by Laura McDermott
Even though holiday party budgets aren’t what they used to be, that doesn’t mean employers have to be Scrooge. At ACI Specialty Benefits, we’ve come up with fun holiday party ideas that don’t break the bank. After hosting these parties for clients through our Concierge program, here are the top three favorites:
- Festive on-site gift wrapping event. Complete with gift-wrapping elves, a hot chocolate station, fresh cookies and holiday music, ACI’s on-site gift wrapping events are always a huge hit. Employees enjoy the convenience of having their gifts professionally wrapped, and it’s so affordable, it can be offered more than once in the month. This service can be done internally or outsourced through a concierge service provider. The employer can sponsor the program at no cost to employees, or employees can pay a nominal fee per gift for the convenience. You can even donate these fees to a local charity to facilitate the holiday spirit! One Human Resources manager who offered this program for the first time commented “The gift wrap program was such a hit last year…employees couldn’t stop talking about it. It was great for morale and really contributed to our culture of being a great place to work.”
- Host a dessert party at work. Bring in a chocolate fountain or a crepe station and serve coffee and cocoa. Or, to keep it really low cost, employees can bring in dishes to share. (Reminder for party organizers: make sure have sugar-free treats and healthy options on hand for diabetics and dieters!) After working with a client last year to organize an affordable morning holiday treat for employees, the Human Resources Director passed on this email from a happy employee: “It was like any typical day, I was rushed to get out the door and had a thousand things on my mind, but when I stepped foot in the office building and saw a holiday elf distributing free coffee and holiday treats, it put a smile on my face instantly. Sometimes it’s the little gestures that make the biggest difference. Thanks for making my day.”
- Sponsor a charity collection. Identify a charity, like Toys for Tots, or any local shelter or food bank, and have employees bring in donations. An employee may already be personally involved in a charity that you can help contribute to, or you can simply provide gifts and a holiday meal to a local family in need. Sometimes a simple casino night (or afternoon), or games and raffle prizes can help boost donations while employees have fun. Or, schedule a work day for employees to volunteer their time at a local charity and make sure key personnel (like the executive team) attend.
Holidays are the time to show appreciation to employees for their hard work and commitment. Grand gestures are nice, but it’s often the little things that count most. With some creativity and careful planning, you can plan a festive and morale-boosting holiday celebration to fit any budget.
Laura McDermott is Media Relations Manager for ACI Specialty Benefits. ACI Specialty Benefits consistently ranks in the nation’s Top Ten EAPs, and is a leading global provider of Employee Assistance Programs, Student Assistance, Wellness, Concierge and Work/Life services.