This Year, Really Start Something at Your Holiday Party. Really.


If you want to start something at your company or organization’s holiday party – the time to start planning is now. All the gift giving to clients, fellow employees, partners… it really can start something. Impact. Long term impact. Here’s how:

Use the expense of the holiday party – and the associated employee gifts, client gifts, partner gifts, decorations, etc. to really start something that can mainstream into your corporate culture and lift it up. I am talking about being conscious consumers. Making purchases with intention. 

It’s early yet to talk about numbers for 2019, but a survey about holiday parties done last year showed that spending on these highly talked-about events keeps on rising, and the importance of making the parties count goes up and up as well. 93 percent of senior managers said their company will be hosting year-end festivities. Of those who noted holiday activities are taking place, respondents identified off-site and on-site parties (48 percent each) and office decorations (45 percent) as the most common plans.

And it keeps on giving. Apparently, More than half of workers (58 percent) hand out year-end presents in the office; half of those employees provide gifts to colleagues, and 35 percent give one to their boss. The research suggests professionals are eager to take on the role of Santa’s helper: 84 percent of workers who give out holiday presents do so because they want to, not because they feel obligated.

You can suggest to the powers that be in your company or organization that you develop an impact blueprint for the party and the gift-giving that you do this year in your workplace.

Donating to charity is great. But that is not what I mean. I am talking about how you spend money on the things you need to pull off the party and to say thank you to each other and your clients. I am talking about developing a blueprint – a real plan that turns the entire enterprise of the holiday season at your workplace into an engine of supporting core messages that matter to your business.

If you are in the travel space – it means different points of emphasis than if you are in commercial real estate. Hospitality will be different than tech. Be conscious and be intentional. Think of the following as opportunities to take action: 

– Venue

– Food

– Beverages

– Decorations

– Design

– Favors

– Entertainment

– Photography

– Video

– Sound/DJ

– Photo-Booth

– Transportation 

– Client Gifts

– Gift Wrap

Times have changed and your thinking has too. It is time to make a plan for having an impact that elevates not just your brand but your whole culture. Do something emblematic of what your business is all about. Focus on inclusion of small and local businesses, businesses led by women and entrepreneurs of color, brands associated with excelling at sustainability or those prioritizing impact on climate change….on and on.

At Emblem Strategic we are working with companies and organizations doing every one of these kinds of things year-round right now to change their culture. Thank you gifts and holiday parties are as good an entry point as any for your workplace.

The ball is in your court – or at least the opportunity is in your court to re-frame the office party and holiday gift program. Be the one at your place of work who alerts the right people and let’s get on a call to talk about it. Let’s get something started.

Andy Tarsy is Principal and Founder of Emblem Strategic LLC. Emblem helps clients create and execute on a strategy for putting impact at the center of their growth plans. 

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