Tips for a happily (socially distanced) Christmas season

25 November 2020

It’s fair to say 2020’s been a year like no other…the pandemic’s affected the entire world, and it’s been the cause for many of us having to find different ways of working – remote working being at the top of the list (putting aside furlough, just for a moment).

It has however been responsible for bringing out the creative streak in all of us. Many of us have been thinking, just how do we help our businesses survive this Global Pandemic? How do we add to our service offering? How do we continue to thrive and push our businesses forward? The key to the answer for each and every business has been…our people!

There have been many creative ideas for keeping our employees engaged throughout the year (click here for some inspiration) and, as Christmas is now many peoples’ minds, HR teams may have already put their thinking caps on to come up with some festive ideas on how to recognise the hard work and dedication shown by their employees throughout a pretty tough year.

The annual Christmas party is, traditionally, the way in which most employers show their appreciation. It may have been a black-tie dinner dance, a casino night or some other sociable way to get together and celebrate the successes of the year. It usually involves dressing up in posh frocks, a bit of dancing maybe and, quite often, letting the ‘bubbly flow’. The excitement leading up to the Christmas party’s always felt throughout the office, discussions about what to wear and if hotels need to be booked, or transport arranged; who’s sharing a taxi with who, where you’re getting your hair/nails/make up done, and for the gents whether you’re getting that well needed trim beforehand. The excitement’s often unrivalled.

So, what happens this year? how do you recognise your workforce and show the gratitude you have towards them for riding out this storm of 2020, together?

Here’s a few tips you may want to consider…

There are many other ways to show your appreciation and the more creative of us will have a field day coming up with ideas;
  • The Zoom quiz nights from our living rooms (now standard for some), could be adapted to include a Christmas theme, including fancy dress, maybe with a prize of a holiday for the winner to look forward to when we emerge from the pandemic.
  • A Christmas karaoke, from the comfort of your teams’ own living rooms, with a drinks package delivered to their door, courtesy of the management team.
  • A hamper of wonderful food and treats may suit others.
  • There’s also corporate events organisers who specialise in themed Zoom parties, even hiring professional comedians or musicians to ‘crash’ online team meetings.
  • Invent your own online awards ceremony, with the challenges of the pandemic in mind e.g. Best dressed Zoom meeting team member, most disruptive pet or children and finally, the most embarrassing online meeting moment.

Whatever ‘floats your teams’ boats’ – the emphasis should be on fun and seasonal festivities, perhaps more so, this year than ever before.

There would usually be a budget, set at the beginning of the financial year for Christmas parties and this year will be no different for some, with potential cost savings to be had, as no venue can be booked. So even if there’s a reduced budget, why not spend it on your people, but in a more creative way? It’s also worth knowing that HMRC allow tax-free gifts of up to £50 per person, as long as the sentiment is ‘just because’ and it’s not performance related, and the gift can’t be exchanged for cash.

Statistically, January’s the time when many employees start to look for a new role, and this could include some of your very best people. Given this, it’s vital businesses keep their teams happy and their morale high, in the run up to the New Year – ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR, when individuals and teams are likely to feel more isolated due to remote working.

Don’t delay, or underestimate the importance of fun engagement with your people this year, it really will make a tangible difference. 

So, if you have any HR needs whatsoever in the run up to Christmas, or in the new year, our HR team are here to help and can be contacted on 01604 273782.


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” – William Arthur Ward