Tips for celebrating the holidays and new year virtually

Even in a virtual environment, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays and the coming of a new year. We talked with SMPH HR and events staff to get their ideas and considerations for planning festivities with your team.

Here are the six tips for finding joy this holiday season:

  1. Conduct a yearly “WINventory”: In your regular team meetings, spend two minutes on independent reflection to create a list of your biggest wins and achievements of the past year — and 2020 offered plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond. Have everyone share one or two of their biggest “wins.” You’ll be surprised at all your team has accomplished, and it’s a wonderful way to celebrate what really has been a productive year.
  2. Incorporate a fun icebreaker: Change up your meeting icebreaker or welcome to a holiday theme. Ask your team in advance to consider sharing a favorite holiday or winter decoration. It’s a nice way to learn about your coworkers’ seasonal traditions. Reinforce that all are welcome and valued by following up with “Thanks for sharing that,” or “We appreciate learning more about you!”
  3. Share snowy memories: For another icebreaker idea, have team members share their favorite winter snow memory. In Wisconsin, most folks have one! Some have long-time snow hobbies like snowshoeing and others might be new to the Midwest and looking for tips. Celebrating differences in a group environment helps build relationships, even while we’re remote.
  4. Get creative with a whole event: Replace the standard department or team potluck! Get creative and schedule a separate time to gather and show off your group’s holiday skills. For example, one person can give a virtual tour of their holiday and winter décor, another can demo their raved-about hot chocolate recipe, and an expert present wrapper can teach everyone how to make the perfect bow. Be sure to send lists of any ingredients or materials in advance. Shared experiences bring us together, even while we’re apart, and harness the unique talents of your team.
  5. Give back to your community: Encourage your team to give back to a charity that means a lot to them or to give to a food pantry. Team members can share why a particular charity is significant to them.
  6. Take part in a gift or card exchange: Secret Santa or other gift exchanges are always popular options. Try to encourage shopping local if getting gifts or gift cards. Meaningful written holiday cards are also heartful and build connection. It’s a good idea to set a price range on gifts. In addition, always include a low-cost or free option, particularly during this time. Keep in mind that HR is not permitted to share personal addresses of employees. Employees would need to voluntarily give their address to others for gift or card mailing purposes. A Google Form could make quick work of this.

This list is in no way comprehensive but hopefully provides some ideas or inspiration for your team to celebrate the holidays and coming of a new calendar year. Importantly, make sure any activity or virtual gathering is inclusive and respectful of every team member’s seasonal observances.

Have your own fun ideas? Share them with us for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of In the Know

Virtual holiday celebration submissions

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