top of page

Office Holiday Party - 6 tips to consider before getting out the ugly holiday sweater

We are on the homestretch and lots of internal comms pros have reached out and shared that they haven't even thought about the office holiday party yet.

For those behind the ball this year, below are a few tips and ideas to consider before you get out your ugly holiday sweater.

Tip 1: How are people feeling?

Listen, we know there are some of you out there who have been listening to Christmas music since Halloween, however, depending on the situation, your employees might not be up to another virtual holiday shindig. Take a pulse. If people simply aren't up to it, simply give them the day or time off.

Tip 2: What is your intention?

If you decide to move forward with a holiday party, define success. Ask your team, "What is our intention for this event, and at the end of the event, how do we want people to feel?" This will provide direction, clarity, and the proper tone to your details.

Tip 3: It doesn't need to be homemade.

You can use quick and easy pre-made holiday spirit to distribute to your employees. Consider things like:

Jib Jab: If you haven't seen JibJab

in a while, they have increased the quality and the volume of templates you can use to add humor to your holidays. Simply upload employee photos and that's it. It is free for 30 days and after that, a year-long subscription is only $24.


Employee-led Secret Santa: Allow someone other than you, to lead some of these gift-giving experiences. Coordinating a Secret Santa program can also be appropriate for smaller companies and gets around the awkward who buys what for who dilemma. You can set a low budget to be sensitive to tight budgets this year and set rules, like order via Amazon to save on shipping, etc.

Tip 4: Elf on the Shelf

Our team bought elves at the Dollar Tree store and mailed them in a holiday package to each employee. We included instructions, but essentially each employee was tasked with 1 day to present their elf doing something funny, mischievous, or spreading holiday cheer via photo and then posted the photo to our internal Elf on the Shelf Slack Channel. The pictures were can be put in a weekly newsletter to give internal and external audiences ideas for their personal Elf on the Shelf. The daily photo of the elf spreads the work and the cheer across the company.

Tip 5: Trip down memory lane

As part of your holiday party or team meeting, consider having each employee or a handful of employees depending on your company, share memories via video or photo. This time of year is a great way to reflect and empower team members to tell their stories. Plus this is a great way to grow your photo library. The photo I shared highlighted our team's values and family-culture to help in any and every way possible when needed. A coworker was having truck trouble, so I and another coworker didn't bat an eye to climb under the truck to help. Telling this story reinforces values and the feelings that drive our team's culture.

Tip 6: Home for the Holidays Show

Consider putting out a list of holiday nice-to-know items. For example:

  1. Making the perfect cup of cocoa

  2. Wrapping the perfect gift

  3. How to trim a tree like a boss

  4. How to build a fire

  5. The safest way to shovel snow

  6. How to take the perfect family photo

  7. How to bake the perfect Christmas cookie

  8. How to serve the best holiday cocktail

  9. 3 powerful questions for the holiday dinner table

  10. The best way to string outdoor lights

Then have employees sign up for 2-minute segments on your "Home for the Holidays" show. You will be surprised how this activity has the power to shine a light on talents and strengths turning even the most quiet of employees into rockstars on center stage.

The key is to plan an event that fits the pulse, resources, and time you have to achieve the intended feeling your employee desire.



bottom of page