Midwinter is the season for fun activities, so plan some enjoyable entertainments for your office staff during the holidays. While you might not have the budget for some of the activity ideas on this list, that’s okay. Get creative with the budget you do have, because it won’t be any fun if you have to be miserly about it.
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1. Invite Their Families
During the holiday season, nothing spells good cheer like inviting the families and friends of your employees along to any event you’re holding. Even if your staff enjoys working with you, it’s a sad fact that nobody likes being at work during the holidays. That is, they dislike being away from their families during this family time of year. Inviting families along is a great morale booster.
2. Make Cookies
No party or activity is complete without giant platters of cookies. Invite your workers to bring in a variety of cookies—or some unique candies—whether they’re homemade or store bought. Your company can supply soft drinks and punch.
3. Hold Contests
Contests are the lifeblood of fun activities. And everyone has an ugly Christmas sweater. Why not hold a contest, inviting your workers to bring in those disastrous sweaters of Satan? Whoever has the ugliest sweater wins a prize. Think along the lines of a plasma TV, a board game, a laptop, or an equally ugly tie.
Ever since I saw an episode of The Office where Kevin sang Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know,” I’ve been hoping for having karaoke night at an office holiday party. Karaoke is one of those fun activities in which people to reveal another side of themselves. And it’s always good for laughs around the water cooler the next day.
5. Switch Things Up
No matter what you decide to do for this year’s parties, don’t make the mistake of doing the same boring thing you did last year. People want new and exciting fun activities, not the same old and tired tricks. That’s a sure-fire way to extinguish the fun.
6. Employee Potluck Lunch
Everyone in my town loves potluck lunches and dinners. They are a fantastic way to try out everybody’s special cooking talents and give people a chance to let their culinary skills shine. Be sure to pick a theme and encourage people to create their specialty dishes.
7. Trim a Tree Together
You know those ornaments and toys that let you record whatever you want for some amount of time? Make your employees feel like they’re a team by encouraging them to record a message together. Then hang that ornament on the office tree. Alternatively, if you’ve been taking pictures of funny things that happened over the year, place those in lightweight frames and place them on the tree.
8. Record It All
A special way to make your clients and customers feel like you truly value them is to record a video or photograph an album. In it, feature various members of your staff thanking those clients and customers. All the while you’ll be having a blast of a party, complete with plenty of wish-you-were-here greetings and other fun activities.
9. Gift Baskets
Encourage people to make holiday gift baskets for their colleagues using money from their own pockets. Set a reasonable and fairly inexpensive spending limit. Alternatively, buy some Christmas baskets for each of your employees on the sly and play Secret Santa.
10. Chair Race
This activity is sure to be a hit. Clear out the biggest space in the office you possibly can. Next, create a finish line using paper taped together. Once it’s all set up, encourage your employees to have a race on rolling office chairs. Before the hilarity ensues, decide together what the first, second and third place prizes will be.
11. Video Game Challenges
Most people enjoy playing video games. Consoles such as Wii, Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One all have 4-player games that you can turn into a challenge or tournament. Maybe the winner gets a paid day off work?
12. Best Decorated Department Contest
Do you have a lot of departments in your company? Give each of them an hour to decorate their areas. Then have a company-wide vote on which is the best or funniest.
13. Donations of Clothes or Food
The holidays are a time of giving, and it goes beyond presents for each other. If there is a clothing or food drive that’s happening in your town, encourage your employees to participate.
14. Go out for a Bite
If you have the money, rent out a private room at a local restaurant and personally buy a dinner for your employees. This is a wonderful morale booster. While you’re at it, invite people who attend to bring a an inexpensive gift for a Secret Santa exchange.
15. Door-to-Door Driver Services
Especially if you offer alcohol at your holiday party, hire personal door-to-door drivers for each of your employees. This will ensure they get home safely. Alternatively, hold the holiday activities during the lunch hour, and keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum—if you offer it at all.
There is no reason you can’t make the most of your office days during the holidays. Just let your inner child out and encourage everyone to let their freak flags fly.