5 Substitutes for the Traditional Office Party

Rest easy. One of the perks of small business ownership is being able to skirt the traditional office party setting with all its high pressures and forced socializing with that oddball Bob from the fifth floor sales department. Still, it’s nice to celebrate and be sure you show employees or associates that you appreciate them and all they do. As a potential compromise, we’ve come up with a list of 5 alternatives to the traditional office party that small business owners can facilitate this holiday season.

  1. Have an ugly sweater day. We all get them as gifts. Might as well have a good excuse to wear them! If you have enough participants, you can even have a gift card or prize for the ugliest voted sweater!
  2. Host a holiday cookie tasting. Everyone likes cookies, and the colder weather is the perfect time for baking and showing off those family recipes! This is another fun thing that you could make a contest out of, or simply enjoy a variety of flavors of sweetness.
  3. Donate to charity. Instead of hosting a potentially expensive party, consider letting employees or associates donate to a charity of their choosing instead. It is the season of giving after all, and with some small businesses largely comprised of remote employees, this can be the best way to go sometimes.
  4. Go all out on decorations. Bring in lights, ornaments, holly, and fake snow! Having a holly jolly workplace is sure the brighten the spirits of those around you. This also has the potential for another contest, if you’re the competitive type.
  5. Create a joint-effort gingerbread office. Make it a group activity and try to make it as realistic as possible. Even have fun making candy representations of yourselves. This can be both a tasty experience, and a team building workshop.

Regardless of your beliefs, taking a moment to acknowledge employees and associates for the hard work they’ve done all year is important. It may not need to be accomplished by a big, fancy, expensive party, but a gesture or fun activity like the ones mentioned above can be something close associates look forward to and remember in future years. Rather than make seasonal gatherings something they *have* to do, why not make it something suited to their likes and an event to look forward to? It is the season of giving after all; give them the gift of enjoyment, rather than yet another bout of stress.


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