We have heard recently that many companies in the Waikato and Auckland regions (and even further afield) and a whole bunch of our clients too are cancelling Christmas parties due to existing or potential Covid-19 restrictions and the uncertainty this brings. This may also be due to businesses suffering due to closures, restricted operations and a reduced Christmas party budget.
Some businesses may have already organised and booked their 2021 Christmas party and have now had to throw those plans out the window along with the Christmas turkey!
After putting so much effort in (considering the needs and wants of their staff, researching local activities, booking venues and catering) cancelling the Christmas party can be a heart-breaking decision.
The Christmas party is often an end of year reward for your team, a chance to get together and celebrate achievements.
At HR Connect, our Consultants are usually out and about in your businesses - not at our office, so we can go for a while without seeing each other in person. So our Christmas party has always been a highlight of our year - getting together, engaging and enjoying each others’ company while doing something enjoyable.
Of course this year we will need to approach this differently, so here are some suggestions for how have a fun Covid Christmas party, for all budgets:
1. If you have a smaller business have an online party - send drinks and refreshments to people prior to the event, or have them BYO. Have a theme or a quiz and have an hour or two just spending time together not talking about work (if you have a large business, you could consider doing this by department or team);
2. A virtual cocktail hour: as above but make it a cocktail party - dress up, get out the fancy glasses and enjoy a cocktail/mocktail or two;
3. If restrictions permit: have a picnic in a local park or at the beach if you are lucky enough. Have it catered or set a menu and get everyone to bring something along. Lay out rugs, camp chairs and cushions. Set up game stations like kubbs, petanque, cornhole etc so that people can play at their leisure;
4. Secret Santa via post - to be opened online. If your business is large you could consider doing this by department or team. Give staff plenty of time to buy something online and get it to their recipient, you can have fun themes for gifts, like silly Santa, food, games, if you like this idea it might be a good idea to get this started soon;
5. Have a competition to bring out the competitive streak in your team! Make it Christmas themed, consider a gingerbread house, Christmas cookies, a Christmas wreath, ugliest Christmas jersey or a Christmas tree made out of normal house hold goods;
6. Finish early for Christmas - close up early and gift that time to your staff instead of having a Christmas party;
7. Put the Christmas party off until February - by all accounts it sounds like we should be back to a new kind of normal by then. The weather is always beautiful in February and it’s a great way to bring everyone back together and reset for the new year ahead;
8. Cancel the party altogether and make up for it next year, add this years’ Christmas party to next years budget (unless it is needed more urgently elsewhere). If you do this, think about how this could be communicated to let staff know what’s happening and why.
Whatever option you choose, remember it costs nothing to acknowledge the efforts of your teams with a simple “thank you”.
Let your staff know they are appreciated and that while Christmas is different this year, you still want to celebrate them and their hard work.