Beyond Secret Santa – Festive traditions to help build teams

27 / 11 / 19

Christmas is a fantastic time of year and can be a fun and exciting period in the workplace. Both employers and employees tend to be in high spirits and ready to celebrate with colleagues, friends and family. It’s important for businesses to mark Christmas as a thank you to their employees for all their hard work over the year. In general December is good fun in the office, however, it can also be an extremely busy time, especially for certain industries and so there’s even more reason to embed celebration into your company culture.

In this digital day and age, more and more companies are promoting remote working and so we can be faced with a team of employees who aren’t in the same vicinity day in, day out. This can be even more of a reason to bring your department and/or entire business together at key points throughout the year – Christmas being one of them. And so, this blog aims to cover how you can celebrate Christmas this year in your business to promote teamwork, appreciation, positive company culture and wellbeing:

The Christmas party

Last year we featured an article on the pros and cons of the Christmas party. But let’s concentrate here on the pros. Bringing the entire company or departments within a company together is a great way to bring everyone together in one space. Particularly relevant if your employees do work remotely. You could hold an all staff party on site or in a hotel or a meal and drinks locally for your specific department. It’s a chance to kick-back and promote team collaboration.

It should be fun and light-hearted, but as a caution, just make sure employees are aware of the boundaries and you will not accept behavior which puts members of staff or the company in jeopardy. Obviously you don’t want to quash celebrations but when the drinks are flowing it’s easy for people to throw caution to the wind. Communicate with them before the event to show that it is about having fun, but there are limits and you won’t tolerate unacceptable behavior.

Christmas bonus

Our last blog discussed the different types of Christmas bonus and why it should be given. Essentially a bonus is given in December as a thanks for the years work and signifies the end of the financial year for many organisations. Every business is unique and so businesses will choose different bonuses and it’s important for this to work for your business size and type. You can choose from a variety of bonuses from a flat figure or percentage of salary to performance based bonuses or profit share.

Whichever route you choose, remember you are recognising and rewarding performance. Ensure you communicate to your employees why you are giving a bonus and how this was calculated because the last thing you want is for colleagues to discuss their differing amounts and end up with disgruntled and demotivated employees when all you were trying to do was recognize their hard work and contributions.

Secret Santa

Essentially, secret santa is a long-standing global Christmas work tradition. It’s extremely simple and ensures employees don’t spend lots of money buying different gifts for their work colleagues. Take your immediate department as an example – Delegate the job for someone to put the names of all members of staff into a pot and then get each employee to draw a name out and this is who they’re buying for. It’s fully inclusive and means every single person will get something. You should choose a maximum buying limit, for example £10.

You can choose to give the gifts at any point, via the work party or a lunchtime gathering and it creates a fun atmosphere and helps with team comradery. You should initially keep your recipients name a secret but it can also be a fun activity after the gift has been given to guess who your gift came from. Yes, it’s a simple activity, but it certainly adds to your overall company culture. It’s a simple act of fun and kindness and can help to make your employees feel part of a team and a business culture they want to be a part of moving forward.

Company culture

One-off events and Christmas traditions won’t build a positive company culture alone and won’t transform it overnight. However, they can go a long way, amongst other engagement programs, reward and recognition programs and team building events. Company culture should be intrinsic to your business and as a business owner, leader or manager, it’s important to build this consistently throughout the year.

If you need help creating a company culture aligned to your business goals and objectives, please don’t hesitate to contact us now on: 01453 297557 or email

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