or wrap gifts for less-fortunate youth during the holidays.
- Decorating Contest
Offer prizes for the most creative cubicle or best decorated department.
- Cookie Exchange
This is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Whether they’re grandma’s secret recipe or the store-bought frosted sugar cookies that always make an appearance, cookies will be the life of the holiday office party.
- Cultural Inclusivity Through Food
December is a prime example of a month filled with a variety of diverse holidays. Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, to name a few. Different cultures and religions may be celebrating in their own way. Encourage employees to bring in food to share that is representative of their family traditions and culture.
- Party Games
Classic office party games never get old. Musical chairs, name that tune, and murder mystery to name a few.
- Photo Booth
Include santa hats and red rudolph noses for an office Christmas party or “boo” signs and a spooky backdrop for a Halloween office activity.
- Arts and Crafts Class
Set up a table in the break room full of colored paper, pipe cleaners, and glue sticks. It seems childish, but the holidays always seem to bring out our inner youthfulness. Take it up a notch by hiring a local artist to come teach a painting class.
- Scavenger Hunt
Snap a photo of one thing you’re grateful for, one thing that reminds you of Christmas, or some fall colored leaves. Make a holiday specific list that will get your employees moving and having fun.
- Gingerbread House/Pumpkin Carving Contest
There has got to be some sort of business metaphor for a team that can build a sturdy gingerbread house together.
- Angel Tree
Local organizations like The Salvation Army have giving tree programs. Get in contact with a charitable organization to get a list of holiday needs and have the office participate in giving back.
- Extra Time with the Family
Close the office early. While your efforts to liven up the office are honorable and often effective in building a good company culture, there’s nothing that can replace spending time with family or friends during the holiday season.
- Talent Show
Break out the guitars and juggling balls. Every office has gifted individuals whose talents will create a buzz of anticipation until next years talent show.
- Santa’s Workshop
Is it even a holiday office Christmas party without jolly Saint Nic and his helpers? Rent a Santa or hold auditions for the employee with the best “ho ho ho.”
- Countdown to Christmas
Countdown in anticipation using a treat filled advent calendar or an office specific rendition of the song “12 Days of Christmas.”
- Free Admission Festive Events
The holidays always bring out the child in us. Reserve a few hours when employees get free admission at a close by tree farm, pumpkin patch, or fireworks show and let the spirit of the season sink in.
Make donations for every mile run by your employees, dress up in festive costumes for the holiday, or choose a run that has a charitable cause.
- Food trucks
Holiday food is synonymous with “feast.” When cookies won’t do the job and potluck in the office sounds like too much hassle, call over some of your favorite local food trucks to bring the feast to you.
- Formal Dinner
Sometimes separating the holiday office party from the workday lends its benefits. Let employees end the day a few minutes early to go home, grab their spouse, and reconvene for a nice dinner at a high-end restaurant or hotel’s banquet hall.
- White Elephant
Have your office administrator pick out this year’s hottest new tech, gift items, or even gist cards. You know what to do from there.
Raffle tickets can be awarded to employees for achievements throughout the month leading up to your holiday office party where the big prizes are drawn for. This is a great way to acknowledge and reward hitting sales goals, outstanding customer service, or just small acts of kindness.
- Classic Holiday Music
If the holiday tunes are too distracting for the workspaces, keep the holiday cheer alive in the common areas and break rooms.
- Make Blankets for the Homeless
There are countless tutorials of how to cut and tie sheets of fabric together to make warm blankets that don’t require a sewing machine. Especially in the cold months from October to April, making blankets for the homeless is one of many easy volunteer opportunities for the holidays.
- Musical Cake Walk
Similar to musical chairs; if you’re standing on the right number when the music stops you go home with a plate of holiday treats.
- Guess Who
Make an office “tradition board” where employees anonymously post some of their fondest or funniest holiday traditions. Have fun guessing whose tradition is whose until the day of the big reveal.
- Thanksgiving Board
Decorate a cork board for the break room with scrap paper available for employees to write down and pin up the things they are grateful for to bring a positive spirit to the Thanksgiving office activities.
Make sure to take videos.
- Sports Outing
Bowling and Top Golf are great social sports outings that can be as competitive as you make them. A more extreme option for the right kind of crowd would be an office (football) “Turkey Bowl.” We recommend flag football for liability’s sake.
- Watch “The Office” Holiday Office Party Episodes
Who doesn’t love The Office? Over the span of ten seasons there are seven Christmas episodes, six Halloween episodes, and a number of other holiday appropriate episodes like a Valentine’s Day episode in Season 2.
This is just a quick list we came up with. Hopefully that helps you in your search for the perfect activity for your office. If you have any other ideas, comment below!
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