As we have established Christmas is my favourite time of year. And one thing I have enjoyed doing is bringing a little comradery and Christmas silliness to my office over the past few years. I’m a social worker and so our work can be pretty heavy, particularly around Christmas when we are working with really vulnerable families, who’s pressure only increases at this time of year. So, while our staff work extra hard to try and relieve some of that burden for families, I like to try and lighten the work environment a little. It’s all voluntary of course but we’ve got a really lovely culture of participation in our workplace so generally everyone joins in even in a small way. So, here’s just a couple of ways I like to bring Christmas to the office.
1. A Desk Decorating Competition.
Now actually this gets pretty fierce. We have 2 offices with half the staff sitting at each office. So, both at each site and across the sites there’s some playful heckling and ribbing. We’ve even had thievery from one office to the other in an attempt to sway one sites chances of winning. It’s all in fun, it makes the office look beautiful and the staff really do have a great time with it. We usually get some of our National Managers to come down from our head office to judge. There may be one overall winner, but most of the awards are made up depending on how people have decorated. Awards in the past have been ‘The Minimalist Award’ for the staff member who participates but by placing 1 ornament on their computer screen. ‘The Theme (whatever theme that may be) Award’ for a desk that is particularly well coordinated. ‘The Glitz and Glamour Award’ for the glitteriest desk. ‘The Christmas Fairy Award’ for that staff member who’s more concerned with everyone’s participation than really winning anything themselves. You can get as creative as you like. I make up certificates and sometimes hand out little awards such as chocolates. An agency we work closely with liked the idea and started it in their own office- they have a bigger budget than we do because their winners received vouchers for dinner.
Now hopefully you’ve read my family advent calendar post (if not click on the ‘Christmas Category’ to find it). The team one was inspired by that. At first, I would put little bits of paper inside envelopes and containers like I do for our family one but now I just email the team each day with the day’s activity. (remembering we are spread across 2 sites, so I used to do all of this twice- email is much more cost effective and efficient time
wise). I obviously don’t do anything on the weekends so there’s less to coordinate than the family one. Much like the family calendar there are ‘people days’ where the rest of the team have to do something nice for that person- that might be to send (usually to the whole team but about that one person) an encouraging email about their strengths, to buy them a coffee or pretty much whatever each member of the team feels led to do. We have a team of about 14 so we double up with two or three people on these days so that takes a chunk out of the calendar. I also add in our agency and team Christmas parties as days on the Calendar. Other things we do are decorate gingerbread in our team meeting, Christmas trivia, Christmas word search, Christmas mindfulness colouring, write a Christmas story where one person in the team sends a paragraph and it goes around the team each person adding to it until there’s a full story, Name that Christmas Movie or Song (sometimes by a quote or lyric, another way I have done this is to make a page of the main characters pictures), I make a playlist on Spotify each year of Christmas tunes, I give each member of the team a small decoration to kick start their desk decorating… there’s really so many fun and simple things you can do each day. – some of the things I just google like Christmas colouring pages, others I make up myself like trivia or word searches.
Hopefully this gives you a little inspiration. Honestly, we spend so much of our time at work, it’s important to bring in some of the things you love. I also love doing anything that helps create a fun and close team culture.