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Keeping the Holidays Jolly

Published Friday Dec 23, 2011


I know it's better to give than to receive, but I admit, I love being spoiled at Christmas. Working in publishing, resources can bechallenging. We can't enjoy the lavish perks some Best Companies to Work For offer. While some of those companies give iPads as gifts(!), my boss jokes we can only afford iPad covers.

But I'm not complaining. While we don't have a huge budget for the holidays, we get very creative. Everyone here looks forward to what we call Festivus Week. Here's why: It starts with Secret Santa, which other companies also do, but not with the same zeal. Because we're journalists, i.e. nosy, we make a sport of guessing who has whose name. And there's a prize for successfully matching givers and recipients at the end of the week.

Over the years, this game has become highly competitive. People sneak into the office after hours to drop gifts, hang wrapped boxes from overhead lamps, and have even resorted to hiding a gift in the microwave (a risky move indeed). Some have asked people from other businesses to deliver gifts for them. One year, I hid in someone's office, watched them deliver their Secret Santa gift, and then jumped out, ninja style, scaring the tinsel out of them.

The culmination of Secret Santa week is our Festivus party. Because we adore our significant others too much to drag them into our madness, we close the office for a day for an off-site celebration of our tightly knit (tightly wound?) group. Another benefit is that it's not another night out in December.

Our Director of Events Kristin Kullman plans a secret escapade. Half the fun is anticipating what she has planned. We've traveled in limos and by caravan. We've taken a cooking class, complete with chef jackets, at Colby Hill Inn in Henniker, and we've had a private tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston followed by a wonderful meal in the North End. We have learned to make glass ornaments at the Sharon Arts Center in Sharon, and we became amateur sommeliers at Flag Hill Winery in Lee. Last year we enjoyed a chocolate tour of Boston.

A lot of effort goes into creating a memorable experience, and these celebrations make us feel appreciated. The days are filled with laughs and provide fodder for stories that bring joy to the team throughout the year.

So what's my point besides bragging? Holidays give employers an opportunity to show employees how much they are valued. Use it to your advantage. Whether it's allowing them to get silly with Secret Santa (yes, we do get work done in between) or getting creative with a party, fun and thoughtfulness will pay off with employees who feel appreciated and who feel closer as a team.

I hope your holidays are as happy and merry as ours. Thank you for giving us the gift of another successful year. Happy Holidays!

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