Not another Secret Santa! Unique Ideas to Spruce up Your Office Gift Giving

christmasI’ve been at my job for over seven years and have had mostly the same people on my team. As a result we developed a routine for how we dealt with Christmas in the office. However, recently we’ve hired a few new people and it’s quickly becoming clear that the Christmas status quo will have to be changed.

Now I don’t want to get to ‘Bah Humbug’ here, but sometimes I feel like office Christmas celebrations at the office can be a bit of a chore.  Plus doing the same old “Secret Santa” or “Yankee Swap” can be kind of boring.  However — you probably spend as much time with your co-workers as you do your own family.  So, snap out of it! And take the time to think of a good way to celebrate with them.

Here are some unique ideas:

Volunteer Together – It always makes me happy when I feel like I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life. Helping out at the local homeless shelter or senior citizens home is a great way to get that feel-good buzz as well as a chance to bond with your co-workers.

Deck the Halls – It’s hard to know how much is too much when it comes to decorating your office cubicle – so why not go all out? Turn it into a competition where the winner has the most ridiculous display. Decorating gives you a chance to be creative and helps you get into the holiday spirit.

Holiday Karaoke – Drinking and singing is a classic way of bonding with co-workers, although it can be difficult to get to know someone in a noisy bar. So why not do karaoke the way it was meant to be done? Head to your local Chinatown to rent a karaoke room. This way only your colleagues will be subjected to your wailing rendition of Wonderwall. (A suggestion from Glen Loveland from Chinese Central Television.) A great idea here is to buy a few headsets, and have attendees listen to the music on a headset, while singing along. It allows people to feel “free in the moment”, so you can accurately assess who is the best singer. Office headsets are perfect for this, as they also double up as working headsets for the office.

Pamper Yourself – Treat yourself to a group manicure at the office with Citymani, a company that sends manicurists to your office or home. This could be a great way to spend the last Friday afternoon before Christmas. They also provide a mini bar service so you can relax and enjoy yourself before the winter break.

Change it up! – Everyone has done Secret Santa a million times, so why not change it up and give it a theme? For example, if you want to get to know your co-workers better then you can have everyone give a special gift that is unique to their hometown, or that gives an insight into their family upbringing or traditions. If you have a little Secret Santa party then everyone can have a moment to explain their gift so that everyone learns a little bit more about them.  (A suggestion from Emily Leefe.)

Wine Tasting – Going on a night out with co-workers can be a bit awkward if you don’t know them very well. Going on a trip together helps to break the ice and keep the conversation going. I would recommend a wine tasting event, since it gives everyone a chance to loosen up, but also still feel sophisticated.

How does your office celebrate the holidays?

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