HR Holiday Party Tips to Stay off the Naughty List in 2020

HR Holiday Party Tips


The holiday season offers a cornucopia of reasons to celebrate. But even leaders and HR professionals with the most joyful of intentions can make mistakes when it comes to throwing a holiday party in 2020. Here are HR holiday party tips for ensuring your holiday celebration stays off the naughty list.

Enjoy these HR holiday party do’s and dont’s and also check out our blog on Everything you need to know about Holiday Bonuses as well as Simple and Creative Ways to Show Gratitude to your Employees.


Make inclusivity and team building the goal.

Often times, a “holiday party”, can simply come off as a disguised Christmas party – especially if your office celebrates with a decorated tree with gifts underneath. 

This doesn’t mean throw away your tree. After all, Christmas is a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon, as well as a religious holiday. It DOES mean that any celebrations must take an inclusive approach that recognizes all employees from any variety of faiths, backgrounds, and spiritualities. 

Here’s how to keep your celebration inclusive:

  • Choose decorations mindfully and consider adding educational cards to explain traditions.
  • Show equal representation, or adding celebrations, for other holidays like Hanukka (December 10-December 18), Kwanzaa (December 26), and the Lunar New Year (begins on the New Moon between January 21st and February 20th).
  • Include an inclusive variety of food if celebrating safely in person

It is a strength to have employees from a variety of backgrounds, faiths, and traditions. We must be compassionate towards this and recognize that people celebrate special days at different times. Which brings us to our next point. . .

Make it voluntary.

If you’re hosting a holiday party this year, don’t make it mandatory. Some people, especially considering COVID, or for personal reasons will not feel comfortable attending. Make it clear that attendance is optional and remain deeply supportive of all employees regardless of their decision.

Throw a fun virtual holiday party!

This HR holiday party tip is a must. If large segments of your employees are working from home, consider throwing a virtual holiday party.

Here are some fun virtual holiday party activities:

 1. Hold an Ugly Sweater Contest with a prize!
     HR Holiday Party Tips - Ugly Sweater Star Staffing


2. Hold a Gingerbread Mouse Making Contest – Send a gingerbread house kit to each employee.

HR Holiday Party Tips - Gingerbread house Star Staffing


3. Play virtual holiday Bingo

HR Holiday Party Tips - Holiday Bingo Star Staffing

4. Choose a Winter Party Cocktail – Make sure to have a mocktail option too!

HR Holiday Party Tips Star Staffing - Gingerbread Eggnog


Provide an inclusive variety of food.

If you’re opting for a safe, optional, in-person party, offer a wide variety of food, including vegetarian or gluten-free. Consider polling your employees for their food preferences so you ensure your holiday snacks can be inclusive for everyone. Consider adding a food subsidy for employees you may not be able to accommodate. 

Here is a quick multiple-choice poll you can send to employees and keep track of for future use:

What is your food preference?

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-Free 
  • Dairy-Free
  • Other: ____________________________

Survey Monkey offers easy, free surveys (and survey results) so you can poll your employees.

Re-share your Code of Conduct and get managers on board.

Even at virtual holiday celebrations, if alcohol is the mix it can open the door for inappropriate behavior. Remind employees in advance that although this is indeed a joyful celebration, they are still at work. 

Rally managers to get them on board and champion this to their team, cementing this idea to connect with teammates in a healthy and supportive way.


Don’t make it about business.

This party should be about team building, gratitude, and rewarding hard work during a very challenging year. A short, warm-hearted speech from a leader is welcome. A deep dive into OKRs or revenue numbers is not.

Keep the focus on your employees and create a team-building, inclusive celebration.

Send holiday gift boxes to employees.

Include a personalized coffee mug, your company’s branded socks or hoodie, an influential life and business book, a family board game, and (of course) some sweet treats!


HR Holiday Party Tips Takeaway

This is about celebrating and recognizing your employees and their efforts. We’re in a year like no other and your employees continue to work through a pandemic for you. This holiday season, be extra mindful about being inclusive, keeping employees safe, and having a warm and connecting holiday celebration.

Share your own HR holiday party tips in the comments!


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Everything You Need to Know About Holiday Bonuses

Simple and Creative Ways to Show Gratitude to Your Employees