Celebrating With Your Team

I’m a big believer in celebrating and thanking people as often as possible. Of course, the more those acts of appreciation can be customized to the receiver, the better. However, the end of the year is a great time to do a whole team appreciation event. Whether you are celebrating the end of the year or the holidays, it’s so important and fun to pause and connect differently.

Your Event

It doesn’t need to break the budget. A simple gathering can be just as wonderful as a trip to Disney (well, maybe not, but close). However, I believe there is one no-no for the end of the year gathering. Please don’t hold it on your site. Just like you preach to your user groups that it is essential to step away from your everyday surroundings, you need to also. Plus, if you are onsite, there will always be staff members who have more responsibilities than others, and that’s no fun when you are supposed to be celebrating!  

Here are a few ideas for budget-friendly gatherings:

  • Host at your home
  • Bowling
  • Christmas lights tour
  • Potluck
  • Book a local restaurant or gathering room
  • Exchange – perhaps make a trade with a local venue for a retreat on-site

Gifts or no Gifts

If your organization can’t afford to do gifts for your team, consider hosting a gift exchange. Who doesn’t love a fun gift exchange! You make the rules – if you want it to be an activity, make it a white elephant exchange where guests can steal gifts. If you have other plans for an activity, perhaps it’s a simple grab bag. Be clear with your guests – is there a price range? Is there a theme? Are the gifts intended to be jokey or serious?

Here’s a fun idea – if you don’t have the budget to purchase items, pack a basket full of camp store swag. Make sure there is at least one item for every guest. Do a drawing throughout the evening, with the winner taking their turn choosing an item. Of course, if you do have the budget to support it, pack that basket with cool stuff that they all will love – try to keep the things in the same price range.


Of course, it all depends on your budget. But, yes. If you are able, giving bonuses to your team members is a beautiful way to share appreciation for their hard work. 

Be sure to be intentional and careful about how you do this. Is it a percentage of their salary, a standard amount for everyone, or different amounts for different levels in the hierarchy? Be consistent!

Happy Holidays and a Joyful New Year to You and Yours!

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