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Everyone loves a holiday party! You get to enjoy snacks and festive decor with your friends, family, and . . . colleagues? Yes, many offices have incorporated a holiday party onto the calendar for the season. But can you really have fun with your coworkers at a holiday party? If you have the right activities! From spooky Halloween themed events all the way to the New Year, a tasteful holiday party can help cultivate the right office culture and give everyone a chance to sit back and enjoy the company of their company in style.

1. Halloween

Halloween is not all jack-o-lanterns and ghosts, but it certainly can be! For an October staff party, consider bringing in a few pumpkins and dividing your crew into teams to carve jack-o-lanterns. If your team tends to be more analytical, you might even bring in a few templates. They can model their pumpkin after anything from a creepy pumpkin face to your company logo. This is a great way to get people excited about the season and working together, not to mention the low cost decorations you get for the office out of it.

A second Halloween favorite activity is a costume contest. This inspires everyone to get involved and creative. Especially in a work context, there is a lot of room for humor. People love to dress like their coworkers, bosses, or even favorite customers. You can establish a theme (movie characters, historical figures, work-related) or let everyone come up with one on their own. Let the fun begin!

2. Thanksgiving

If you already made it through October, it is time to start planning for the next big party inspiration: Thanksgiving. Whether you celebrate or not, this is a good excuse to get an office dinner on the calendar. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, a potluck is a good opportunity for every team member to showcase their unique favorite dishes and break bread with their crew. If there are some people without the ability to bring food, that is okay! Someone can be in charge of napkins, plates, and utensils, and someone has to make a work-appropriate playlist to keep the party going.

Once you have all eaten your fill, the games can commence. One great idea to inspire gratitude and honor the spirit of the holiday is by building a “gratitude game.” This is a simple design that inspires people to practice gratitude with quick activities, moments to reflect, and thoughtful prompts. People can enjoy the peace of gratitude with their coworkers and take the lessons home with them. 

3. Christmas/Hanukkah

The holiday season is long and continuous. With October and November out of the way, December holds the big kahuna of holidays. Christmas and Hanukkah are highly anticipated, partly for the celebration and gift giving traditions and partly for the time off work. The end of the calendar year means a break for most employees. Instead of calling people off of their trips and scheduled rest time, make sure to keep any festivities before the break happens. December is the perfect time to go all out on decorations. The office should feel festive and celebratory in anticipation of the new year, so this is the perfect time for an office party.

There are so many great holiday ideas for an office event. A personal favorite is the classic white elephant exchange. Everyone gets a gift before the event, and then people can randomly choose which gift they want to take home. There are trading regulations, souvenirs, and a lot of fun. If you have a smaller operation, a Secret Santa exchange could also work well. In this, every person is randomly assigned a gift recipient, and they get to secretly deliver a personalized gift to their lucky draw. This is a more involved system, because if one person is gone for the party or forgets a gift, it can upset the whole game. If you opt for the Secret Santa, make sure to get a few generalized backup gifts in case of emergency. 

4. New Years

Finally, the season is drawing to a close with a bang. It is time to reset and get back in the zone. A good activity for a New Years party is to set up a resolution stand. Everyone can get a sheet of paper to write down a few of their goals for the new year. There is no pressure here. If sharing feels invasive, let everyone just hold onto their paper and bring it home, but to turn it into a fun group game, you can encourage people to write two resolutions and one lie, and go around sharing and letting people guess the lie. This is a fun way to get to know each other’s goals and share a little humor.

Another great game for the New Years party is charades. Have your employees write down funny moments from the office, good pop culture callbacks, or major events. As long as it happened within the year and people will be able to guess it, it is fair game. Then, people can choose a card at random and act out the description to the best of their ability. This game always ends in laughter, and will get you reflecting upon the year behind you.