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Ditch the Holiday Party

Ah yes, the time honored tradition of the holiday party.  Formerly known as the Christmas party until the damn PC police made us change the name! If you work at a company which hosts a Holiday party, the event itself can vary- sometimes it’s a formal event with a band, other times it’s an informal event at a restaurant.

My problem is not with the event itself, I love a good party! But I hate the timing.

Now I know we are supposed to be strategic and get our seat at the table and we can’t do that if we are planning parties, but I also know there is some direct HR influence on event planning, especially in small to medium sized organizations.

If you are one of those HR people who has nothing to do with party planning, turn away from this post now.  For the rest of you I have a modest proposal:

Move the party to another month.  

Timing: Depending on where you live,  the American workforce is actually pretty diverse.  In the month of December the following major religious holidays are celebrated:

December 6 – The Feast of Saint Nicholas

December 8 – Bodhi Day – celebration of the Buddha’s enlightenment; Also the feast of the Immaculate Conception (celebrated by Roman Catholics)

December 12 – The Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated by Roman Catholics

December 22 – Yule or Winter Solstice, celebrated by Wiccans

December 24 – Hanukkah begins

December 25 – Christmas day

December 26 – Starting date of Kwanza – a week long celebration of African-American culture

*Keep in mind that some years Yom Kippur (Judaism) and Ashura (Sunni Islam) occur in the first week of December 

Depending on the year, the month of December can be brutal! Not only is your company dealing with all the end of year stuff, like closing out the books, people also have a very limited amount of free weekends/weeknights.

Now I know you’ve always had the party in December; it’s  a tradition.  And it’s tough to break tradition.

But remember the reasons why you throw this holiday party:

  1. Camaraderie – You work with these people every day for 8+ hours a day. It’s good to kick back and relax.
  2. Celebration- You either had a successful year or you survived a rough year.  All good reasons to throw a party!
  3. Appreciation – Everyone would like a drink on the company, a good meal and some laughs.

Good news: those are all things you can celebrate in the other 11 months of the year! How about throwing a party in January? Or February? In the mid west those are the most depressing times of the year, a party would be  a nice break from the snow and slush.

What do you think? Will you join me on my quest to move the Holiday Party? We can celebrate our successes any time of the year, stop believing it has to be December! 

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