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Virtual parties can make holidays merry and bright

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With state and local restrictions on the size of indoor gatherings and people still working from home, many businesses won’t be holding traditional holiday parties this month. That doesn’t mean that your office should call it quits and start thinking about December 2021. You can still recreate holiday magic by planning a socially distanced get-together that enables employees to enjoy a little cheer.

Here are a few things to consider when planning a holiday party in 2020:

Hold it virtually (naturally)

Many of us are already meeting by Zoom, Teams or another virtual platform. Use that same system to host your holiday party. Your business’ owner or manager can start the proceedings with a thank-you message to employees, then turn the stage over to other activities, like maybe a comedian or karaoke. My husband’s office recently used Jackbox for games to play during a lunchtime staff meeting. Just make sure you put someone reliable (and patient) in charge of planning everything.

Do it during the workday

One of the main reasons why people don’t attend their office parties is because they have things to do at home at the end of the day. The easy way to beat that and ensure attendance is by holding the event during the workday. Block off a couple hours on a Friday afternoon and let employees check out for the day afterward if your business can allow it.

Support a local restaurant (or two)

The holidays will be particularly tough on the food-service industry. According to rallyforrestaurants.com, restaurant revenue was down 81.7 percent nationally on Thanksgiving this year. With holiday party bookings non-existent, this will not be a profitable December for restaurants. If your office usually holds a party at a restaurant, you can still help that business by purchasing gift cards that employees can use to buy food for the get-together.

Don’t forget the gifts

Businesses that hand out holiday gifts or door prizes can do so for a virtual party. If you give office gifts, have the boss go to people’s homes and leave them on front doorsteps. If the gifts are unique to recipients, have everyone open them at the party. It would be like an early visit from jolly St. Nick.

Remember the reason for the season

Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to end the week after Thanksgiving. If your budget allows, make a gift to your local food bank or homeless shelter in your company’s name. Feeding America projects that more than 50 million Americans are facing hunger this year. People who are largely unaffected financially by the pandemic will be happy to know that their workplace is supporting the less fortunate in their communities.

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