Decking the Halls: Celebrating While Staying Safe


When gatherings and get togethers were shut down back in March, no one anticipated we would still be distancing and canceling events in December. With the holiday season in gear, many families and businesses are having to rethink their plans. However, the spirit of the holidays does not have to be evasive during COVID for workplaces. Sure, we won’t be able to gather and compete for the ugliest Christmas sweater or jingle on the dance floor, but co-workers can still celebrate the season!

You might find your employees are even more excited and willing to participate in virtual events given the current climate. For example, each year our office hosts an annual food drive for a food pantry focused on seniors. I warned the coordinator that since we had more than half of our staff remote, we may have less donations than years past. But wow, was I completely wrong. We received record donations between the food and other monetary gifts. Staff even had friendly challenges going between departments to encourage more giving. In a year where we have all had to sacrifice so much, I think it motivated staff to be able to give and support others.

When deciding how to plan your office holiday gift giving, celebrations, and drives, maybe this is the year to focus on thoughtful and purposeful giving. Doing for others can impact the recipient but even the giver in a positive way, which will just reinforce community and pride in the workplace.

Here are some additional ideas to spread holiday cheer among staff:

Virtual secret santa

Don’t retire this long running tradition in the office just because your co-workers are remote. Rules can remain the same as in-person but have gifts be delivered via the mail or dropped off at the door. You can even have a virtual Zoom reveal with those that participated. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving packages at home?

Holiday meals

For those still working in the office, schedule boxed lunches from local caterers or restaurants to be dropped off for staff. A fed staff is a happy staff!

Holiday green

Another way to make an impact is by foregoing the traditional holiday gift and giving a cash bonus to employees. The holidays may look very different this year for staff and a little extra cash can help make a difference.

Curated gift boxes

With online retailing at an all-time high, a custom or semi-custom curated gift box is a great option to personalize and brand your holiday gift for staff! Include items for self-care, edible treats, and even branded products to enhance the work from home experience.

One thing to keep in mind is to not skip over the holidays this season. Employees have worked through a very stressful and often uncertain year; a small gift, virtual gathering, or token of appreciation from their workplace can make that year a little better. Holiday celebrations can continue even if the gatherings are on hold. As leaders, it’s our job to spread cheer, not COVID this year.


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