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Christmas - Socially Distanced

Hi All

We would usually be planning our Christmas party about now and we are not looking to try to hold one this year in the same way as previous years. Getting 100+ people for a meal and drinks is likely to be still against government guidelines and also would not be the right thing to do for so many reasons. 

Our first thoughts for alternatives are gift vouchers or hampers. I was interested to hear if there are any other companies with more creative ideas please? 

Thank you!  

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  • One of our clients have cancelled Christmas. They are a hotel.
    Social distancing is unlikely to work after a few drinks.
  • Hi Justine

    I was just talking to a colleague about this today!

    We had wondered about the (Scottish) government guidelines, and that even if they were lifted enough to allow for a gathering (usually around 250 to 300 people), our site is in a small town in the Scottish Borders and we were concerned about the reputational damage it could to do us as an employer in terms of being seen as 'reckless'.

    I like the idea of offering some sort of alternative - perhaps each manager could be given a budget to take their teams out (though I appreciate people with larger teams may still not be withing government guidance)?
  • We've got our 'Summer party' coming up which is a virtual cocktail making class - we've all been sent the equipment and ingredients and then will be doing the class online, with an opportunity to virtually socialise afterwards
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Absolutely agree!
  • In reply to Owen:

    We have talked about smaller gatherings too, but feel that as we have management across various locations (international company with 3 sites in the UK) some team members could be left out. And of course there could be stricter guidelines in local areas which would prohibit this for some rather than others as well.
  • In reply to Emily :

    I like that idea! Cocktail/Mocktail classes... I'd certainly enjoy that :)

    Might not be everyone's 1st choice though... Oh and our manufacturing plant don't have laptops so may be excluding these people if we had to ask them to use their personal devices.

    It's got me thinking though...
  • I agree, big Christmas parties are just not going to happen this year. There is a good chance with winter flu season, we'll be seeing a lot more local lockdowns by then.

    My husband's employer has a budget for socialising and other wellbeing treats in the office (e.g. weekly fruit deliveries) that had not been touched during lockdown with everyone working from home. Their HR department recently arranged for everyone to be delivered a hamper, which went down really well. Although I must admit I don't think it was especially good value for money for what you got (the value of the food would have been significantly less than the actual cost to the business) the sentiment was lovely and everyone liked the surprise. Managers had the option to choose the most appropriate hamper for their staff members so if they knew someone didn't drink booze or was vegetarian they would get suitable items. They also gave everyone a M&S voucher recently as an alternative to their usual summer social. We really appreciated this and used it to buy some nice treats we wouldn't normally buy.

    My old team was largely remote and also public sector so we had no budget for Christmas parties anyway, so we ended up organising virtual Christmas gatherings pre-lockdown. We did virtual carol singing and karaoke one year which was quite fun although a little tricky with the tech at times. We all bought our own Christmas food and drink and just spent some time together on a google call wearing our Christmas jumpers during a Friday afternoon before Christmas. It was nice to step away from operational work for a bit and just relax.
  • In reply to Lesley:

    Thanks Lesley, it is good to know that the vouchers and hampers were appreciated.
    Of course Christmas Jumpers can still be done virtually, great idea.
    An online karaoke sounds like madness, I would like to suggest that for some of the teams - I'm sure would be a lot of fun!!
  • In reply to Justine MacArthur:

    I really wouldn't be surprised if businesses pop up offering these sort of features before Christmas too. "We'll run your office Christmas party on zoom and provide a range of entertaining activities with props, food and supplies sent direct to your employee's homes". If it isn't happening - it should!

    We've already seen the escape room industry moving towards online escape rooms, which I know have been quite popular with people during lockdown. Perhaps might be another option for small team events?

    The events industry, particularly the hen and stag party companies have really had to up their game and think of suitable alternatives for big social gatherings, so I expect there will be Christmas-focussed offerings in due course.
  • We have taken the decision not to have an all staff Christmas party or dinner this year but will be encouraging small teams to meet if appropriate. We are all WFH until 2021 anyway so won't see eachother. We are planning an informal Christmas Jumper coffee break in mid December as we hold a Christmas jumper day for charity each year anyway. One member of staff also suggested holding a taster evening where each member of staff purchases a tasting kit of their choice (could be whisky, gin, wine etc.) and have a virtual taster evening with anyone who wants to join in. Ad a public sector organisation its not something that our company will fund but tasting kits can be bought online for around £20