By Katherine Turiano
There are infinite ways your corporate or not-for-profit holiday party can give back to your community, give your employees a sense of camaraderie and help those who need it most during the holiday season. We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays – running to the mall, making shopping lists – all just in time to watch presents get unwrapped. Then, before you know it, it’s time to begin taking down the lights and returning gifts. The workplace holiday party can be a wonderful way to pause, be grateful and help your staff become a team with a shared goal.
As the holiday season begins, engage your team by selecting a charity via email poll. Remind everyone that holiday gifts are not necessary for co-workers; it takes the pressure off your staff to buy for the office and lets everyone know that this holiday is about giving back for your team.
Whatever your office usually does to celebrate the holidays, make it an event organized around the charity you are helping. Here are some ideas: if it’s a lunch out, make it a shopping trip to pick up gifts for Operation Santa beanelf.org, a US Postal Service charity that lets you be Santa for a child in need who has written a letter. Bring wrapping supplies to the lunch and your staff can each wrap their gift as they sip a holiday cocktail before lunch is served. Drop off all the gifts to your local post office on the way back to the office.
The usual office holiday card signing around the conference table can become a potluck lunch where everyone brings all the non-perishable goods from their pantries to donate to a local food bank. Or, consider an ugly holiday sweater contest where everyone is asked to bring in gently used unwanted clothes to donate to the local goodwill. One other alternative: while signing holiday cards, have each staff member and their children write a letter to Santa and drop it off at Macy’s to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation. For each letter to Santa that Macy’s receives, the company will donate $1 to the Make a Wish Foundation.
You could also do an office-wide donation to an organization like Farm Sanctuary to donate help rescue farm animals, or you can even collect money to help your local animal shelter buy dog houses.
Whatever cause your office wants to support, the holidays is a time to come together and do good for the community.