Don’t be a Scrooge like boss this Christmas.

The Guardian in the UK today (Sept 21st 2009) reported that ex-MP Michael Heseltine’s publishing company Haymarket have cancelled their annual staff Christmas party in a cost cutting move.

I would argue that failing to mark the festive season by holding some sort of event for staff is actually an expensive mistake.  In these difficult economic times when staff may be cutting back on little treats like eating out and scaling back their own celebrations, a goodwill gesture for all of their hard work goes a long way.

If you’re tempted to cancel a Christmas party for your staff or may be a club or Church you run, think again.   It’s not usually the venue, the food or the wine which makes the occasion but rather the people.  So the secret is to find an alternative way to get people together.   Isn’t it better to scale down the event rather than not have one at all?  Why not do something completely different this year so that this Christmas can’t be directly compared with previous years.   For example why not take your staff out for lunch on Christmas Eve and then let them leave early?  I’ve always thought this is a nice way to finish for the Christmas break.   I heard of another company who booked a whole fish and chip restaurant at the seaside and took all their staff for a fish and chip dinner followed by a quiz night.  Doing something so different for a Christmas get together, acknowledges the difficult times we’re all going through.  It also creates the sense in the team that we’re all pulling together and doing our bit to get through these difficult times.

So in summary before you cause a lot of bad feeling and cancel a Christmas event, think carefully if you can turn the problem on its head and do something different this year that will be remembered for years to come.

Assuming you do intend to arrange a function for this Christmas, there’s really no time to waste now and you need to be booking a venue and agreeing numbers.

I’d be fascinated to hear from you if you’ve got any great alternative ways of getting a group together at Christmas without spending a fortune.

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