Holiday Office Parties Worth Celebrating

Ho, ho, hold the phone! Your office holiday party is less than five minutes old, and . . . Is that the head of accounting crying on Santa’s lap? When did it become a *thing* to use oversized candy canes to act out sword fights? And would someone please remove Martha from the bowl of eggnog? And this time take away her snorkel! Every year, we’re inundated with warnings about the “dangers” of holiday office parties, as press release after press release shares horror stories that would make the Grinch gasp. Fortunately, it’s not all naughty lists and coal-filled stockings—Most employers offer, and most employees enjoy, the chance to celebrate the season with co-workers.

Holiday Office Parties Worth Celebrating
Surveys reveal that most employers and employees are excited to say “giddyup, giddyup, giddyup, let’s go” to holiday parties. A report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., indicates that 2017 office celebrations, though perhaps less showy than in years past, will still be an important part of the season, with nearly 80% of respondents saying they would hold a company holiday party this year.

That holiday cheer extends to workers as well. A survey from TriNet showed that 65% of responding employees were very or somewhat excited for the company holiday party. Only 5% of respondents indicated they had no enthusiasm.

And these friendly parties often come with benefits. In Employee Benefits Survey: 2016 Results from the International Foundation, more than one in five respondents marked “holiday gifts” as a perk for employees. And more than half of U.S. and Canadian companies include on-site parties as part of their social and community health initiatives, according to an International Foundation Workplace Wellness survey.

So cast aside the dark cloud of holiday ho, ho, hos turning into HR no, no, nos and instead brighten your holiday spirit. Here are five ways to wrap yourself in the merriment of your office celebration:

  1. Show up, and show up early. As a kid, you couldn’t wait to get up and get started on the big day. Apply that same mind-set to your office holiday party. This sets the tone for attendance and gives you more time to talk to employees in a fun, informal setting.
  2. This time, it’s personal. Move past the shop talk and find out what makes people tick. Ask them about hobbies and other interests that get them excited to converse.
  3. Think outside the stocking. It’s easy to stick to your usual crew, but this is a terrific opportunity to meet new employees or those you don’t know as well. These personal connections can also make your job smoother when business resumes.
  4. Say “yes, I do” to other to-dos. If co-workers invite you to a departmental gathering, go. If a friend or colleague from another company extends an invite, check it out and see what works. It might give you ideas for what to do (or not do) at future office parties.
  5. It’s a wonderful life. Give thanks! After all, it’s a celebration. Reflect on individual, team and company accomplishments. Take advantage of this time to let co-workers know you appreciate their hard work, their enthusiasm and all the other gifts they bring to the organization.

These tips can help you be excited for all the season has to offer—instead of being ready to take any offer to avoid the season. But what say you? Any other ideas for finding the magic in your office holiday party (or a great tale of a holiday party gone awry?) Please share in the comments below!

Robbie Hartman
Editor, Publications for the International Foundation