how to spread holiday cheer at work — without spiking the punch

Are you an influence for good at your workplace? Or are you often a negative force?

At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I talk about five things you can do to spread joy at work this month, like spreading “good gossip,” helping someone when you don’t have to, and more. You can read it here.

(Hat tip to commenter Lily in NYC for the concept of “good gossip,” which I love.)

{ 16 comments… read them below }

  1. Snarkus Ariellius*

    I would add one other thing, and it’s just a coincidence that this coincides with today’s advice seeker.

    If you encounter someone who isn’t into the holidays, doesn’t want to attend the holiday party, doesn’t want to do the optional-but-not-really-optional Secret Santa/white elephant/whatever, doesn’t want to decorate, etc., then please leave that person be and don’t ask questions or push.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the receiving end of, “I totally get that you don’t want to participate, and I’m not prying or anything because you can totally do what you want but can you just [rephrase of original request] just this once?”  (Bonus if that question is asked EVERY year.)

    I’m not a total Grinch, but as I get older, I’ve come to be more cognizant of how people feel about the holidays at work.  I try to respect everyone, but the people who are DIEHARD Xmas fans still bug me.

    1. long time reader first time poster*

      And for heaven’s sake, if you have a colleague that doesn’t drink, don’t grill him/her about it! I watched a coworker deftly fend off about a million questions from a less-than-thoughtful colleague about his plans for St. Patrick’s Day this year. It was like the guy couldn’t *comprehend* that his coworker might not enjoy or tolerate alcohol. “What are you going to drink when we go out? A coke? Water? Soda? Will you get a lime in it? Why not just have one? Did you drive today? Or take the train? Maybe just a beer? How about a light beer?” and on and on and on… so cringey.

      1. Anon for this*

        My coworkers are not nearly this bad but some of them do harass me about not drinking. Then they tell me that I will inevitably “give in just like the others” who they say they “pushed and pushed” until they “had just one”. My boss says “Well, Jane was just like you, until I finally pushed her into drinking just one beer.” They have a huge drinking culture. While I do not consume alcohol primarily for religious reasons, it’s also not safe for me to drink due to my personal history and tendencies. TBH, I wouldn’t drink even if I were of a different faith or no faith. I don’t want to be pushed into it — it wouldn’t be “good for me” like they say. I’m not easily coerced, but I still don’t need the pressure. Some days it’s hard enough just keeping myself in check. They wouldn’t push a recovering alcoholic to drink — at least I hope not! My situation is almost as critical. I’m genuinely worried that someone will eventually spike my drink. What do I do to prevent this?

        1. Constress*

          Drink only that which you have opened or poured yourself, and never leave it unattended. If you do, toss it and pour another into a clean glass.

          1. Al*

            I remember being at a party, putting my glass of red wine down – though it remained in my line of sight. A random dude picked it right up, and chugged the rest. I was dumbfounded…even though I was drunk myself. (!)

    2. Felicia*

      Yes this! Forcing this kind of thing on people is not fun, and there is a certain subset of diehard Xmas fans that don’t respect a polite “no thank you”

  2. Alma*

    Lily in NYC, thank you. It is wonderful gift to hear something good about yourself, and know others have heard it, too.

    I encourage everyone to remember the gift of a handwritten letter or note. It is permanent in the way electronic communication cannot be. It is something to put aside and save. Last year I was on a zero budget plan, and wrote personal notes to everyone (especially those around the gift giving table) telling them what a gift their love and friendship – in the workplace this might be thoughtfulness and vision – has meant to me. As they were read, I had the pleasure of seeing each person smile, make eye contact with me, and tuck the card away.

    Time is a precious gift. A handwritten note is very unique. No one else can give the gift of words you are able to share.

    Another idea? I bring in the bags of deluxe coffee people give me (I don’t brew coffee, rather I make espresso at home and have a preference for Cuban coffee) and leave them in the break room so everyone gets to enjoy top notch coffee.

  3. pajh*

    Hiding in the back office reading this while avoiding my own staff party that I organized. Everyone is having a good time (apparently) and they’re mostly running it themselves. I love my staff.

  4. Sadsack*

    How about doing all of the above to spread holiday cheer without wearing jingle bells to the office. I used to work with a woman who wore a little bell on her person for the entire month of December. It jingled when she walked, moved slightly, or even blinked hard. I found it distracting and annoying. Any comments to her about it were met with criticism that the complainant wasn’t cheerful enough. No, attention-seeker, we are at work and your bell is annoying, not cheerful.

    I heard a lady in the bathroom at work today jingling, and I thought oh god not again…

  5. Dr. Doll*

    Oh lord, now I feel really bad for being WAY WAY grumpy this morning even if it was justified. At least it was behind a closed door, but based on the compassionate look my kind student assistant gave me when he left, the frustration leaked out.

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