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Employee Recognition

15 Ideas to Help You Celebrate the Holidays with your Team

holiday employee

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to wrap up the year on a high note with your team using these creative holiday employee engagement ideas. Beyond the twinkling lights and festive decorations, these celebrations are an opportunity to express gratitude for your employees’ hard work.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of recognizing your team’s efforts during the holiday season and dive into 15 unique ideas to make your celebrations unforgettable.

Table of Contents

The Importance of Appreciating Employees

Fostering Engagement Through Festive Celebrations

15 Ideas to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Team

Encouraging Participation and Fostering Community

Elevate Your Workplace Spirit This Holiday Season

The Importance of Appreciating Employees

As the calendar turns, it’s essential to reflect on the dedication and hard work your team has put in. The holiday season provides a golden opportunity to express gratitude and acknowledge the contributions of each team member. These holiday employee engagement ideas will help you convey your appreciation in a fun and festive way. Recognizing their efforts not only boosts morale but also cultivates a positive work culture. In fact, consistent recognition can increase employee happiness by 82%.

Employee engagement is not just a buzzword; it’s a crucial element in creating a motivated and committed workforce. When employees feel valued and appreciated, it translates into increased job satisfaction and a more positive work environment. In fact, companies with good employee recognition strategies are 48% more likely to have high employee engagement rates. Rewards and recognition software like Bucketlist can enable organizations to provide consistent and meaningful appreciation and motivate employees to bring their best to work everyday! Organizations can engage their team with a huge selection of personalized rewards, meaningful peer and manager recognition as well as a customized suite of awards! Click here to learn more!

holiday employee engagement ideas

The holiday season acts as a catalyst for expressing this appreciation, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty among team members. By acknowledging the hard work and achievements of your team using these holiday employee engagement ideas, you not only enhance their job satisfaction but also inspire them to continue giving their best. A workforce that feels recognized and valued is more likely to be engaged, leading to higher productivity and overall organizational success.

Fostering Engagement Through Festive Celebrations

While the holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, it also provides a unique opportunity to enhance employee engagement within your organization. Engaged employees are not just satisfied with their jobs; they are emotionally invested in the success of the company, leading to increased productivity and a positive work environment.

1. Building Connections:

Festive celebrations create a conducive environment for team members to build personal connections. Whether it’s through collaborative activities like the Ugly Christmas Sweater Day or the Holiday Scavenger Hunt, these events encourage communication, teamwork, and a sense of belonging. As employees engage with one another in a more relaxed setting, it strengthens the social fabric of the workplace.

2. Recognition and Appreciation:

Recognition is a powerful driver of engagement. The holiday season provides an ideal backdrop for acknowledging and appreciating the hard work and dedication of your team throughout the year. Whether it’s through a Secret Santa Gift Exchange or publicly recognizing contributions during a Holiday Trivia Showdown, these gestures convey a sense of value, fostering a positive and appreciative atmosphere.

3. Promoting a Positive Work Culture:

Engaged employees contribute to the creation of a positive work culture. The holiday celebrations outlined in this post not only break the monotony of daily routines but infuse the workplace with a sense of fun and enthusiasm. Activities like the Movie Marathon Night or the Festive Potluck contribute to a relaxed atmosphere, promoting a positive and enjoyable work environment.

4. Team Unity and Collaboration:

Collaborative activities, such as the Festive Potluck or the Holiday Bingo Bash, bring team members together. Engaging in shared experiences fosters a sense of unity, breaking down barriers and promoting collaboration. This unity translates into a more cohesive and effective team, ultimately contributing to the organization’s overall success.

5. Creating Lasting Memories:

Engaging activities during the holiday season create lasting memories for your team. Whether it’s capturing the moments of a Mixology Masterclass or the laughter shared during a Holiday Charades Game, these memories become a part of the team’s collective experience. Positive memories contribute to employee satisfaction and serve as a reminder of a workplace that values both work and play.

6. Aligning Values:

Activities like volunteering together or incorporating elements of flexibility and inclusivity in your celebrations align with broader organizational values. By engaging in charitable endeavors as a team or accommodating diverse preferences during celebrations, you reinforce the idea that your company values not only individual contributions but also the collective well-being and happiness of its employees.

7. Encouraging Personal Growth:

Engaged employees are often those who feel a sense of personal growth within their roles. Activities like the Holiday Bake-Off Extravaganza or the Ornament Decorating Contest allow team members to showcase their creativity and skills outside their usual work tasks. This recognition of individual talents contributes to a sense of personal accomplishment and fulfillment.

As you plan and implement these festive celebrations, consider them not just as holiday events but as strategic initiatives to enhance employee engagement. 

holiday employee engagement ideas

15 Ideas to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Team

Now, let’s dive into 15 holiday employee engagement ideas to use in your workplace and make this season one to remember!

1. Ugly Christmas Sweater Day:

Step into the world of festive fashion by dedicating a day to the epitome of holiday attire – the Ugly Christmas Sweater. Encourage your team to scour thrift stores or unleash their creative prowess to design the quirkiest, most outrageous holiday sweaters imaginable. From blinking lights and jingling bells to extravagant holiday scenes, this day is a celebration of individuality and a fantastic way to infuse your workplace with laughter and holiday cheer. 

Consider organizing a mini “Ugly Sweater Fashion Show,” allowing team members to flaunt their festive creations and vote on the most creatively hideous masterpiece. Capture the merriment with a team photo to commemorate the day and share the joy on social media.

2. Name That Tune: Holiday Edition:

Bring the magic of the season to life with a holiday-themed “Name That Tune” game. Create a playlist featuring iconic holiday songs, from classic carols to contemporary hits. Divide your team into small groups and let the musical challenge begin. As each snippet of a song plays, teams race against the clock to identify the tune. 

To add an extra layer of excitement, incorporate a point system for correctly guessed songs, and consider throwing in a few tricky tunes to keep everyone on their toes. Adding a competitive edge to holiday employee engagement ideas can boost participation and encourage employees to join in. Enhance the atmosphere with festive decorations and perhaps a small prize for the team with the highest score. This lively musical activity not only tests your team’s holiday music knowledge but also fills the air with the joyous sounds of the season.

3. Festive Potluck:

Celebrate the diversity of your team’s culinary talents with a festive potluck. Invite each team member to showcase their cooking skills by preparing a dish that holds special meaning or represents their holiday traditions. As the potluck unfolds, team members can share the stories behind their culinary creations, fostering a deeper understanding of the diverse backgrounds within the team. This heartwarming event not only satisfies the taste buds but also builds a sense of unity through the shared experience of enjoying a delicious holiday feast together.

4. Holiday Trivia Showdown:

Transform your workplace into a festive game show arena with a Holiday Trivia Showdown. Divide the workplace into small groups, each armed with a buzzer and a passion for all things holiday-related. Craft a trivia list that spans various aspects of the season, including traditions, history, and pop culture. 

As teams compete in this friendly battle of wits, laughter and camaraderie will fill the room. To elevate the excitement, consider incorporating interactive elements such as multimedia questions or holiday-themed challenges for bonus points. 

5. Mixology Masterclass:

Transform your holiday celebration into a sophisticated affair by hosting a Mixology Masterclass. Elevate your team’s spirits—both literally and figuratively—with a professional mixologist or a designated team member showcasing their bartending prowess. Create a festive atmosphere with holiday-themed decorations and provide a variety of spirits, mixers, and garnishes. 

As team members engage in hands-on mixology, they’ll not only learn the art of crafting signature cocktails but also enjoy the fruits of their labor. This interactive and refined activity adds a touch of glamor to your celebrations, allowing team members to savor the festive season in style.

Consider integrating creative holiday employee engagement ideas to inspire the crafty and artistic employees in your workplace. Ignite the artistic spark within your team with a holiday cookie decorating extravaganza. Set up a festive cookie station complete with an array of cookies, colorful icing, sprinkles, and edible decorations. Encourage team members to unleash their creativity as they transform plain cookies into edible works of art. This hands-on activity not only promotes artistic expression but also creates a delightful assortment of uniquely decorated treats. 

Consider incorporating a friendly competition for the most creative cookie design, with prizes for the winners. As the sweet aroma of freshly decorated cookies fills the air, team members can enjoy their delicious creations together or take them home to share with family and friends, spreading the joy of the season.

7. Secret Santa Gift Exchange:

Infuse your workplace with the magic of gift-giving by organizing a Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Prior to the celebration, have team members draw names to determine their Secret Santa recipients. Set a budget to ensure the gifts remain thoughtful yet affordable. Encourage creativity by keeping the gift-giver’s identity a secret until the big reveal. 

Consider incorporating a festive gift exchange ceremony where team members take turns presenting their gifts, sharing the joy of giving and receiving. To add an element of surprise, encourage participants to include clues or riddles leading to the identity of their Secret Santa. This heartwarming tradition not only spreads holiday cheer but also fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie among team members.

8. Ornament Decorating Contest:

Spark the spirit of creativity and friendly competition with an Ornament Decorating Contest. Provide plain ornaments along with an array of decorating supplies such as paint, glitter, ribbons, and festive embellishments. Encourage team members to unleash their artistic flair and transform the blank canvases into unique holiday masterpieces. Once the decorating is complete, display the ornaments in a designated area for a festive showcase. 

Consider having a judging panel or allowing everyone in the office to vote for their favorite ornament, with the winner receiving a small holiday-themed prize. This activity not only taps into the joy of artistic expression but also results in beautiful, personalized ornaments that can adorn the office or be taken home as cherished keepsakes.

holiday employee engagement ideas

9. Movie Marathon Night:

Add to the holiday atmosphere by hosting a Holiday Movie Marathon Night. Set up a designated area with comfortable seating and festive decorations. Curate a selection of holiday classics, ranging from heartwarming favorites to nostalgic gems. Allow team members to vote on the movie lineup to ensure a shared cinematic experience. 

Consider providing popcorn, hot cocoa, and other movie snacks to enhance the cozy ambiance. As the lights dim and the first movie begins, team members can unwind, share laughs, and revel in the joy of timeless holiday tales. This laid-back and festive activity not only provides a break from the work routine but also fosters a sense of togetherness through the magic of storytelling.

10. Volunteer Together:

Embrace the spirit of giving by organizing a Team Volunteering Day during the holiday season. Select a local charity, community organization, or shelter and arrange for your team to contribute their time and efforts. Whether it’s serving meals, wrapping gifts for the less fortunate, or participating in a charity event, volunteering as a team fosters a sense of community and shared values. 

This meaningful and altruistic activity not only strengthens the bond among team members but also instills a sense of gratitude and fulfillment, making the holiday season more meaningful.

11. Holiday Bingo Bash:

Put a festive twist on the classic game of bingo with a Holiday Bingo Bash. Create custom bingo cards featuring holiday-themed images, phrases, or traditions. Distribute the cards and let the excitement begin as team members mark off items while enjoying friendly banter and laughter. 

Consider incorporating holiday-themed prizes for winners, adding an extra layer of fun and anticipation. To enhance the festive atmosphere, play holiday music in the background and decorate the space with seasonal accents. This inclusive and entertaining activity brings team members together in a lighthearted and engaging way, creating lasting memories and adding a dash of holiday cheer to the workplace.

12. Holiday Scavenger Hunt:

Transform your workplace into a festive adventure by organizing a Holiday Scavenger Hunt. Develop a list of holiday-themed clues or challenges that lead participants throughout the office or virtual space. Incorporate seasonal elements such as finding a hidden ornament, solving riddles related to holiday traditions, or discovering clues that unveil a surprise holiday treat. This engaging activity not only encourages teamwork but also adds an element of excitement and discovery to your holiday celebrations.

13. Holiday Bake-Off Extravaganza:

Bring out the inner bakers in your team by hosting a Holiday Bake-Off Extravaganza. Encourage team members to showcase their culinary skills by preparing and presenting their favorite holiday treats. Whether it’s classic gingerbread cookies, festive cakes, or unique seasonal creations, the bake-off allows participants to express their creativity and share delicious delights.

Consider having a tasting session where everyone can enjoy the sweet results, and perhaps crown the “Holiday Baking Champion” for an added touch of friendly competition.

14. Holiday Charades Game:

Infuse your holiday celebration with laughter and creativity by organizing a Holiday Charades Game. Create a list of holiday-themed phrases, movies, or traditions, and let the charades begin. Whether in-person or virtually, team members can take turns acting out these festive clues while their colleagues guess.

 It’s a fantastic way to break the ice, encourage communication, and bring a sense of holiday cheer to your workplace. Consider adding a twist by incorporating popular holiday songs or iconic characters for an extra element of fun.

15. White Elephant Gift Exchange:

Inject a dose of humor and anticipation into your holiday celebration with a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Invite team members to bring wrapped, quirky, or humorous gifts to exchange. The twist? Participants can choose to “steal” a previously opened gift from someone else or select an unopened one. Set a budget to keep things light-hearted and encourage creativity in gift selection. 

This activity not only adds an element of surprise and laughter but also fosters a sense of camaraderie as team members share in the joy of giving and receiving unique and amusing presents. It’s a delightful way to celebrate the season with a touch of playful fun.

These holiday employee engagement ideas are a unique and creative way to boost morale and add to the festive spirit in your workplace.

holiday employee engagement ideas

Encouraging Participation and Fostering Community

The success of your holiday celebrations not only relies on the activities themselves but also on active participation and fostering a sense of community among team members. Here are some detailed tips on how to encourage participation and strengthen the bonds within your team during these festive moments:

1. Advance Planning and Communication:

  • Initiate the excitement well in advance by sending out save-the-date notifications for the holiday celebration.
  • Clearly communicate the schedule, activities, and any necessary preparations to ensure everyone is well-informed.

2. Interactive Invitations:

  • Craft creative and visually appealing invitations that highlight the uniqueness of each activity.
  • Include personalized elements, such as encouraging team members to wear their favorite holiday accessories for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

3. Inclusive Sign-Up Systems:

  • For activities like potluck or cookie decorating, implement a sign-up system where everyone can choose their preferred role, whether it’s bringing a dish or contributing to the decoration supplies.
  • Ensure diversity in participation by encouraging a mix of roles and responsibilities.

4. Team-building Before the Event:

  • Consider organizing brief team-building activities or icebreakers leading up to the holiday celebration to create a more comfortable and connected atmosphere.
  • Foster a sense of anticipation and camaraderie by discussing the upcoming festivities during team meetings.

5. Recognition and Acknowledgment:

  • Acknowledge and celebrate team members who actively participate in the planning or execution of the holiday activities.
  • Publicly recognize efforts, creativity, and contributions, fostering a positive and appreciative atmosphere.

6. Encourage Costume and Theme Adoption:

  • For events like Ugly Christmas Sweater Day or Movie Marathon Night, encourage team members to fully embrace the theme by donning costumes or coordinating outfits.
  • Offer small incentives or rewards to motivate employees,  for the best costume or most spirited team participation.

7. Create a Festive Environment:

  • Transform the physical workspace or virtual meeting space with festive decorations, creating an immersive and joyful atmosphere.
  • Provide holiday-themed accessories, such as Santa hats or reindeer antlers, to enhance the celebratory ambiance.

8. Photography and Memory-Making:

  • Hire a photographer or designate a team member to capture candid moments during the festivities.
  • Share photos afterward, either through a dedicated platform or as part of a post-event celebration, allowing team members to relive the joyous memories.

9. Feedback and Reflection:

  • Encourage team members to share their feedback on the holiday celebrations, providing a platform for suggestions and improvements.
  • Organize a brief reflection session where team members can share their favorite moments and express gratitude for the efforts put into the festivities.

10. Incorporate Virtual Elements:

  • For remote teams, leverage virtual platforms to facilitate participation.
  • Encourage team members to use virtual backgrounds or incorporate holiday-themed elements into their online presence.

11. Personalized Tokens of Appreciation:

  • Consider providing small, personalized tokens of appreciation or recognition for active participation.
  • This could be in the form of holiday-themed certificates, small gift cards, or festive office supplies.

12. Flexibility and Inclusivity:

  • Recognize and accommodate diverse preferences and traditions by offering a variety of activities and allowing flexibility in participation.
  • Ensure that the chosen activities resonate with the cultural and personal preferences of your team.

By implementing these detailed tips, you not only ensure active participation but also cultivate a sense of community and shared joy during your holiday celebrations. Use these tips to make your holiday employee engagement ideas one’s to remember! Keep in mind, the more inclusive and engaging the activities, the more memorable and impactful the celebration will be for everyone involved.

holiday employee engagement ideas

Elevate Your Workplace Spirit This Holiday Season

As we dive into the festive season, it’s more than just the decorations and merriment—it’s a time to appreciate, connect, and forge enduring bonds within your team. Our 15 unique holiday employee engagement ideas go beyond the surface, offering a blend of joy, creativity, and collaboration..

Encouraging participation isn’t just a logistical detail; it’s an investment in your team’s morale and unity. These celebrations are a testament to the shared laughter, camaraderie, and creativity that define a successful and fun workplace. As you wrap up the year, remember that success extends beyond targets met—it’s found in the connections nurtured, memories created, and the collective spirit of a resilient team. So, let the festivities begin, and may your holiday celebrations be a testament to a workplace culture thriving on appreciation, collaboration, and shared success.

Here’s to a season filled with joy, laughter, and the enduring spirit of a team united. Happy holidays!

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