what’s your company doing for the holidays this year?

What’s your company doing about the holidays this year? Last year, many employers simply canceled holiday celebrations because of the pandemic, while others devised creative ways to celebrate — like virtual cocktail tastings and drive-in movies. This year, some parties seem back on, while others aren’t. What’s your office planning for this year?

{ 591 comments… read them below }

    1. JelloStapler*

      Same here actually, or at least it’s at a bowling place.

      Small team has a party, department has a party for the whole campus…

      1. zolk*

        Also bowling, also for a uni. I’m not going. Stick my fingers in some grimy germ holes during a pandemic? NO.

          1. By Golly*

            Our team has done bowling in the past. This year I started our “what to do for the holiday party” conversation with “I’m not doing that.”

        1. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

          Same here. Team at my MegaCorp decided on fancy indoor bowling with food/drinks so of course no one will wear masks. I am skipping.

          1. quill*

            My worst company holiday party ever was at a bowling alley. Twisted my ankle on the first throw and was bullied into finishing the game. Then I had to drive 50 minutes home.

            This was many years pre-pandemic, I don’t even want to know how that boss has handled this.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        My girls love to bowl. The alley we go to is family owned and taking safety super seriously. You get both your shoes and the ball from the counter – and both are being sanitized between users. They’re actually enforcing masks too. And only renting every other lane so that there is space between groups as well. Is it perfect – no, but there’s honest hard trying to do everything they can.

        1. Artemesia*

          yeah touching the grimy ball is no real issue. You can wash your hands, use hand sanitizer etc. We should all have learned not to touch our faces now without washing. Any indoor event where drinking, hence unmasking will occur is risky at this precise moment while we sort out Omicron and Delta.

    2. KaciHall*

      Parties at bowling alleys are definitely up this year. My husband manages an alley; I would never use the house balls without sanitizing the finger holes first. At least the shoes get lysoled between every customer. During quarantine (and for a the first several months back) they cleaned everything. It was disgusting. They are back to not cleaning the balls again, and from his network I gather most other alleys aren’t, either.

      Tl;dr: bring lysol wipes and a pencil with you if you go to a bowling party. With a mask on bowling is still fun :)

    3. Ellen*

      We’re a globally distributed team anyway, so like last year we’re having a virtual party. Everyone was asked to bake a holiday treat and decorate it, and then we’ll show them off during the party (kind of a Gingerbread House decorating contest, but with looser requirements). We’re also planning a game of holiday themed “Two Lies and a Truth”. I don’t bake so that part of the plan seems a bit intimidating, but I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!

      1. Lady Danbury*

        Cookie decorating is probably the easiest option. You can get slice and bake type cookies and squeeze bottles of icing, along with sprinkles, decorating sugar, etc. Have fun!

        1. Artemesia*

          And they have pre-made gingerbread houses you can decorate and it is fun — I did them with my grandchildren on zoom last year — bought everyone a house and I did mine and they did theirs at home. Tomorrow I am decorating gingerbread trains with them; taking the littlest on the Polar Express tonight.

          You can decorate the pre-made house and then use it as a centerpiece for Christmas.

      2. Rockette J Squirrel*

        Tell them you are “Christmas Home Goods Depot”:

        Decorate the “landscaping” – you can build Christmas trees out of Reese’s, Mini Reese’s, and chocolate kisses. Use canned frosting for “glue” and to dab on like snow. Add sprinkles. They’re really cute! (Look on Pinterest for photos.)

        Another super easy idea: melt white almond bark. Spread on parchment paper, and sprinkle crushed candy canes, holiday M&M’s, holiday chocolate chips (the red and green ones), whatever you like, then sprinkles. Use a light hand with each. (It looks so cute and you can use cello treat bags tied with ribbon after the contest.) Tell the contest it’s “flooring” and/or “stone pathways”.

    4. BookMom*

      Oh goodness. Flashbacks to OldJob where half the staff had quit in protest over some terrible behavior by the ED, who then forced those remaining to go bowling together. Of course it was half an hour away from the office in the direction of *his* home. He bought a couple pitchers of cheap beer and thought we’d all hang out and have fun. I bowled exactly ten frames as quickly as possible and high tailed it out of there. “Gotta cross the bridge during rush hour…better head out…”

    5. epithemeus*

      My office isn’t doing anything because I’m the only employee. Hubby’s office did an in person “potluck” last weekend. The GM pressured everyone to do a secret santa exchange plus fill all employees stockings plus contribute $15 each for a separate gift for the owner and his wife (beyond the secret santa that they participated in).

      It was…awkward. The owner didn’t bother to come. The GM and two other employees showed up stumbling drunk. The GM pressed a couple of employees into doing work off the clock and kept screaming for my husband while he was standing two feet away. She complained the whole time about how awful everyone is. The boss’s wife was visibly uncomfortable with the gifts and tried desperately to refuse them until the GM had a sloppy drunken breakdown at her. All while hotel guests wandered in and out and a member of staff repeatedly threatened to stab another member in the eye with a high heel over a secret santa gift.

      Now the owner is threatening to withhold Christmas bonuses because all the employees are lazy and useless.

    6. allathian*

      Ugh. I can’t do bowling, at all. I’m so badly coordinated that the most complex series of movements I can easily manage are riding a bike and cross-country skiing, and even there the free technique is beyond me. Tai chi is my favorite form of exercise/meditation, but even then, I don’t expect my forms to look great, and there’s no way I’d do it on camera, so it’s been almost 2 years since my last class.

      There’s no way I could manage the bowling glide. Making myself look foolish in my coworkers’ eyes by failing miserably at any kind of physical exercise is very, very low on my priority list. Thankfully any of the events involving physical exercise that my employer’s organized in the past are strictly opt-in, and managers at my organization are explicitly forbidden from considering attendance at optional opt-in events during evaluations. Sure, there’s a benefit to getting to know your coworkers under less formal circumstances, but that only works if all participants actually enjoy the event.

      1. Thursdaysgeek*

        I always proudly claim that I can bowl my age (a good claim in golf, not so much in bowling). Although, as I get older, that claim may no longer be true.

  1. DeepAnon*

    Gave us the last week of the year off in addition to our usual PTO and sent us each a $100 gift card through a system that lets us choose what business the gift card is for.

    I’ll take it!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      oo, can you share what system that is? I have a friend who was racking her brain for gift card options for a widespread remote team.

        1. pancakes*

          I’m not sure about how they work in the US but I’ve seen a couple people here complain about the difficulty of using the full value, and a Canadian court found Visa was seizing unused funds on gift cards before the expiration date. They paid a $17 million settlement for that.

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          That’s a last ditch plan if nothing else comes up, but the activation fees the Visa gift cards charge cut into my friend’s budget and therefore reduce the amount they’re able to pass on to their employees, so a way to avoid that would be preferable.

          (Used the wrong pronoun in my original comment, correcting myself. Apologies.)

      1. DeepAnon*


        There is an option to get this put on a Visa card as well, but I noticed there’s a rule against “split payments” if you do that, so I would have had to buy something that cost exactly $100 or left some of the money on the table.

    2. Jenn*

      The music production company we deal with, sent out a gift email last year with a link to Snappygifts.com. You have like 12 gift options to choose from (I think the gift giver chooses the price range) and Snappy Gifts will mail the item right to your house. I thought it was a really cool idea.

    3. allathian*

      Gift cards count as taxable income, if they can be used for anything rather than a specific item. It’d be a bummer to have to pay tax on a gift card, and not be able to use the whole amount on the card because of stupid split payment rules.

  2. a thought*

    My office postponed the normal holiday gathering (which is normally a 1-day off-site is part work/part celebration) in hopes that an in-person gathering will be safer early 2022. We will see if it happens!

    1. Certaintroublemaker*

      Same—we’re just waiting for the actual date to be settled for spring. (In a place with plenty of outdoor area.) In the meantime, there are online quizzes, zoom Pictionary, zoom White Elephant exchange, etc.

    2. Hazel*

      I started at my company in Summer 2020, so I don’t know what they usually do, but I haven’t heard about anything yet, so I assume nothing is planned. We are getting three more days off than usual after New Year’s Day, and that will be nice!

    3. Canadian Yankee*

      We’re postponing as well, with the added twist that we have a gigantic project scheduled for mid-February, so we’ll want to celebrate the (hopefully successful!) completion of that project.

  3. OrigCassandra*

    … looks like nothing.

    Which is probably not as bad as it sounds. We’re all pretty zonked, honestly.

    1. Butterfly Counter*

      Same. In years past, we’ve done a luncheon and a pot luck, but no plans for any of that this year. Which I like. I’m tired and busy.

    2. michelenyc*

      We are actually having our holiday party tonite at a winery. 98% of our company is vaccinated and everyone adheres to wearing their mask all of the time. Most of us are super excited and their are only a few people not attending. We are a small company of about 50.

    3. Grace Poole*

      We’re doing nothing as well. On the one hand, probably no one was up for an in-person, distanced cocktail party or an awkward zoom hangout, but on the other, there’s some grumbling that administration should have done *something*. It’s been a crap year, and there’s a budget for a party–they could spend some money on something beyond an insincere “we appreciate your hard work” email.

    4. Generic Name*

      My company normally doesn’t do a end-of-year party either. Our annual party tends to be in the summer, in non-COVID times. Last year we all got goodie boxes with office snacks (since we were all working from home and weren’t getting office snacks) and had a group Teams meeting. I haven’t heard of any virtual meeting happening this year, though. I’m not sad about it.

    5. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Same. My team is in 2 different states and they asked if we wanted to do something virtual. Resounding vote “No” so they are just quietly cutting everyone who isn’t on-call loose on 12/24. We are primarily publicly funded, so it is pretty much the only thing they can do (and even that could be an issue if you had a really strict auditor)

    6. houseplant champion*

      Yeah. I think I’ll probably get a $25 gift card for GrubHub or something and that’ll be it. If that.

      It’s better than a mandatory party.

      1. houseplant champion*

        What do you know… the minute I posted this they announced that’s exactly what they’re doing.

    7. it_guy*

      Same here……
      Normally: We have a rubber chicken dinner and a brief speech by the president telling us how wonderful the company is.

      Last year: Nothing
      This year: Same.

        1. Helenteds*

          Correct me if I am wrong, but I think it implies a slightly fancy dinner with not very good food, specifically rubbery chicken.

          1. UKDancer*

            That’s it. It’s the sort of dinner you get for a large group of people at an event. The main course is usually a not very imaginative take on chicken cooked to the degree it tastes like rubber and served with equally overdone veg.

    8. Lucy P*

      All of these “nothing and glad about it” comments make me feel a little less like the Grinch that I thought I was. Thanks.

    9. I could never get the hang of Thursdays*

      I heard last week they’re still discussing options. So probably nothing! Which sounds fine.

  4. Web Crawler*

    Apparently we’re doing an outdoor lunch with food provided, but bring your own chair. People who bring a white elephant gift will do a white elephant.

    It’s supposed to be 70F and sunny, so unless that changes, it should be comfortable.

  5. Lunchtime Doubly So*

    My company had scheduled small team dinners, but these were canceled as of 2 weeks ago when Omicron started popping up on everyone’s radar. So nothing. And that’s fine.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      We’re, so far, still doing small team dinners. But they’re not required and everyone is being very open about discussing how comfortable they feel. So they may get canceled. Seems like SO many folks have colds (all tested negative for covid) and that may just kill the dinners.

    2. Alex*

      We’re doing small vaccinated team dinner and then a site wide (~600 people) holiday party for the vaccinated with catering in the lunchroom. No plus ones allowed, no alcohol either this year. It could be worse, but I’m sticking to the team dinner only.

    3. Anonys*

      This was what we had planned and likewise team dinners were cancelled along with office closing fully again.

      We are however, at least in hour team, still doing a virtual gathering and playing one of those digital escape room games. Our team gets along great so I’m actually looking forward to it and think it’s much better than doing nothing – but also fully understand that workplace christmas activities, especially virtually can be awkward and not for everyone.

  6. Kevin*

    Outdoor ice skating, outdoor lunch on a heated patio. (We’re in DC, so it might be cold but likely not frigid.)

      1. Kevin*

        I’m feeling slightly fussy because we’ve been asked to attend the first portion even if we’re not skating and it’s unclear what non-skaters are supposed to be doing for that 2-3 hour(!) period. I’m hoping hot beverages will be provided.

          1. pancakes*

            Yeah. I’d be down for ice skating but not for three hours! I think a lot of places that have outdoor skating are also in parks where there are botanic gardens & whatnot nearby, though, so hopefully there are other things to do.

          2. Jen in Oregon*

            Agreed–one to two hours would be better. Two hours is pushing it, but three is going to be too much for many people. Hopefully there’s early access to the heated patio and warm drinks will be offered, and if so this is my ideal holiday gathering!

    1. anonymous73*

      I saw recently that it’s suppose to warm up between now and Christmas (I’m in MD) so you may actually have nice weather.

    2. TotesMaGoats*

      It’s supposed to be 70 this weekend. Headed to Williamsburg from MD for my and my son’s birthday. Was a bit worried that we could only get outdoor dinner reservations and planned to bring blankets. Not a problem anymore!

      1. allathian*

        I haven’t skated in years, and with my current weight, I’m not sure I could get up again if I fell.

        That said I went to a small middle school (about 300 students) that shared a campus with a high school (about 150 students), we had a winter sports day, and the options were skating or skiing. For some reason I can’t remember now I picked skating, and a guy who was a senior in high school at the time, and later became an Olympic-level ice dancer, opted to skate with most of the girls in turn, including me. That was the fastest I’ve ever gone across the ice, and it was an exhilarating experience that I still remember today, more than 35 years later.

        1. Re'lar Fela*

          That’s so fun!!! I competed in dance for a bit and, even at my more junior level, it felt like flying when I had my partner’s momentum added to my own. I also question my ability to get back up at my current weight, but it’s amazing how quickly the muscle memory returns (knock on wood, I haven’t fallen in years–but I mostly skate for pleasure these days, so not much risk of falling there)

  7. MissMaple*

    All of a sudden, just this week, I’ve gotten 3 invitations to virtual parties. I guess everyone forgot it was the end of the year, then panicked.

  8. DataGirl*

    I work for a hospital, not only are all official celebrations not happening, we are actively being encouraged NOT to gather with anyone.

      1. DataGirl*

        Thank you, I’m just in administration so I don’t treat patients, but I do my best to support our doctors, nurses, and all the support staff who do so much to keep things going. They are heroes.

        1. SansaStark*

          What you do is VITALLY important to the patient-facing staff. Supporting heroes is heroic work, too. Thank you.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I’m back office – we’re doing a Secret Santa only. And optional cube decorating.

          There was going to be a pot luck (by teams) and cookie exchange (whole department), but Omnicron and an uptick in Delta canceled this part.

        3. Aitch Arr*

          I used to work in HR at a large healthcare system. Our CIO used to say: “there are two kinds of people who work at $HEALTHCARE_SYSTEM: those who support patients and those who support people who support patients.”

          The latter are still vitally important.

          Happy Holidays and thank you.

    1. Party hesitant*

      I work in a hospital too and all official celebrations are banned but my physician boss is holding an in-person dinner party anyway. We’re all vaccinated, but I really wish he’d follow official policies here! I know he means well and just wants us to enjoy ourselves but I am not comfortable with the plan but also not in a position to decline the invitation.

    2. Not So Merry and Bright*

      I commented way down below as well, but I also work in a hospital, where we currently have 38 COVID positive patients, and we are….having a potluck. For an 80 person department. In the hospital.

      I took PTO that day.

      We also have a brand new CIO (this potluck was his genius idea) who seems hell bent on making a name for himself and has implemented several other ridiculous policies.

  9. Legal Rugby*

    Can we all look at the covid outbreak happening at one of the biggest legal firms in the country, despite requiring the vaccine for all employees? Parties are still bad at this point.

    1. Blomma*

      Yeah, my employer is having a holiday gathering today. No idea what the requirements for vaccinations or testing are. I’m one of only a handful of people not going. I hope they don’t all get sick. It seems like a terrible idea!

    2. Sandi*

      I think socially-distanced outdoors and with masks in smaller groups is still reasonable, as it has always been. Not everyone parties indoors without masks, thankfully!

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Probably wouldn’t be great for my location (North-Northeast US). Partying outdoors with my coworkers in 30-degree weather, dark, and that especially nasty kind of rain/snow/sleet they call a “wintry mix” seems like a new circle of hell to me. We are full remote and spread out all over the country (with offshore teams working on the other side of the world, as well). No parties here at all, which I am perfectly fine with!

        1. Sandi*

          It’s well below freezing here as 30F is balmy, and we often get snow, freezing rain, and other miserable weather so that’s why we like heated patios. I think that might be more of a European thing? The key is also to meet at about 2pm which is peak warmth.

    3. Not A Girl Boss.*

      We had a supplier who requires vaccination have an outbreak with over half the company out. After that our vaccination-required company cancelled the annual potluck and re-instituted masking.

    4. cold feet*

      What firm is this? Not American, but a lawyer in another country, and I am interested in looking it up.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I would love that so much. Unless it has to come out of everyone’s PTO bank, of course. Hope not!

  10. Cj*

    We were supposed to have a dinner at a restaurant tomorrow night. 7 of us, one unvacinnated. Snowstorm coming, so we are doing a potluck for lunch tomorrow instead.

    1. pancakes*

      Planning something that involves inviting an unvaccinated person to a restaurant is pretty inconsiderate of restaurant workers. The fact that your area apparently allows unvaccinated people into restaurants doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or a decent way to behave.

      1. DataGirl*

        People who don’t care enough about their fellow humans to get vaccinated, certainly aren’t going to care about infecting restaurant workers. In fact my guess is the Venn diagram of people who are unvaccinated and people who think food service/retail workers are sub-human is close to being a circle.

        1. Re'lar Fela*


          (with the obvious exception of those who are unable to be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons, buuuuuut I’m guessing the Venn diagram of legit unvaccinated people and people who are not currently dining out is also pretty close to a circle)

        2. OhNo*

          To be fair, we don’t know that Cj’s coworker is unvaccinated by choice… But if they’re willing to go out to a restaurant while unvaxxed, with all the exposure risk that entails, it certainly seems likely.

          1. Cj*

            They are unvacinnated by choice got covid in September. They were quite sick. Their vaccinnated wife, who is the owner of the business, also got sick, but not as bad.

            I agree with what everybody is saying, but since this is only my second week at this job, I don’t have much influence on anything.

            1. pancakes*

              I don’t agree that people’s only choices in this sort of scenario are “be certain that you can in fact influence the person to change their mind and then do it” or “pretend nothing is amiss.” Simply refusing an invitation to dinner with someone who is definitely not vaccinated, for example, seems like a good choice to me, even if you don’t feel comfortable being direct about the reason why.

              1. KoiFeeder*

                At two weeks into the job, there’s a serious chance that it’s simply not safe for CJ to apply any real pushback to dining with an unvaccinated colleague, especially when that colleague is the owner’s spouse. At this point in the pandemic it’s very likely that anyone unvaccinated by choice is going to be unreasonable about any consequences of that choice, and you really don’t want the owner’s spouse complaining that you’re personally attacking them at any point but especially not at two weeks into the job.

                (that being said, I would not particularly want to work at a place with a dynamic like this- it’s probably dysfunctional, and I would be continuing to look)

                1. pancakes*

                  It would be very, very strange for someone to twist “I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it, I have a long-standing commitment that night” (or similar) into a “personal attack.”

                  It’s odd to me that so many people seem to think there’s no reason to resist events like this unless you can be certain of changing the mind of unvaccinated attendees. My thinking is that it’s straightforward harm reduction. The fewer people spending time in the company of the unvaccinated, the better. Minimizing the time spent in their company, likewise.

                2. KoiFeeder*

                  I’ve had people accuse me of thinking they’re a bad person because I declined an in-person event due to having a poor immune system. Or for wearing a mask in public when it’s not mandated. Now, this did not and will not prevent me from doing so in the future- not dying is very important to me. But in my experience, the sort of people who resist taking precautions are also the sort of people who assume you’re taking those precautions at them because you’re a terrible person who wants them to feel ashamed.

            2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              It’d certainly be hard for a new hire to indignantly tell the owner’s spouse that you’d be skipping the dinner because they are unvaccinated. But as a new hire, could you have a prior family commitment that evening, that was planned months in advance and that you cannot get out of?

              1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                Never mind, forgot that your company scrapped the whole dinner. Thank mother Nature for the snow!

              2. pancakes*

                Of course, but who suggested being indignant about it? Not me. No one else either, as far as I can tell.

        3. pancakes*

          Of course not, but that doesn’t oblige people who are vaccinated to shrug off their self-regard and accompany them to dinner.

    2. Felicia*

      This makes me even more glad that unvaccinated people are not legally allowed to eat inside a restaurant in my province (I think in most of Canada), which avoids situations like this. My team did a team lunch for the end of our busy time in early October, and my one unvaccinated coworker could not legally attend so I guess she was excluded but that isn’t our fault.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, same here. Our employers aren’t allowed to require vaccination/daily testing yet (although hopefully that will change), but health authorities are currently recommending businesses to organize any Christmas parties at public venues that can, and are legally obligated to, require a Covid passport. My husband went to an event like this last week, he didn’t get sick.

        My employer’s canceled all in-person events. There’s a virtual Teams party coming up next week, but I’ll probably skip it. They organized one last year as well, and people seemed to enjoy it, but it’s not really my idea of fun.

    3. Kay*

      My husband’s work has unvaccinated people and zero safety protocols (no one aside from my husband wears a mask). Needless to say I’m not attending any of their events this year, and if pressed I would immediately be feeling so “unwell” I couldn’t go.

      Just because my definition of “unwell” is “utterly horrified you are all exhibiting little regard for the wellbeing of your fellow human” doesn’t mean I’ll be badgered into attendance or further explanation of my “unwell-ness”.

      I think debilitating migraines, food poisoning, stomach bugs, family emergencies, etc. were all created for people who need to protect themselves (and others) from poor employer decisions right now.

  11. The Original K.*

    Virtual afternoon something. I’m not sure what that will entail because it’s my first December with this employer.

  12. Triumphant Fox*

    We had our standard holiday party at a nice restaurant. I wasn’t able to attend, but everyone seemed to have a great time. We hav also been doing holiday movies once a week for the month of December, with lunch provided. It’s been a nice way to unwind – bring your work in if you want, but just take a bit of a break.

    1. Triumphant Fox*

      Also – I agree with those commenting that parties are a bad idea. My workplace has not handled covid well in general and is pretty determined to put it in the past at this point.

        1. Triumphant Fox*

          It has been enormously frustrating and I’ve lost a lot of respect for a lot of people I had esteem for. I also have used so much of my work capital to try to protect the team I manage and it’s exhausting.

  13. anon for this*

    We are having a big party TOMORROW with lots of drinking (as I’ve heard from pre-covid parties, though I came onboard during covid). I’ve been significantly cutting back on alcohol and I don’t want to drink tomorrow, but I also don’t want to have people speculating that I’m pregnant or anything. Does anyone have any tips/tricks for not drinking without drawing attention to yourself? I work in an industry where hard partying has been the norm for a long time (think law/politics/etc) and apparently the top management is notorious for pressuring people into drinking.

    1. Gracely*

      Sprite/7-up with a lime wedge. Or coke with a lime wedge. Basically, drink something that looks like a cocktail, and you’re golden.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Yup. Adding in suggestions for cranberry with soda or Sprite; sparkling water; tonic and a lime.

        1. anon for this*

          Yeah, I usually stick to one drink at an event and my preferred is cranberry and vodka, so I have my one drink (and if anyone’s the pressuring kind, I try to order near them) and then I switch to just juice or juice and seltzer – looks just like the ‘real’ drink from earlier and no one’s the wiser if I don’t want them to be.

    2. Quaremie*

      You could always have sparkling water in a glass, throw a lime in it and sip it slowly. Say you’re having a gin and tonic or something if anyone asks!

    3. Lyssa*

      You can always accept a drink, then “forget” and put it down somewhere. Or just hold it/have it next to you. People won’t notice, I promise!

      1. Corporate Lawyer*

        Yes, “nursing” the same drink the whole time can indeed be effective. Especially if you can get a beer in either a dark bottle or, better yet, a can. That way no one can tell that your drink is still full, and extra bonus, if someone asks, it’s easy to lie and claim that you’ve had multiple of said beers because all the bottles/cans are identical.

        1. OhNo*

          That’s my default, since I actually do like beer. If there’s a bartender and they seem pretty chill, they might also be willing to fill the bottle up with water once you’re done with your first drink. The last time I went to a party (seems like eons ago, now), the bartender was lovely and filled my bottle up with water a couple times when I asked.

    4. Triumphant Fox*

      this is tough – I think always having a drink in your hand that looks like an alcoholic drink helps. Soda with lime, etc. Toasting along with everyone else. If your hand is full with your own drink, it’s easier to avoid shots, etc. Also, actually drink your drink and going to get a new one periodically keeps suspicion off – don’t just nurse the same one all night.

      if you’re more comfortable masking, that could also keep suspicion off, but might invite derision in another direction if no one is masking and your workplace thinks covid is over or overblown.

    5. The Original K.*

      Co-signing the advice to drink something non-alcoholic that looks like a cocktail. I had to do this at a previous employer with a really boozy culture (and on my team, like 85% of us were women in our 20s & 30s and 3 were pregnant at once one year, so people assuming pregnancy if you weren’t drinking wasn’t far off). I drink, but not excessively, and never excessively at work events. I would typically have one drink and then switch to seltzer with lime.

    6. Babyfaced Crone*

      I’m a fan of holding a tonic and lime (with swizzle stick, so it looks like you must have gin in there as well), or a white wine spritzer (where you can go much heavier on the spritz with little or no wine at all).

    7. Web Crawler*

      Carry around a drink without drinking it. Or carry around a non-alcoholic drink that blends in with what other people are drinking. If everything’s in cans/bottles and you really need to, you can dump one out and fill it with water

      If somebody offers you a drink and you feel like you can’t turn it down, you can take the drink, spot somebody you absolutely have to talk to, and forget the drink on a table somewhere.

    8. Not anon*

      I don’t drink and people get weirdly pushy about it. So I now feel it’s ok to lie just to get them to shut up. Usual explanation is antibiotics for a tooth infection (as in, something not contagious, I don’t want to freak anyone out).

      1. anon for this*

        Does it work? I am on the fence about pretending to drink vs. coming up with a medical reason why I’m not and which will get people to leave me alone about it. I don’t understand why it upsets people so much when someone isn’t drinking.

        1. londonedit*

          I’d always rather say ‘Oh, not really drinking tonight’ rather than make an excuse. So many people trotted out the ‘antibiotics’ line when I was in my late twenties/thirties and it always meant they were pregnant (plus there are very few antibiotics that do react with alcohol – I think one of the dental ones is, so it’s the one to use if you are making that excuse) so my mind would certainly go straight to ‘pregnant’ which in the OP’s case would have the opposite effect to the one they’re intending!

        2. coffee is my friend*

          Depends on the people and just how annoying they are. I have bad heartburn and headaches exasperated by alcohol and I’ve generally found people accept it without much issue. But if it’s a DRINKING culture just having something that could be alcoholic works well and besides usually I’m thirsty anyway

    9. AY*

      When I used to work in a law firm, one of my coworkers was pregnant but not sharing her pregnancy yet. She’d order a drink, hold it for a while, and secretly switch with another coworker who was drinking the same thing. You do have to enlist a friend for this to work.

      I also had a coworker who called ahead to the restaurant and asked to be served club soda with lime every time she ordered a gin and tonic. I wasn’t “in” on this plan at the time, and I did think it was weird that she ordered like 4 G&Ts during dinner, so be careful with that one!

      1. londonedit*

        My sister and I did this at a family gathering where very immediate family knew she was pregnant but no one else did. She’d accept a drink and maybe have a couple of sips or just hold it, then at some point we’d surreptitiously swap glasses so that mine was mainly full and hers only had maybe a quarter of a glass in it. Her offering to ‘go and refill’ my glass also worked as a means of switching them without anyone noticing. No one noticed at all!

    10. anonymous73*

      You do you, but I just wouldn’t care. If someone asks I’d be honest. “Don’t want to”. If they push “Why is this an issue for YOU?” I’m so tired of people getting up into people’s business. The only reason I would question someone not drinking is if they were a close friend and were known to drink a lot. In other words, I’d never say something to a colleague. But I have boundaries.

      1. anon for this*

        Ideally, yes – however this would be my bosses pushing and I work in an office where this social stuff can determine things like funding, staffing, etc., for my department (I’m an executive). This is more about gaining political capital than drinking vs. not drinking.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I totally hear you. You’re new, you want to get the lay of the land. Get a ginger ale and lime, call it a Jack and Ginger, sip slowly. If asked, you’re a “one and done!”, said with a big smile.

          It would be nice if, “Eh, not much of a drinker,” always worked, and maybe it will, but I don’t blame you for wanting to be armed if it doesn’t.

          1. anon for this*

            I hate how much thought I am putting into this!! Thank you all this has been really helpful

        2. anonymous73*

          Sorry but I still don’t see that as a reason to fake it. So you’re unable to socialize without drinking. Nope, that’s complete BS.

      2. Little Miss Cranky Pants*

        I’ve never drunk alcohol and I’ve never tolerated anyone who pushes me when I say no. Er, no means no. And yes, I mean I really don’t drink alcohol. Anyone who asks more than twice gets a cold stare and my can of Coke raised to them. Why does it matter to drinkers is someone is a non-drinker? I’ve never understood this at all.

    11. Ronan*

      I’m kind of in the same boat as you— new job, holiday party with alcohol, big drinking culture in my line of work, but I can’t drink at the work party. (I have a medical condition that means I go from sober to very drunk in around a single drink). My plan for this year is to use masking to my advantage— keep my mask on for the whole party, say “I’m not a big drinker but I wanted to come chat and get to know you all”, instead of trying to find the best nonalcoholic drink to blend in. My fingers crossed hope is that I won’t lose too much work capital if I stick to just being social this year. (I considered not going at all, but I spent several months of 2021 unemployed and my impression of my boss is that this job will be at risk if I don’t do at least some socializing). But I doubt this will work long term, so I’ll be interested to hear what other people recommend.

      1. anon for this*

        Yes I’m a new executive and haven’t had a lot of in person face time with the C-suite (my bosses), and part of this is trying to figure out how to build political capital without having to engage with the drinking culture. I probably should have included this above – it’s not as simple as saying “no, stop pushing”, when it’s your boss pushing and saying yes or no can determine whether your dept is targeted for budget cuts/layoffs. Is that right? No. Is it a real consideration? Absolutely.

    12. Adds*

      I’m sorry you’re worried about pressure to drink at a work thing, that’s sucky.

      Like others have said if you want to keep up appearances anything with a garnish will look like a mixed drink and if someone brings you an unsolicited drink, say thanks, and then set it down after a moment, no one will track it. If it’s like OldJob, someone may even take it upon themselves to drink it for you at that point.

      Any chance “Thanks but no, I’m not a big drinker (or I don’t drink)” might be worth saying? I’ve seen lots of social media posts lately from folks who have decided that right now, and especially after the past 18 months, imbibing is not for them and normalizing NOT drinking at social events. And if you don’t want to give that personal of a reason because it may invite questions, what about needing to drive home after or just being responsible for getting yourself home safely if you don’t drive?

      I hope you are able to go and enjoy your evening with as much or little imbibing as you desire.

      1. anon for this*

        I have heard some horror stories about people telling the CEO “I’m not a big drinker” turning into a challenge to get that person drunk. This is the first time I’ve worked in an office with this kind of culture…

        1. Really?*

          I’ve been in a similar position earlier in my career. My strategy was to order something I detested. You’ll have a drink in your hand for show, and you won’t absentmindedly drink too much when you’re thirsty and engaged with others. I knew another executive who had an arrangement at his favorite lunch spot to be served Virgin Marys rather than the Bloody Marys he ordered (and paid for!). My industry thankfully has become more aware of the damage the drinking can cause and such pressure is now considered rude, as it should be. These days I generally have one drink before switching to seltzer with lime.

        2. allathian*

          I’m so sorry. This sounds like a bad culture fit, honestly. I can’t believe the CEO is otherwise a good human if they try to get a person drunk who doesn’t want to drink.

          Sounds like mocktails is the way to go. And skip the after-party if you possibly can.

        3. Kat in VA*

          I don’t drink. Coincidentally, neither does the VP I support.

          Guess who gets hassled to have “Awww just ONE drink, not even ONE drink, jeez such a PARTY POOPER” and who’s left entirely alone about their choice to imbibe/not imbibe?

          (Office with huge drinking culture and the number of folks who seem to take it personally is astounding, as if my decision to not drink is AT them, instead of just…my decision not to drink?)

    13. Mockingjay*

      As a non-drinker, I don’t JADE my choice at all. Seltzer and lime is my go-to. I just keep it in hand and no one is wise to its contents. You can always ask the bartender for a fancier glass so it looks more “real.”

      If someone presses a drink on you, “thanks” and set it down on the nearest table. Most people at parties like this are only concerned with their own refills and will never notice.

    14. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I’m a fan of virgin bloody marys because I love bloody mary mix or ginger beer/ale with a lime. You can basically ask for most cocktails non-alcoholic and they look the same as the alcoholic ones.

      1. Caterpillow*

        I love virgin caesars, extra spicy. I don’t get them at home and the pickled asparagus is an awesome munchy

        1. Caterpillow*

          I always hated drinking alcohol at work functions. The possibility of saying something extremely stupid and facing the the next work day is not a good look.

    15. TastefullyFreckled*

      If it’s plausible considering where your workplace is located, “I can’t, I drove in today” has usually worked for me when I don’t want to drink at work functions.

      1. anon for this*

        They’re sponsoring ubers for everyone (including sponsoring one to the after party before going home) specifically so people wouldn’t do this. Sigh.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          They’re jackasses. With this context, I think pretending you’re drinking is the only way forward.

          I hope they see the light soon!

      2. redwinemom*

        Order a coke in a lowball.
        Most people would assume you’re drinking jack and coke, especially if you add a lime

    16. Shoe Ruiner*

      Agree with the soda and line comments, but make sure you specify you want it in a rocks glass. Go to the same bartender each time you get a new drink. Offer to get drinks for others so no one has to know your order.

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If you live near any co-workers you like, my fault would be to volunteer to drive them. You can tell a couple of friendlies that you’re cutting out alcohol calories oh, and give the hard drinkers the easy answer of being the designated driver.

    18. Kate in Scotland*

      The waitress made me great mocktails at our work meal last week, but they attracted a surprising amount of attention because they looked so appealing. For going under the radar, I ask for ‘sparkling water made to look like a gin and tonic’ or ginger ale in a champagne glass, bar staff are always very helpful. Also I’ve never had anyone notice that a non alcoholic cider bottle isn’t alcoholic, the branding tends to be more subtle than non alcoholic beer (I’m in the UK so our default cider is hard cider and ‘non alcoholic cider’ is dealcoholised hard cider)

      1. Jen in Oregon*

        Silver lining of covid: no one is asking for a taste! Or if they are, you can laugh it off when telling them no way in hell.

    19. Shelby Jackson*

      Seeing that you are relatively new, you may not want to be this ballsy at your first holiday party, but I don’t drink at all and I work with heavy drinkers. Some of them take it as a literal challenge to get me to drink at work events. At our last event, when I was being pressured to go out to a bar with a group of them (on top of not drinking alcohol, I’m an introverted, socially awkward human, so going to a bar with coworkers is literally my nightmare), I looked at my boss and loudly said “No means no regardless of it if is unwanted sexual advances or unwanted alcohol requests.” Everyone slinked away quietly and no one said a word to me about the bottle of sparkling cider I carried around at this week’s holiday party.

  14. ContentWrangler*

    This isn’t company or even department wide but the sub-team I work on just sent out our invites to a virtual murder mystery (with a winter-y theme) – I’ve been assigned a character and everything! It’s totally optional – you just have to sign up in advance. But I’m actually excited – always wanted to try one these.

    1. Chashka*

      I did a virtual murder mystery a couple of weeks ago. It was fun, even though the mystery part was a bit lame. It was set up so that literally anyone could have been the murderer (even aside from red herrings), as we weren’t sure exactly how many would participate until that evening. A better set-up would be with all participants confirmed in advance, so that it’s more tricky of a mystery (if that makes sense). We all still had a fun time, especially since we knew our characters and theme ahead of time and so we wore appropriate outfits and could set our virtual backgrounds accordingly.

    2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Oh man, I would love this with my team. I could see everyone getting into it. I might suggest it the next time our division decides each team needs to do mandatory fun.

  15. Meg*

    I work in academia, and we had a luncheon planned. Then, because the code color changed (based on cases on campus) it was changed to a masked get together with grab and go bags. All in all, it wasn’t too bad!

    1. OhNo*

      Oh, I wish the uni I work for would do that. They’re still going ahead with the luncheon they planned, which will be unmasked since they also decided to ditch the mask requirement on campus right before the Thanksgiving break.

  16. Panda*

    My team of 4 had a lunch at a nice restaurant with our VP (who we all like) and he picked up the tab. We had a blast and stayed for 3 hours.

    Our division is having an online Zoom meeting tomorrow, then letting everyone out of work early. The company is closing at 2 the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

  17. Chris*

    Nothing, and I think that is great! We are still working from home and the idea of doing something over Zoom or commuting to do something in person would not make me happy.

    1. New Job So Much Better*

      Same here. Most of us are now WFH permanently and no holiday zooms are needed or wanted.

  18. Quaremie*

    A huge party in person with hundreds of people. Apparently it is part outdoors but it is freezing. I am not attending…

  19. Beth (the other other Beth)*

    Nothing; but that’s what we usually do.

    A couple of times, we’ve had lunch ordered in, and one year a fancily catered evening party offsite, but this year there hasn’t even been the usual round of “Huh, should we try to do a holiday thing this year?”

  20. SomeSuchPeep*

    We got a lovely holiday gift box shipped to us in place of a part with beautiful items from local businesses and a nice card.

  21. Allornone*

    My organization is having a pajama party.
    I’m not thrilled about this.

    But overall, this place is usually very good to its employees, and it’s entirely possible they may give an extra day, few days, or even a week, off if we make some goals for the holiday. It’s not a given, but it’s very possible. And after this last year, my best Christmas celebration is simply being employed at a job I like in a company that’s not absolutely bonkers.

    1. Clefairy*

      WHAT?! I have so many questions. Is this like…a sleepover pajama party?! Just meeting up for a movie night in PJs?? I normal party, but everyone is in their jammies for whatever reason!? Is the median age at your company 12???

    2. cottagechick*

      All I could think about was that you could end up with some really cringe-worthy party stories to share next year.

    3. Allornone*

      For clarification:

      The party will be during office hours. Most of the staff has been back in the office since May (I wasn’t hired until September, so this is my first holiday party here), so we are all expected to attend at least for a bit. We’re all supposed to wear holiday-themed pjs and bring in desserts. There is a Secret Santa exchange, which I opted out of this year because money is tight. We have a big space to hold these things, so we can all choose to socially distance ourselves. But yeah, it’s just me and a bunch of coworkers sitting around wearing pajamas and eating cookies. Strange.

      My CEO will probably make an inspiring speech. And unlike at most workplaces, his speeches are actually pretty motivational. So whatever. I don’t know.

      1. DataGirl*

        That sounds terrible. What if someone doesn’t own holiday themed pj’s and can’t afford to buy them? Personally none of the things I wear to sleep in would be acceptable to wear in mixed company, given they are all 20+ year old t-shirts with holes in them.

        1. Allornone*

          I did not, in fact, own holiday-themed pjs. I ended up buying a cheap red pajama set off of Amazon because I might be able to use it again. I might top it off with a santa hat just because. It was specified that we must be appropriately covered (let’s hope that’s pretty obvious- I know no one needs to see my bits & pieces and meats & cheeses; I don’t want to see their’s either).

          I could see a good holiday story coming out of this.

        2. Chashka*

          If I didn’t own holiday pj’s, I would be inclined to basically wear yoga pants and a top and tape holiday-themed items here and there on them: snowflakes, garland, Christmas trees, etc. Sort of like creating an ugly temporary Christmas sweater.

        3. Kat in VA*

          I’m in the same boat. Being as I’m a Woman Of A Certain Age® who runs blazing hot but only at night and often wakes up in a dripping pool of sweat thanks to hot flashes, I have not worn a pajama set* in years and most definitely do not have a specifically-holiday-themed pajama set.

          I’m also positive that my nighttime outfit of tight tank top sans bra (to keep the girls contained) and hipster underwear would not go over well in the office.

          I would have to resentfully purchase a matching PJ set that I would almost definitelyl never wear again and yes, that would entirely piss me off.

          *I assume said pajama set would be something more like the traditional button down top and drawstring pants in flannel or whatever, not thermals (due to them being form fitting). Regardless, I don’t sleep in those clothes or even lounge in them so having to buy a specific outfit for a random office party would tick me off.

      2. Botanist*

        Dang, I’m currently eight months pregnant and I would be pretty irritated at having to invest in something that could pass as Christmassy pajamas that will definitely not fit me in future winters!

      3. allathian*

        Oh well, at least it’s the perfect excuse for those who’ve been longing to go to the office braless to actually do it…

    4. Allornone*

      The kicker is I take mass transit to work, so I have to come in wearing normal clothes and change into pjs once I’m here.

      1. anonymous73*

        If you’re in an area where a coat is needed, you could wear yoga pants or leggings and a pajama top so you don’t need to change. But personally I would opt out. My pajamas consist of ratty old pants and t-shirts LOL

        1. Allornone*

          Sadly, I live in Miami, FL. Even when it’s cold here, it’s not cold.

          As part of the ratty old-pants and t-shirt club myself, I’ve had to improvise.

      2. OhNo*

        Oh, dear. If it were a non-holiday pajama party, you could probably have gotten away with some fairly normal sweatpants or workout pants, and hide your top with a hoodie or light jacket or something. But with the holiday requirement… too much work required to make this happen! It would be better if they offered an opt-out for the pajama part.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I’d make paper snowflakes and pin them to my hoody and wear yoga pants. Maybe grab a tinsel lanyard for a stole if I was feeling spendy

        2. La Triviata*

          It’s distinctly cold where I am and my apartment runs chilly, so I gifted myself with a couple sets of what I call lounging pajamas. They are comfortable enough to sleep in – mine are warm but you might look into getting something climate-appropriate for this. Get some shiny garland and drape it around yourself, pin some small ornaments on (only where you won’t sit on them) and you’re golden (or silver … or red and green).

    5. Lizy*

      I dunno – depending on the office/culture I could see this being a blast. At OldJob I can think of at least a couple of them that would go all-out. Cater a breakfast-for-lunch and give $5 gift cards for “silliest slippers” or “best bedhead” and you got yourself a par-tay

  22. Clefairy*

    We nixed big, company-wide parties, but have been holding smaller, team-specific parties in person. I live in Utah, which is notoriously lax on covid restrictions- I still ended up participating because I am fully vaccinated/boostered. With my immediate team, we met at a fun restaurant for lunch and a gift exchange. For my department, we just did laser tag/bowling. Also, we have a virtual Secret Santa next week.

    1. Botanist*

      For a second I wondered if you work at my company! Probably not thought, because our team-specific parties will almost certainly be on site luncheons held in meeting rooms. At least my company has gotten on board with making vaccines mandatory without exemption papers (even without that we had above a 70% vaccination rate), so I am cautiously planning on attending.

  23. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    Company-wide? Nothing.

    My team? A virtual potluck by Zoom. Bring you lunch and share in the cheer. It’s low key but we like it. :)

        1. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          Yes! And the one on mat leave joined in and cooed over her baby.

          And we played a game!

    1. starsaphire*

      My department’s doing this too.

      And because my company is pretty awesome, we’re allowed to put in for reimbursement for whatever we spend for our snacks/lunch up to $X amount (I think it’s like $25 or $30; not sure).

      So, could be worse. I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything, and I only have to turn in a receipt if I go buy something special. I might splurge and get bagels or something – I don’t know.

    2. Botanist*

      I’m genuinely curious what makes it a potluck if it’s virtual. Does it just sound better that way? I’m assuming no one was shipping individual portions of food they cooked to other team members?

  24. Manchmal*

    I working as faculty in academia, and our college canceled the holiday celebration (which I’ve actually never attended). My husband’s office (in the auto industry) is going back to their usual celebration, which is snacks and drinks at a bar from 3-5pm (so no spouses). I miss the parties they used to throw – evening dinner parties at a banquet hall with giant bowls of giant shrimp cocktail, open bar, a band, and Italian food served family style at the tables. I saw a woman at one of these parties once do a cartwheel on the dance floor, and many observers realized she was going commando…

  25. SpiderLadyCeo*

    We had our party in person yesterday. We’ve been back fully in person since October – all of our staff is fully vaccinated, most have the booster, and we are a very small organization. (23 people)
    Our party took place from 12-3pm, in doors, and included catering. To be honest, we could have been outside because it is lovely here, but the venue we ended up in was good- and had an open veranda we could have been on, too.

  26. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

    We cancelled – I’m in the UK and just yesterday Boris Johnson invoked ‘plan B’, which includes recommendations to work from home. He has specifically said not to cancel parties (because he’s a …..never mind) but our firm has cancelled all company sanctioned holiday parties (both company wide and department specific) and advised us to work from home if we can from Monday.

    1. londonedit*

      It’s an open invitation to all the idiots to go out and do All The Socialising this weekend before the Covid passes come in next Wednesday, isn’t it. Just in time for them to spread Covid about and make people really ill over Christmas. But according to this government, parties (even when the country is meant to be in an actual lockdown) are fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

    2. Spooncake*

      Yes, same here (including the opinion of Boris Johnson). I’m already working from home because I work in the UK for an EU team but was going to the now-cancelled party for UK employees. I think we’re doing a Zoom thing next week instead- which I’m mostly going to because it means I can finish my actual work an hour early.

    3. Snow*

      I’m also in the UK and work in the public sector and my org brought back work from home if you can last week prior to plan B coming in (too little too late as usual) to make the office safer for those who can’t work from home if there are less people in. They’re also advising against any team or departmental Christmas parties – they haven’t outright banned them because being public sector they are staff organised and funded so its harder for them to cancel something they didn’t actually organise but I wish they would because I know some teams are still going ahead.

      1. londonedit*

        Going to the office has been voluntary for us since things reopened in June this year (or whenever it was, I think June) – before that it was WFH only and it’s going back to WFH only from Monday, until further notice. So I don’t think many people were going to do in-person events anyway but I expect most people will do something virtual instead now. I’m basically going to be a hermit from now until I travel to visit my family because the absolute last thing I want is a positive Covid test on the 16th or something and 10 days’ self-isolation on my own in my flat.

    4. Covid Cassandra*

      also in UK – planning to suggest that we all dress up as Tories and crash one of the many parties taking place at 10 Downing Street.

      1. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

        I’m up for that! So, what shall we wear? Are we thinking Jacob Rees Mogg, or more along the lines of Boris himself? And for those of us ladies? Hmmmm…the choices are entertaining.

        1. Covid Cassandra*

          could do worse than follow the sartorial example of Dominic Cummings? As I am a woman on the larger side, I will be channelling Therese Coffey

      2. Anon attorney*

        I’d love to but I’m not sure how to make my costume work – having my brain and soul removed feels kind of difficult to fake idk

    5. Mince Pie Tastic*

      Also UK, very similar sentiments regarding the yet-again-new-father, and we’ve been fully remote since long before the pandemic.

      My boss is coming round for home made mince pies and coffee. We’re both triple vaxxed and have both had Plague, not to mention daily antigen testing (children at secondary school).

    6. Media Monkey*

      same – but we had cancelled earlier in the week. boss was worried after those tales of outbreaks at parties and no one wanted to risk not being able to see families at christmas. we were seeing a comedy show and dinner.

    7. FloralWraith*

      Our university cancelled all large gatherings. Our faculty decided to delay the party until February (they’ve already paid for everything and wouldn’t be able to get a refund), organised last minute Christmas hampers (again) and allowed us to do small team dinners, where we could expense £15 per person, so we went and ate pizza and wine yesterday.

  27. urguncle*

    Virtual escape room. I will be on PTO the morning (!!) that they are having it, because we’re including our EU teams as well and I feel confident that I will suffer no FOMO.

    1. anonymous73*

      I’ve always wanted to try and escape room, but a virtual one sounds painful, and I would NOT want to do one with my co-workers.

      1. londonedit*

        I did one for a friend’s birthday last year and it was painful. I think we possibly just did a bit of a shonky one, but someone had to share their screen and we all had to make notes/take screenshots and then keep going back to this page and that page, so it took absolutely forever.

      2. urguncle*

        I did an in-person one at a previous job and although I wouldn’t do it again, it was a great way to learn from coworkers about their problem-solving skills. I ended up figuring out the final three steps in pretty quick succession that let us beat the timer, which made it more fun.
        The fact that this is virtual just seems tedious and painful.

      3. Kat in VA*

        I actually did one of these and wound up being paired with our President and our COO along with a program manager. It was then I discovered that (a) the leader of our org is intensely competitive and (b) Marines really can swear up a storm when they think they’re losing a game, even a virtual one.

        It was a blast, is what I mean to say. All the more hilarious because our COO is a…uhmm…more courtly older gentleman. So every time the President would start spooling up the steep and serious language, you could tell the COO was just DYING INSIDE because there’s a LADY HERE (nevermind the fact that I have an unrepentant case of pottymouth).

  28. Suz*

    Perfect timing. Ours is today. We’re having a Zoom trivia contest. But they’re randomly assigning people to teams instead of letting you choose your team. So you’ll most likely be teamed with a bunch of strangers which takes all the fun out of it in my opinion.

  29. ceiswyn*

    We’re having a team dinner for those who want in-person socialising, and virtual drinks for those who are being more cautious.

    I was a bit surprised that there were enough people willing to risk the dinner to make up a table, but I guess that a lot of people have made the judgement call that they’re vaccinated, some of them have already had a bout of Covid, but after almost two years of restrictions and limited contact their mental health is what really needs a boost.

  30. YL*

    At my job, the employees successfully got a union election. I’m in the US. So this holiday, eligible employees will be voting yes or no on unionization. Our ballots are due in early January for counting.

    1. Chris*

      Yes! We voted to form a union over the summer and collective bargaining is already proving beneficial. Fortunately, our agency leadership is neutral on unions (other departments are already unionized), so there wasn’t any push back on the unionization itself.

  31. Purple Penny*

    The plan had been have a sit-down staff lunch, in the office, on the last working day of the year, because ‘family’. Given this would mean being cheek by jowl with my colleagues, I was already uneasy, as not all of them are as cautious as I am about social distancing away from work, it’s impossible to socially distance at the dining table, and you can hardly wear a mask while eating. With the arrival of the Omicron variant, and the government decision to encourage everyone who can to work from home I am hoping the powers-that-be will now realise that lunch, lovely as it is (and it always is) is not the world’s greatest idea, thus sparing me the need to find a very convincing reason not to go.

  32. Snackie Onassis*

    I work in an administrative office on a large campus, there are about 15 of us. We typically do a lunch out at a local restaurant and have a yankee swap gift exchange there, but this year we’re doing our gift exchange (masked) in our largest conference room and then having boxed lunches for everyone to eat separately. We also used to do a little cookie party where everyone would bring in a platter of homemade cookies to share, but last year and this year we scrapped that and my boss is sending everyone a box of cookies from a local chain. Basically, we’re trying to replicate the fun stuff without so much of the eating-and-drinking-together-in-a-room stuff.

      1. Snackie Onassis*

        Thank you! When I said “my boss is sending” what I meant is “I’m sending them using my boss’s credit card,” because I’m the office manager!

  33. sswj*

    I work retail, and my store (one of 30+ in the company) had a very casual gathering at one person’s house, their idea and invite. Company-wide we’re doing a “customer appreciation” holiday party, with a special sale, snacks, soft drinks etc. It’s not a big marketing push, and pretty targeted. Don’t know if the main office is doing anything for their location.

  34. londonedit*

    We’ve been given a small budget per head per team, and until this week the idea was that you could spend it on whatever you liked to have a festive time together, whether in-person or virtual. There hasn’t been any further guidance on that, but seeing as we’re now doing ‘Plan B’ as a country (which involves the return of masks in most indoor settings unless you’re eating/drinking, and working from home if you can) I expect most people will switch to virtual things. That’s what my team is doing – we’re spending our budget on food and booze and having a virtual drinks party. Last year the company did some lame online ‘Christmas Party’ but it was basically an hour of pre-recorded messages from authors and suppliers with a few quizzes thrown in, so I’m not sure they’re doing that again this year!

  35. NeutralJanet*

    We are doing a holiday luncheon at a restaurant that apparently has outdoor seating options, but we’re in the Northeast, so I’m not sure that the outdoor seating options are that tempting! I also have multiple anti-vax coworkers, and the venue is very far for me and at least half of the office (we are all permanently remote), so yeah, I am not attending.

    1. anonymous73*

      I’m in MD and I never understood the outdoor seating options once it gets cold because all they do is put a tent up and maybe some heaters. So you’re “outside” but with a tent you’re really inside with zero ventilation.

      1. londonedit*

        There was a whole thing about that last winter when the UK was in various states of lockdown about what counted as ‘indoors’. Our weather is not exactly clement in, say, February (it’s likely to be pouring with rain and freezing cold) and while indoor service was banned, pubs were putting up marquees in their beer gardens. Of course half of them were fully enclosed tents with sides all round, but technically the law was that it only counted as ‘outdoors’ if it had two sides open. There was also a whole thing at another point about whether a scotch egg counted as a ‘substantial meal’ (at some stage establishments were only allowed to open if they served ‘substantial meals’ and you were only allowed to order and drink alcohol while you were actually eating – people were literally asked to leave the pub if they’d cleared their plates, never mind if they still had half a glass of wine left) but that’s for another day…

        1. pancakes*

          We had that in NYC too for a while, though with little bags of potato chips rather than scotch eggs. Bars put them on the menu as “Cuomo chips,” after the governor.

      2. pancakes*

        I’ve never been inclined to sit outside in bitterly cold weather, but heat lamps are pretty comfortable to sit under in more moderate cold so long as there are enough of them.

        1. anonymous73*

          I agree but in my area, they put up full tents with sides. So to me, it’s not less of a risk. In fact without proper ventilation, it may even be more risky. Personally I feel safe eating inside of a restaurant – my state has been pretty strict during this time and has a high vaccinated population.

          1. pancakes*

            Yeah, that makes sense. We have a variety of outdoor structures here and some are like that, too. It doesn’t seem a lot less risky than sitting indoors because they’re pretty much always smaller than the restaurant itself.

          2. allathian*

            Yeah, I’d also feel safer eating indoors. Especially now that all restaurants that sell alcohol and are open past 5 pm are required to ask for a Covid passport. In the reasonable ones, people are also asked to mask up when they get up from their table for any reason. Our climate is far too cold to eat outdoors at this time of year (- 18 C/0 F yesterday).

      3. LQ*

        There have been some glorious outdoor seating options. Heated benches around tables with firepits. The outside heaters but with tree windbreaks but not full tents and in the sun even in below freezing that’s fine. I’m really disappointed my favorite local place took down their outdoor seating because some of us are also just fine outdoors in 40 degrees. There are a couple places that have space between buildings with fences and then heaters at the tables where there is plenty of ventilation but not heavy breeze. You don’t need a 15 mph wind to have ventilation. If you’ve got a windbreak and sun you get most of the way, if you’ve got a windbreak and sun plus a heated bench you’re set!

        I love the outdoor seating, I always have and I’ve always wanted it longer than most places offer it, I’m fine bussing the table and all too, it’s just nice to be outside.

        (In MN)

  36. Just Another Zebra*

    No party this year, which is honestly fine with me. But we’re doing a Secret Santa-style gift swap and a wreath decorating contest in the office. And the money usually spent on a party is going into our bonuses.

    The owner noticed how excited we were with our bonuses and asked if we’d rather just do this every year instead of a party. My understanding is most people voted yes.

  37. Canonical23*

    Our main office set a rule of no big holiday parties, so at the satellite office I manage – we have maybe a dozen people, all vaccinated, all of whom expressed interest in a holiday party – we decided to just make our monthly team meeting super relaxed with a catered breakfast (individually boxed), no big updates or discussions, more social than business, and we’re giving a small gift card to each staff member with personal notes about how appreciative we’ve been about their flexibility over the last year.

  38. Riled Down*

    Sending custom snack or mixology boxes (I appreciate the options for non drinkers), giving a virtual food delivery gift card so we can choose our own holiday party meal. Plus a blessedly short virtual holiday party with trivia and ugly sweaters. That’s just my department, though, not sure what everyone else is doing.

  39. Eddie*

    The in office folks get a swanky party with cocktails and food

    The remote folks, like me, get… online poker

    Currently considering ways to get out of it; I’d honestly rather just work.
    At least it’s better than the last event they did, where in the in office folks got a bbq and the remote folks had to cover them.

  40. It's Not Over Yet*

    Our company-wide party was canceled, but my boss just sent out an invite for lunch with the other management-level employees (about a dozen people). Indoors, and a restaurant so unmasked. I don’t want to go because we’ve been so cautious this whole time and I don’t want to risk a breakthrough infection right before the holidays. I’m trying to decide if it would make me seem crazy to politely decline going because of the pandemic when everyone else is “back to normal.”

    1. WFH with Cat*

      Please don’t let the fear of appearing crazy stop you from protecting yourself. You are not crazy; they are. This is far from over — and the “everything is back to normal” crowd are a BIG part of the reason why.

  41. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

    There’s an all-company ugly sweater party zoom call (which makes sense, the company is small but very global), another zoom party for my team and the team we work closest with. I also received a Harry & David gift box from the company and a fun little homemade advent calendar from my boss that ties into the zoom party previously mentioned.

    This is my first holiday season with this company, so I am not sure what previous years looked like, but I have been told there used to be fun holiday parties in the past at the local office.

  42. BlueWolf*

    We’re having an in person party, with outside (tented, heated) space as well as indoor space. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’d love to see my colleagues in person for the first time in almost two years and both my partner and I have gotten the booster, but I’m a bit concerned with the Omicron variant going around.

  43. Adds*

    My boss invited us to his anniversary/vow renewal/wife’s birthday party at a local restaurant. It was an open bar and the food was good so I guess I can’t complain.

  44. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    (I know that my whole team is Christmas-celebrating.) I offered my team an opt-in holiday card exchange (cards only, no gifts etc), and about a third of them opted in. I’ll send them all holiday-neutral cards.

    …. that’s it. I think our division is doing a Teams party with trivia and photo contests, decorated pets or goofy sweaters or whatever, but I don’t know anything about the plans for that and probably won’t be attending it. Our management team (which is six women between the ages of 40 and 55) is including a gift exchange, themes of either “my favorite things” or “keeping warm”, in our year-end strategic planning day, but that doesn’t involve the team.

  45. the cat's ass*

    We have Christmas eve day and new years eve day off, paid, and the company luncheon is next fri, outside on the heated deck of a very nice local bistro. We’re all triple vaxxed and looking forward to a tiny bit of socialization!

  46. The Smiling Pug*

    My company’s Christmas party is this Saturday after the business hours close. There’ll probably be food and games, but I’m not going. I went the first year and said, “Never again if I can avoid it.”

  47. Samantha F*

    We had a zoom-based magic show / comedy routine that was highly interactive with the audience. People seemed to enjoy it.

  48. Jaybee*

    Our company doesn’t do anything as a whole (we’re a little too big for that) but our little department is getting catered boxed lunches, and there’s been talk of an opt-in Yankee Swap gift exchange. I am a little wary of the gift exchange but I can see ways that it can be done with as much safety as any other time we’re all in the office, and we’re all vaxxed per company requirement.

  49. desk platypus*

    We’re back to the holiday potluck and cookie exchange this year, both of which were cancelled last year when vaccines weren’t a thing. But we also don’t have a vaccine or mask mandate here and pairing that with several coworkers I know do neither I wasn’t interested in attending a crowded lunch room. But I was able to run in afterwards and grab a cookie or two for a snack.

  50. President Porpoise*

    Our tiny team is doing a spa day. Honestly, after the stress of the last few weeks… and the rest of the year… it’s quite welcome.

    1. President Porpoise*

      On top of that, 7 days of holiday between Christmas Eve and New Years, gift cards for small amounts of cash, and a team dinner. Our team is fully vaxxed, so I’m ok with all of it.

  51. Irish girl*

    My company decided to give everyone a $100 Visa gift card in lue of a party. I work in the home office and everyone is getting them HO or field. The field offices or smaller teams might be doing other celebrations depending on where they live. My direct team is geographically diverse so we are doing a Teams Video call Ugly Sweater content with a few of the other teams under our grand boss. My former team invited me to their offsite lunch next week that has a ugly sweater contest as well as a Yankee Swap. I decided to go for free food and getting to see my old coworkers in person. I can wear my mask an not eat if I want to without too much comment from them about it.

  52. Decidedly Me*

    We’re having a remote party. It’s set up through some sort of service so we’ll have breakout rooms to create teams and play games.

    We’re a fully remote company and this is the first time we’re doing a holiday party, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. I have one other holiday party through our larger org, but I know less about that one. They did mention music and entertainment, though.

  53. The Prettiest Curse*

    We are a smallish team (15 people) and already had our celebration, at the end of November. We did an escape room activity, plus a lunch with secret Santa activity. The escape room was fun (we split up into 3 groups, everyone masked.) Didn’t go to the lunch, but I heard that was fun too.

    Fortunately, almost everyone I work with has a science background (most have PhDs), so no anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers to worry about.

  54. bad gift box*

    Two weeks of opt-in shenanigans of varying festivity (a trivia game, a meditation, a streaming movie, a holiday home decoration contest, a cocktail hour, that sort of thing) and another gift box. The last gift box was not great.

  55. Em*

    The first year I worked there (2019) they had what was essentially Corporate Prom — huge catered party, DJ, in a ballroom, very nice. Except I hadn’t been there long enough to actually know anyone, so it was weird!

    Last year they spent the money on gifts instead, in a pretty thoughtful way: they “curated” a selection at a big-box electronics store and we could choose what we want. Most items were free, but there were a couple where the company had basically said “we’ll pay X amount, but if you pay the extra ten bucks, you can have this air fryer.” I picked up some nice smart speakers, lots of people went for the air fryer, bluetooth headphones were a big hit, so was the fitbit. I gather that’s what they’re doing this year as well.

  56. Mitford*

    We’re volunteering at an event for the children of military service members one night and another night we’re having a dinner for those who are fully vaccinated.

  57. drivesmenuts*

    We are having an in-person (employee-only) holiday party at a local hotel/restaurant… during a pandemic…. in a county with the highest infection levels in the state…. It’s going to be super boring and really awkward, due to being employee-only and no one really loving each other at this tiny company. I would rather get a gift basket and an email card.

  58. Ginger Baker*

    Unsure what, if anything, is happening. One department had a holiday party (in-person, all vaccinated but no masks) and promptly sparked our own mini-super-spreader event, so all further events (which were planned to be in-person) have been cancelled. No word on whether there will be any replacement effort; last year there was nothing much done – they sent a home package with like a blanket and some games but nothing even close to what they clearly spent per-person on the parties in past years. But, I will take that over InfectionFests any day so….

  59. Alex the Alchemist*

    I work in a church and the lead pastor is hosting a Christmas potluck brunch at her house for the 10ish of us on staff. Excited because I love cooking and baking for other people and, judging by the snacks that have circulated the office during my 6 months here, everyone else both enjoys and is quite skilled at cooking as well.

  60. ASW*

    We had our company-wide in-person holiday party last week (I didn’t go). They did require that you either be vaccinated or provide a negative COVID test to attend. Our location is having a holiday lunch at a local restaurant next week during the work day and I’m not looking forward to it. No idea if we’re going to be spaced out or not. As far as I know, there are no vaccine or negative test requirements. I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’m going to go because I need to be careful about appearing too negative or not being a team player when I don’t agree with or participate in something we’re doing.

    1. allathian*

      Ouch, that’s awful. The only reason I’m comfortable with the idea of going to a sit-down restaurant to eat is that you have to be either vaxxed or provide a negative Covid test result, and masked while not seated at your own table.

  61. Spooncake*

    All holiday parties were cancelled company-wide for us, but we’re all over the place anyway so it was always going to be virtual to some extent anyway, though initially I was supposed to have gone to a dinner this week. We’re getting a short Zoom party instead and then a nice gift from the company, which we got to pick from a list- that suits me just fine.

  62. Anonymous Penguin*

    Virtual happy hour with the team. They’ll be sending cocktail kits to our homes. I don’t love alcohol centric events, but there was a mocktail option at least.

    The company more broadly isn’t doing anything, which is the correct option.

  63. A CAD Monkey*

    Potluck tomorrow, meat provided by caterer, sides and desert by employees. White elephant after eating.

    I will eat a lunch I bring from home before hand so as to stay masked the entire time. Not everyone here is vaxed.

    1. A CAD Monkey*

      only good thing to come form tomorrow is bonuses are usually handed out after the party and we get to leave about 2 hours early.

  64. foureyedlibrarian*

    We’re just doing a catered lunch. We socially distance in our staff room in the library. Apparently we don’t do much more than this anyways

  65. Karen*

    We only have 3 staff and 1 part-timer, so we usually close the office for a few hours and my boss takes us to a nice restaurant for lunch. The other day he asked if I’m comfortable going out to eat, and I’m not at this time so I offered to sit it out. Three of us share one huge office with well-spaced desks, so he is going to bring in lunch and we can enjoy a meal together but separate enough for me to be comfortable.

  66. RunShaker*

    My company used to have a huge party with band but no more which is good with me. Majority of us are still WFH. My team isn’t doing a holiday lunch meet up or zoom. My team is part of a larger department and we’re doing a zoom meeting during lunch tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect. I’m thinking most people will be on camera since majority have lap tops with cameras. I have desktop with no camera. Probably good thing since I barely brush my hair some mornings!

  67. Eleanor Dirt Apple*

    At my school, we do a combination Secret Santa / toy drive. Participants are matched with another person, like in a normal Secret Santa. Instead of giving them a gift, we get them a toy we think they would have wanted as a child. That toy then gets donated. My person is a cosmetology teacher, so I’m getting them a salon toy set, kids’ shampoo, conditioner, and detangler.

    1. LPUK*

      I really like this idea. When my Niblings were small I used to do the shoebox presents that are sent to disadvantaged children in other country, but Niblings grew out of school and I became more aware of the religious aspect, so I dropped it. Pity though, as I like to kick off the Christmas season with a charitable endeavour before the orgy of consumerism takes hold. Nowadays it’s food bank contributions and Christmas for homeless, but that’s just money ( which they prefer but doesn’t give me the same feelings)

      1. Gracely*

        If you’re in the US, you can always check out your state’s foster system website and see if they’re doing a gift donation for children in the system. My state (GA) does a thing where foster kids can ask for different gifts, with the goal of giving each kid 3 gifts they specifically want (a small, medium, and big one). You can contribute directly to a foster in your county, or to a specific age, etc.

  68. NeonFireworks*

    Just the usual closure for the holidays. 2020 aside, my entire office usually goes out for lunch together and my sub-unit almost always has a party at someone’s house, but neither of those are happening this year. Which is fine – those are nice when they do occur, but I won’t complain about simply getting to lock my office and leave for a bit.

  69. LDN Layabout*

    A restructure! Which is always fun.

    Luckily I am off from the end of next week until the beginning of January and no one’s in the mood for either gathering in person, or festivities at all.

  70. NYC Taxi*

    Our company – No holiday party
    Our group – Our company required that we all be vaccinated, but we rented out the rooftop dining area of a nice restaurant and will have a late lunch/early dinner party for those who are still uncomfortable with indoor dining.

  71. hamburke*

    We went out to lunch, just the 3 of us, caught up on our families, talked shop, and exchanged some equipment. We did the same thing last year – even the same restaurant, bc we could reserve a private table. We’ve been remote since March 2020 and intend on staying this way permanently. In years past, we’ve gone to fancy restaurants for dinner and cocktails with our spouses.

  72. DivineMissL*

    Government office here. Normally we do a big potluck lunch, but that’s out. Last year we did “grab and go” lunches in a bag for each employee. This year, the boss has said each office can do their own thing (so, smaller groups who already share office space) and have 90 minutes to “close” their office for either an off-site or on-site lunch. But, we have to stagger the days/times so not all the offices are closed at the same time. I think some folks are doing a cookie exchange. That’s it as far as I know.

  73. Dr. BOM*

    My company is doing four days of holiday lunch at the office. You have to be fully vaccinated and the expectation is to wear masks when you’re not eating.

  74. Lily Rowan*

    Extra time off and a Zoom “party,” which they should just call an awards ceremony. It will be nice to see who gets the awards, but it will not be a party.

  75. ahhh*

    We’ve put a table in our office area. The office is supplying snacks, everyone can bring in their homemade goodies. We can pick throughout the day. From Thanksgiving through New Years we get the last hour of the day to just sit and chat. I think they are catering in lunch the week before Christmas.

  76. Filosofickle*

    Ours will be in-person celebrations at our various locations, and the company will pay to fly you to it and put you up. Honestly I’m surprised by the scale here — IMO group parties + encouraging air travel for a purely social event is a lot right now! My company does have strong pandemic policies letting those of us who do not wish to travel or attend in-person events opt out so it’s definitely not required. My team is doing virtual events (we’re almost all perma-remote anyway). I suppose this should be the best worlds — those who want to can, and those who don’t are protected. But it feels weird with winter and omicron just spinning up.

  77. Lizabeth*

    Mine had an in-person party last Friday at headquarters on the East Coast. A lot of us are working remotely spread out over the country. When I declined the e-invitation I got crap from the head of the company for not attending. HE SENT THE E-INVITATION 3 FRICKIN’ TIMES and I declined every.single.one. Finally, he asked why? I said I live too far to make the party. He said we’ll pay for you to fly up. I said due to the new COVID variant outbreak and the wackos acting out on flights there is no way, no how I’m getting on a plane right now. Maybe next year.

    I am counting the days that either my division goes under or I retire early.

    1. Lizabeth*

      That said they did send an $100 gift card for Thanksgiving and gave out the yearly bonus last week instead of waiting for the end of the year (in lieu of raises).

      From the heads of my division? Crickets…but they’re running the division into a black hole.

  78. Sabrina Spellman*

    There was an outdoor holiday party complete with warm beverages, food, and a fire pit. It was basically required that we attend one event this “season” so we all picked this, but attended fully masked unlike a majority of the somewhat small group in attendance. I neither ate nor drank and stayed away from as many people as possible to avoid catching something from those individuals who showed up for a good time without any precautions.

  79. Merci Dee*

    Every year, we get time off from Christmas Eve through New Year’s. We had traditionally been given hams for Christmas, but for the past couple of years they’ve given us gift cards to Honeybaked Ham so that we can choose whether we want the ham or a turkey, or some of their sides. We also get our annual bonuses a couple of days before Christmas.

  80. Midwest writer*

    There are only five of us and my boss is taking us to lunch, which is the same as normal years. Works for me!

  81. SushiRoll*

    They canceled the annual department (~50 people) lunch again since its too many people to get together, but this year, we are mostly back in-office (a few jobs went remote) and the smaller teams were allowed to plan their own things. Our group is going for drinks tonight.

  82. Memily*

    A friend just told me her team—who are spread out over the US—is doing a virtual gingerbread house decorating party. They were sent gingerbread house kits and are meeting over Teams (during the work day) to decorate them together. I thought that was a super creative idea!

  83. Hannah A.*

    My company held a holiday party in a large conference center with cocktail hour and then two buffet lines. No social distancing, no mask requirements. We do not currently have any vaccination requirements for employment, but we do have job sites (we’re construction) where clients require vaccines. Some people have them, but a shocking amount do not. I was hesitant to go, but I am fully vaccinated and boosted, so I felt somewhat safe and tried to keep as far away from people as was polite.

  84. Workplace Wendy*

    We’re doing an outdoor gathering at a local brewery on Friday afternoon with food and drinks. Nice way to end the work week.

  85. MissGirl*

    We’re having a lunch at work (vaccines required to come to the office) and a movie at a theater we’ve rented out. Everything is 100% optional as our workforce is mostly remote. For people outside the area, they can expense lunch and movie tickets.

  86. Aqua409*

    On a team level, yesterday, we did a Zoom holiday themed puzzle escape room.
    On a company level, the hints were that folks that are hybrid “in office” will get a gift box with unknown item(s) and they’ll be shipping out the same gift box to us remote team members.

  87. Cindy*

    Virtual party at the end of a workday, with a trivia game and prizes. Not exciting but fine. My company has been GREAT in handling the pandemic.

  88. Reg Reagan*

    Nothing, as is tradition. It’s hard to schedule something when a lot of people are trying to use up personal time before it goes away.

  89. Meg*

    We had a virtual mystery solving thing led by a team building company. It…was not personally my cup of tea. It also felt more Christmas-y than our usual party, which felt like a weird choice after a year of mandatory inclusivity trainings. At least it was during the work day.

    I think we had a great holiday party in the beforetimes. They tried to make it as non-Christmas centric as you can get for a December holiday party. It started at like 3:30 so people didn’t have to stay late, we went to a bar or restaurant nearby and there was an open bar, plenty of food (usually pretty heavy appetizers), and no activities. It was lovely!

    1. Meg*

      oh I should have also added…we always close the week between Christmas and New Year’s and we get bonuses. Those are separate from any party.

  90. DataSci*

    No big office-wide event, but then there wasn’t one in 2019 either. My manager is doing a survey to see what we as a team want to do with the allocated funds – choices are a Zoom get-together with sponsored takeout (the team is geographically distributed across 4 cities and 8 timezones, so a team-wide get-together isn’t an option), outdoor lunches with the local teams in each city, or just giving us the $ to dine with friends and family.

  91. Gingersnap*

    Covid? What Covid. We’re doing our usual lunch party with 150 people and pretending nothing’s wrong. So that seems….safe.

  92. Philly Redhead*

    In the Before Times, our department had a potluck lunch with an optional White Elephant gift swap. This was always held on the same day as the company-wide internal awards, which was a post-work-day party with catering, and teams usually went out after for drinks to celebrate the winners.

    This year, the awards ceremony is virtual, so we’re having a virtual lunch meeting to present the work we’re most proud of this year (I’m in marketing) with an optional “talent show.” Yay.

  93. Rara Avis*

    We do an end of year party in June instead of a holiday party. It was not held last June but a smaller version was held at the opening of year faculty meeting in August. (Normally it’s a big evening party with partners/spouses, but this was just employees.) The holiday party is usually sponsored by sunshine committee, but they decided not to gather this year.

  94. AnonymousBear*

    Mid-sized company (~100 employees) is back to having an indoors sit-down dinner this year. Glad I will be away on vacation and have an excuse not to attend. They just announced last week that fully vaxxed employees no longer have to wear a mask in the office if they don’t want to, and the dinner will follow those same rules. Starting in January we’re all required to be in the office 2x week, with a specified day being “preferred” for everyone. Guess we’re just skipping right over social distancing and pretending that this thing is over with …

  95. Venti vanilla latte breve*

    People keep quitting left and right, so…nothing. I am not a big fan of mandatory fun anyway, so I am kinda okay with doing nothing.

  96. Essentially Cheesy*

    I have ordered three catered luncheons that are served at our office for our 175 plant & office employees. For Thanksgiving besides the catered meal, we handed out $25 gift cards to everyone. Next week our Christmas observation will include a very nice catered meal and fancy blankets from our corporate.

    We are having a boxed lunch today as part of a quality celebration. We were supposed to have totes to hand out but they are delayed in shipping. Good thing the caterers are reliable.

    No offsite celebrations.

    1. Essentially Cheesy*

      And yes there is enough space for social distancing. People are required to wear masks except when eating their meal. We have so much space in our front office that our production employees have no problem spacing out. I also ordered tables & chairs and have them spaced out accordingly.

      Several years ago it used to be all cubicles that had marketing, sales, and customer service employees – but they all moved to Chicago between 2006 – 2009 or so, so there is a lot of open space in the front office.

      We have not had any issues with Covid spreading at work, at all. People have gotten sick outside of work. Fingers crossed that it stays out of the office.

      1. Essentially Cheesy*

        And yes despite all of the work (I feel like I do it ALL BY MY SELF UGH), it is still nice that we have employer sponsored meals and gifts at least monthly in the fall.

  97. Spaceball One*

    We had a virtual holiday party with a virtual DJ. I wasn’t sure how it could possibly work, and I had some issues with my video settings so I had to keep my camera off, but there were games and prizes and joking and it was actually a LOT more fun than I expected. I was very impressed, management was there, everyone was pleasant, they held it to an hour. Well done. :)

  98. Anon for this*

    Last year they did the virtual care package thing. Wasn’t bad honestly and I think there were even options to choose from. This year we get 50 dollars pre tax added to our paycheck… When in pre-covid years they would spend significantly more so it does seem a little hm.

  99. Susie*


    We have 2 people retiring Dec. 31st and they are having retirement parties, so I guess that’s all the partying we’ll do this year. But I think I’m ok with that.

  100. OyHiOh*

    We’re doing nothing. We’re a grant-funded non-profit but more importantly, in the last couple months we’ve received some big grants and need to spool up the programing those grants are supposed to fund. The org is doubling in size (need humans to run the programs!) and none of us frankly have the bandwidth to plan or attend an event. Additionally, by design, most of our staff work remote/from home, scattered across a region that amounts to close to a quarter of our state. Asking some of them to drive a couple hours just to attend an organizational event would be tone deaf.

    I’m fine with it. My festival (Hanukkah) is over and done; I’m good until New Year’s Eve.

    1. OyHiOh*

      Oh, and also, our ED gave us a bonus long weekend right before the flurry of grant awards started. Two paid days off that didn’t count against PTO. That happened well before the party season officially kicked off, but it was welcome, appreciated, and needed.

  101. orange you glad I didn't say banana*

    Zoom “party” tacked on to the end of a monthly update meeting; party included gift card drawings (kindly donated by our VP, gotta give him credit for that) and an in-home baking demonstration from a colleague which was….interesting. Amusing, at least. He’s a very entertaining colleague, and it was a bit like watching a cooking show, but the part where they invited us all to pre-purchase ingredients and cook along with him didn’t go over so well….because most of us are back in the office and can’t easily make rice krispy treats from our desks.

    I appreciate the thought and that they tried to do something, but at this point morale is already extremely low, and it probably would have been better to do nothing at all.

  102. ThatGirl*

    We’re having some virtual parties – there’s one tomorrow, and we all got sent cookie decorating kits to our homes as an activity to go with it – but there’s also some in-person stuff happening for people who are able/willing to be in the office.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Here’s a question – my small team (all vaccinated) was going to have a lunch next week, but my manager got breakthrough covid (mild, nobody else exposed) so it’s been postponed. I bought a white elephant gift. What do I DO with it? (it’s hot cocoa mix and a holiday mug, so very Christmas themed.)

      1. Rockette J Squirrel*

        Give to mail carrier, treat a stranger in passing?
        I make masks and give them away (over 2100 since April 2020) and if I see someone with a mask on, worn correctly, I tell them I’m the Mask Fairy, and would like to gift them a mask: mine are double layered 100% cotton, fitted w/nose bracket, in fun prints, adjustable elastic. People are surprised and pleased to have a treat – especially in the Current Times. Use your treat to make someone happy!

  103. LadyProg*

    They gave us more days off for free, and that’s it, and I much more prefer this over the wonky attempt to send us food and have zoom calls from last year!!

  104. Ozzie*

    I think our company-wide stuff is still canceled, but my branch is doing a holiday lunch next week, on-site, at our warehouse location. Participation is “not required” but the director wants “maximum attendance”. Which is all well and good for most of the staff, who are there at least some days of the week – but no arrangements for those of us who are still working from home.

  105. Governmint Condition*

    In our case? Figuring out how to reimburse employees who laid out a deposit on a catering hall that may have to be forfeited due to cancellation. (Government employer, so we pay for our own parties.)

  106. disgruntledpotato*

    My non-profit is having a holiday party immediately after work on Friday…but no partners/spouses, etc are allowed. Very awkward. Will be appearing and leaving.

  107. Lore*

    We always close from Christmas Eve to New Year’s and they extended the break
    to begin 12/20. Which will be great once I survive next week. The downside is that we all spend late November and early December trying to coax project schedules into a shape that means other people in the process can do productive things while we’re closed, and now most of that is now going to instead have to happen in the first week of the new year.

  108. Not Your Mother's Principal*

    Our parent group organized drinks and appetizers at a local Mexican restaurant for 120-ish employees and their +1. Indoors. For two hours. With eating and drinking, so minimal mask wearing.
    I’m not looking forward to it, but I’ll have to make an appearance.

  109. You Can't Pronounce It Anyway*

    We usually close down for a 2 hour lunch, catered with a local musical group. However, do to the uptick in positive cases, they have cancelled this year. They were already contracted with a local restaurant, so we are all getting $10 gift cards to said restaurant. I plan to give mine to a guy here who has been a big help to me this year. Let him double his gift and take his wife out.

  110. Nicki Name*

    A structured Zoom party, like last year. We were all mailed supplies for an activity ahead of time, and then there were professional hosts guiding us through the activity and some trivia challenges. It was actually pretty fun!

  111. Gail Davidson-Durst*

    The company is doing a meal indoors at a restaurant. But it’s OK! They have a list of Covid-19 controls with the invite: they ENCOURAGE vaccination and following masking guidelines. OH WAIT, that’s not any controls at all, because the very people most likely to be plague rats will ignore all the encouragement in the world. Hard pass from me.

    However, my department set up a backyard/screened porch shindig at a manager’s house (he had a bunch of cool construction done and has been wanting to show it off to the work crew), with our director hiring a personal chef to cook for us all. It’s nice, and I’m sure my known caution was taken into account when they planned it. <3

  112. Information Goddess*

    Two full weeks of themed dress up days (no, I don’t work in an school), an optional white elephant exchange and a “covid potluck” which apparently is everyone brings individually packaged store bought things. I wasn’t going to participate until it was announced they’ve decided to cater in sandwiches–so now I’ll bring bags of chips or pop or something and probably eat in my car because after the last year, I don’t want to be in a room with my maskless co-workers.

  113. Health Insurance Nerd*

    Nada. Last year instead of a party we all got boxes full of company branded swag- it’s was essentially someone cleaning out our supply closet and saying “here is a giant box of paperclips and other garbage you don’t want with our company logo on it”. Happy holidays!

  114. Eva*

    My company ostensibly asked us what we wanted to do, and then a few hours later (maybe a day, but definitely not enough time to have actually solicited any substantial feedback) announced an in-person get together that was less than a week away from the day they announced it.

    That’s it, nothing else, no additional virtual option for people who can’t make it, no extra nice anything for everybody. Just “if you want to come and mingle with some cheap finger foods in the middle of a new variant of a disease we’ve all been avoiding for years come on over and if not then who cares about you?”

    Honestly my response if I’d had time to answer their email about what employees wanted to do would have been “take the money you’d spend on some kind of half-assed holiday party and put it towards bonuses for our facilities team that has been in the office this entire time and were chronically underpaid anyway.” I don’t even care about a holiday party, it’s lipstick on a pig at this point.

  115. Midwestern Communicator*

    My team is doing a virtual happy hour (we’re small so it’s fun!) and then our division sent out “snack magic” boxes where we got to choose what snacks we wanted. I’m really excited about it!!

  116. NicoleT*

    We are getting an extra $100 in our paycheck this week as a holiday gift to spend as we wish.
    There is also a virtual (on Zoom) holiday party with door prizes, a caricature artist, and games. Not sure how that will go…

  117. Re'lar Fela*

    I work for a Jewish human services agency, so we do an annual Festivus celebration (complete with an anti-airing of grievances exercise). We are back in the office on a hybrid model with a building-wide mask mandate in place, so we are doing BYO-lunch Festivus in the board room.

  118. Liv*

    I’m in the UK and my team’s Christmas party has been changed to a virtual thing one afternoon because of growing Omicron cases here and the new WFH announcement that came from the Prime Minister last night.

    Not that I was planning on going to the Christmas party anyway. I’ve only been in the team 3 weeks, and the party was in London (I’m based 3 hours away in Manchester). So I’ll show my face in the Teams party and then dip out!

  119. Pauli*

    Virtual craft-making party (optional, after work). They mailed us kits for a project and we’ll all meet up virtually with an instructor on the day of the party. It’s a little cheesy, but I think it’ll be fun.

    We were going to do something in person, but then had a little covid scare in the office just before Thanksgiving, so no one wanted to meet up at a bar or whatever anymore. I’m just as happy to stay home too.

  120. Corporate Lawyer*

    Low-key, completely optional potluck lunch at the office, and you have to be vaccinated or show a recent negative COVID test to get into the building. When I say optional, I really do mean optional – no silent judging of people who skip it.

    1. Corporate Lawyer*

      I’ve been very happy with how my company has handled the pandemic, with plenty of flexibility for employees to work wherever and however makes sense for them and their families, and this no-pressure holiday gathering is an example of that culture.

  121. TastefullyFreckled*

    We’re on a hybrid schedule: 2 or 3 days in the office, the rest WFH – but we’re all in the office on the same days.

    Our company is doing full-time WFH for the last two weeks of December, and a catered lunch / ugly Christmas sweater contest on our last in-office day before then.

  122. Slippy Toad*

    For some stupid reason, even though they’ve been pretty good about pandemic stuff, they’re cramming all 100+ of us into a space that comfortably holds about 60 for an hour and a half of presentations (that most of us won’t be able to even see or hear because of how the room is set up) and to hand out service awards and whatever cheap gift we’re getting. It’s a really busy time at work and local case counts are skyrocketing, so none of us are happy about it. Plus they scheduled it at the last minute so a lot of meetings had to be rescheduled to accommodate our mandatory attendance at this stupid thing.

  123. WFH is all I Want*

    Leadership is trying to ram through holiday parties next week in anticipation of being told the latest variant is stopping us from gathering. Our admins were just told today that they have to have something organized for 100+ people for each office location (one of them called me crying) and it’s just the worst reasoning ever.

    I’m not going. So many of us have unvaccinated kids. Mine (5 yes old) has only had his first shot.

    Our morale is in the toilet already. I think we’d be better served by sending everyone a $100visa gift card and a nice holiday email message.

  124. 36Cupcakes*

    My semi- covid denying boss had scheduled a dinner for tonight and now we are all in various states of testing after a coworker tested positive on Sunday so it’s it been canceled. I wasn’t going anyway.

    Not sure if we will be doing something now. We will get cash bonuses at some point which will be nice.

  125. QuinleyThorne*

    Every year we do a brunch potluck where everyone either brings a brunch item or donates some money toward next year’s potlucks, and the building manager caters barbecue from a local restaurant on top of that. So we’ll be doing that again this year, we’ll just be set up in the parking lot instead of the conference room. We did the same thing for Thanksgiving, and the only noticeable difference (aside from the change of scenery) was there were less people. Part of that is due to a lot of folks retiring in the past two years, many of whom were fixtures of the office having been here for 20+ years. The other part is just a majority of the office working remotely and feeling less inclined to come, whether due to childcare or commuting issues. Most who came to the Thanksgiving potluck were folks who are out in the field as part of their regular duties, so even if they aren’t in the office they’re usually out and about anyways.

  126. Ampersand*

    Catered, indoor lunch for the entire office (of 50ish people) at a restaurant reserved for the occasion. While the sentiment is nice, it seems like a poorly thought out idea given our office includes people who are unvaccinated by choice and who will be attending.

    Several of us have declined to attend. At least it was optional and they’re understanding about those of us who won’t be there.

  127. quill*

    Giving us the 24th through the 1st off. :)

    (Okay, so there’s a masks-on santa coming in but that’s for people with kids.)

  128. BayCay*

    Mine does a holiday luncheon that gets catered. Which might sound lame except it is usually good food and casual, get to chat with coworkers and student workers are also invited.

    I like it MUCH better than my last office, which always hosted an awkwardly intimate holiday party at the bosses’ house, with kids in attendance. One year, we played a name the celebrity game (where you describe the celebrity without saying the name and people guess) and a coworker of mine yelled out “CHILD MOLESTER.” The celebrity was Michael Jackson.

  129. Cookies for Breakfast*

    The extremely fancy in-person party the company arranged to make up for having missed out on 2020 got cancelled with 2 weeks’ notice. The theme they chose was great, but I wouldn’t have gone anyway (hoping to be able to see my family for Christmas, after missing out on 2020, so I’m staying indoors as much as I can).

    Last year we had a virtual party on a Friday afternoon and it worked really well. It was a) during working hours, removing the pressure to stay out late; and b) very relaxed and casual, which was a nice change from some very over the top celebrations in past years. Looks like nothing like that will be happening this year, even as a replacement for the cancelled night out. In the spectrum of festive excitement I’m pretty close to the Grinch, but could have used the distraction, after another whole year of continuous kicks in the teeth from this job.

  130. JustaTech*

    On-site lunches and gift cards.
    The plan in the summer was for each site to have a “proper” holiday party (at some kind of off-site venue, dinner and drinks and dancing or something). But then the budget for my site was reduced for dumb reasons, and one of the other sites asked around and the staff said either that they weren’t comfortable going to a party like that, or that they would want to wait and see the COVID situation before deciding if they wanted to go. The other site was excited about their party, but couldn’t find a venue.

    So each site ended up deciding to do a fancy-ish lunch on-site with some silly games and then use the rest of the budget for gift cards. And given the changing COVID situation it looks like this was the smart decision.

    1. JustaTech*

      To clarify, we’ve been open (more or less) the whole time because we manufacture a medical product. My site is pretty small (13 people on my floor?) and while we don’t know our exact vaccination rate, it’s above 90%.

      For the Holiday lunch I’d be amazed if we got 40 people total (in the big lunch room) and a lot of those people work the phones, so they won’t all be in at once. And even though it’s not required anymore I’d say about a third of folks wear a mask every day.

      My boss has floated taking our team (max 6 people) out for lunch (our city requires vaccine cards anywhere that serves food or drink inside), but that’ll depend on both COVID and work.

  131. Lucille B.*

    Like last year, we’re not flying in remote employees for our usual holiday party. We are going to do a small, outdoor lunch at our main office with an optional gift exchange.

  132. This Old House*

    Apparently a last-minute lunch/party that will somewhat approximate pre-COVID parties. They moved it to the largest space on campus “to be safe” and I think are looking at an alternative to the typical buffet. It’s probably not actually safe, but since we’re already required to be in the office every day, breathing each others’ air, at least we’ll get a sandwich out of it.

  133. Necronomnomnomicon*

    Nothing :/ We all work remotely, there’s only a handful of us; one colleague is in another state, and the other is a family friend of the owner/boss, so they’ll probably just have a nice dinner in the off time. I like to live vicariously through people that do have office holiday parties, so I hope you all get to eat, drink, and be merry!

  134. Alfalfa Alfredo*

    It was just changed to a virtual party where we all get to sit in our individual cubicles and participate in one large Zoom call. During work hours so a) not optional and b) super disturbing to those of us who sit near us and aren’t in the department. Also after traditional lunch hours so there’s not even a free box lunch to eat.

  135. Sharkie*

    Nothing. We normally have a huge fancy party, but management is nervous about the legality of asking +1 for proof of vaccination to this private event, so they canceled everything. A week before the party. After we all spent $100 on dresses and suits and people got childcare.

    1. pancakes*

      That is such a strange thing to worry about, or make a pretense of worrying about. Hosting a private event doesn’t oblige the host to let anyone who wants to attend in. It never has. The general public has no more right to attend a private workplace party than anyone walking down your street has to invite themself into your living room to watch TV with you.

  136. Ros*

    It’s been a busy year and everyone has been working super hard, and parties are not actually recommended here right now.

    … So I offered people extra paid days off as recognition that the year has been rough, that they’ve kept the company together, and that they’re appreciated – and since we can’t celebrate together, they should take the time and celebrate anyway. Seems to be going over well with the team, overall!

  137. STG*

    I work in government so ours are usually very small and zero cost to government. We usually do a ‘holiday potluck’ and then one of those white elephant steal/trade kind of games with small gifts.

    Those have largely been cancelled but this year we are doing a modified version.

    The senior management team is buying sandwiches for everyone from a local sub shop and we are doing a secret santa. I think the idea was to reduce the amount of contact that we’d have with eachother. We’ve all been back in the office since Jan/Feb so I’m pretty comfortable with this idea.

  138. Not really a Waitress*

    This is my second holiday season with my company. Last year we did not have parties, but they did send to each of us a nice gift box. The company is food related so they worked with one of our suppliers to send to each of us a gourmet box with pasta, oils, chocolates, etc. There was also a nice blanket in there my son promptly took and it is now in his dorm room. The box easily weighed 30 lbs and was filled with stuff.

    It was probably the nicest Holiday gift I have received from a company. ( and I have worked for several over the past 33 years). They have already sent out the email reminding us to make sure our addresses are updated in the system for this year.

  139. Ye Olde New Englander*

    My employer, a mid-size university, is having it’s large party in-person, indoors, but I RSVP’d no today. My very small team, only 5 of us, is having lunch together in the office.

  140. AnonForThis*

    Our DEI Committee is doing an outreach thing, sending all staff a token gift with info about the committee’s mission and what it’s been doing. Great, right? Except for one minor detail….

    They’re attaching the information to candy canes. Because the DEI Committee sending Christmas candy to a workforce that includes a high number of Muslim staff is just such a FANTASTIC look! *facepalm*

    1. Not Today*

      The goyim just cannot.let.go.

      Also, I’m going to take a wild leap and guess that everyone on the DEI committee celebrates Christmas.

  141. STLBlues*

    My company planned a large, extravagant party for next week. We’re waiting on an expected email cancelling it, due to the UK’s newly instituted Plan B policy. So far though, everyone’s pretending it’s still on.

  142. Oofff*

    Mine is holding a drunken party fest. The CEO basically wants everyone to know it’s open bar and to “have a good time”. I will not be attending and have since resigned because of a whole slew of other things. I should probably write in to AAM.

  143. Maggie*

    Our 50% vaccinated (ergh) workforce is having a full freaking holiday party at a restaurant that is owned by a buddy of our owner’s. The restaurant promised our owner that they won’t check vaccine cards as legally required by our city.

    I am so thankful that I am giving my notice today.

    1. allathian*

      How awful. Can you report the restaurant to a supervising health authority? They’re putting their customers at risk, especially if your company isn’t large enough to merit hiring the whole restaurant for a private event. I’d be livid if I went to a restaurant, had my ID and vaccine card checked at the door, and then found out later that other people were able to enter without the same precautions.

      Congrats on your impending freedom! I sure hope your next employer is more sensible.

  144. Amber Rose*

    We did a socially distanced company lunch on the main floor. It wasn’t exactly festive what with all the equipment we had to shove to the sides of the room, but the space is large enough we could spread everyone out, we had everyone sit and staggered their access to food in another room, and we did a prize raffle and a trivia/name the tune game. The food was all individually wrapped by the catering company but it was fantastic. Turkey, ham, stuffing, salad, potatoes, and yule logs for dessert. Everyone got the company standard grocery store gift cards and a small, silly gift bag with a chocolate bar, these adorable snowman Lego kits and a pair of the most hilariously bright, tacky socks I could find.

    I’m proud to announce that I am in possession of one of the first official Company Trivia Champion medals, because I recognized Octopus’s Garden by The Beatles and that pushed our team points just far enough ahead to win.

    We put months of effort and planning into making it as enjoyable a time as we could, despite restrictions, and I think everyone managed to enjoy themselves.

  145. Cat G*

    All employees at my company are required to be vaccinated against Covid and provide proof of vaccination in the form of a copy of their vaccine card.

    Our Christmas party will be held at an outdoor holiday light show / zoo and there are two options for those that want to gather to eat/drink – an outdoor venue w/heat and an indoor venue.

  146. Talvi*

    Pretty similar to last year, actually – we’re getting lunch catered (ordering from a restaurant, with lunches packaged individually rather than pot-luck style). I believe they’re planning on reserving the building’s main cafeteria for us this year, for those of us who are comfortable with that, but we’ve been told from the outset that we are free to take our lunches away to one of the other lunchrooms or to our desks if we are not comfortable with eating as a group.

    (For context, being double-vaxxed is mandatory at my employer, and we’ve been working in-person all along as our work cannot be done remotely.)

  147. Justme, The OG*

    Apparently absilutely nothing. In the Before Times we had a potluck and cookie contest but those are not on the calendar for this year.

  148. Tea Pots R Us*

    Shutting down entirely for 10 days so everyone gets paid leave (not taken from pto) to rest after the 600 some days of March 2020.

  149. Elizabeth Proctor*

    We’re a small all virtual team across multiple time zones (including CET). We’re having a virtual gathering and I’m mailing people a cookbook (carefully selected based on one of the things we’re working on) and a $75 visa gift card.

  150. Anoner*

    I’m in the UK. We had a team meeting planned for yesterday and were going to go for lunch together then have some drinks. But even before the government brought in plan B we’d already decided to move to virtual. It was the right choice, but it would have been my first time seeing most of my team since Feb 2020 (been out for drinks outside with some of them when it was warm enough) and I’m gutted not to see them (but I definitely wouldn’t have felt safe to go).

    But it did mean we didn’t get the early finish for the party for the second year in a row. We’re a public sector org so we don’t get bonuses and this year only the very lowest paid people in the org got a pay rise (none of my team) and it really would have been nice to get an early finish as a thank you for all our hard work. Hey ho.

  151. Steph*

    No gathering or party, but something small sent to our homes. Last year it was a box of delicious cookies from Milk Bar, and I’d be thrilled with something like that again.

  152. Meganly*

    My small team is doing a small holiday happy “hour” (it’s two hours in the schedule) tomorrow over Teams. We’re scattered all over the east US, so this is the easiest way to get together. Our company as a whole is doing a charity toy drive, and they’re probably going to send us Amazon gift cards that are $100 or $150.

  153. Robin Ellacott*

    We (pre-COVID) always did a nice buffet dinner at a hotel. Last year we cancelled and paid everyone the cost of the dinner. This year we cancelled and gave everyone an extra paid day off.

    But for those of us working in the office we are doing a secret Santa and a rather cautious potluck.

  154. Aphrodite*

    A two-hour potluck luncheon with a Secret Santa where you bring a wrapped gift, a good one, that cost no more than $20. There is also an Ugly Holiday Sweater contest for those who want to participate. It is all voluntary.

    I don’t normally like this but the (relatively new) VP of our section–we are a community college–has set some nice boundaries for it so I decided to do it. I am making Salad on a Skewer and bringing a box with a nice bottle of wine, some gourmet assorted crackers and two cheeses, all from Trader Joe’s and maxing out at $20. I feel good about it, actually.

      1. Wisteria*

        Some googling revealed vegetable salad ingredients, including lettuce, on a kabob-style skewer. Variations include wedge salad skewers, Greek salad skewers, you-name-it salad skewers, as long as it involves chunks. Macaroni salad skewers would probably not work. Potato salad skewers could be a thing.

        Skewering lettuce strikes me as a lot of work.

      2. Aphrodite*

        It’s my own variation. Cut a grape or cherry tomato in half, crosswise. Put one half on a medium-size skewer. pushed to the end. Take a pitted, very dry, very wrinkly Moroccan olive and add it next, pushing it down. Then. add a small round mozzarella ball, a square chunk of ripe but firm mango and finally finish it off with the other. tomato half.

        Pour a flavored (blueberry or something else?) olive oil and good balsamic vinegar over them. If you want the oil and vinegar to stay as one (maybe with some salt and pepper added) either some mayonnaise or mustard will do that job. I suggest doing a bit of experimenting on the dressing ahead of time. Of course. you can also put out a bowl of oil and vinpoegar with some minced herbs or spices and let people dunk their skewer in it (once, before they eat it). It’s pretty tasty and fun.

  155. Selina Luna*

    My school is doing a catered lunch, in the afternoon after we send all the amped-up high school students back to their parents. I don’t normally think this, but I’m so happy to hear that we’re having Olive Garden.

  156. KaciHall*

    Theoretically we’re getting two extra PTO days the weeks around Christmas, and a couple Fridays we can take half days. But since my department is down to 4 (of an original 7) and another person’s last day is 12/22, I REALLY doubt those happen.

  157. YRH*

    Delaying our celebration until February in hope of it being in person and closing a couple of hours early on the 23rd and 30th.

  158. Pobody’s Nerfect*

    They’re spending way too much money on an in-person indoors no-masks-required no-rapid-test two holiday parties on two different days. No thanks, not for me, I won’t be going. (We should be using those funds to help hire much needed replacements for staff shortages.)

  159. Lizzo*

    Virtual happy hour on the last day we’re all “in the office” (everyone responsible for our own treats and bevs) + deciding to close the (virtual) office the week between Christmas and New Year’s + WE ALL GOT RAISES. Doesn’t get any better than this.

  160. Anonymous Luddite*

    BC (Before Covid): half day PTO and buffet lunch at Outback Steakhouse with two drinks.
    Now: half day PTO.
    Given the number of anti-vaxers and covid-hoaxers I work with, I’ll take it.

  161. RatherBeDancing*

    Our branch organized a couple food-trucks to come by and gave everyone a voucher for lunch. They also handed out branded toolkits and cookies. At the group level we are going to a batting cages/sports games place for fun and dinner all together. It’s a large enough space so we can spread out. So looking forward to being able to celebrate the year in person and together with my team in a safe way!

  162. WorkerBee*

    No company wide virtual holiday party like last year’s but…they announced a global “associate appreciation bonus” this week.
    $10,000 (or local currency equivalent)
    For *all* employees (whether you’ve been there 25 years or two weeks).
    Extraordinarily happy and grateful and impressed. It’s totally in character for the culture here, but still shocked by the amount and the lack of restrictions. Hooray!

  163. Xenia*

    1. Everyone got $200 worth of ‘appreciation points’ to spend at the online store our company has. There’s a lot of good stuff on there from Apple gift cards to Viking cookware sets in a wide range of price points.

    2. The office is closing down from Christmas to New Years. We do have to use 3 days of PTO, which isn’t great, but we get 5 weeks of it and we’re coming up to our ‘blackout’ period for PTO (accountants, busy season) so I personally don’t mind the chance to lower my balance so none gets wasted.

    3. A masked ice skating event, today, during office hours with ice skating optional and plenty of hot drinks and nibbles.

    1. Xenia*

      Oh, and there’s an 8% raise across the board, for everyone including new hires, and not affecting the normal cycle of performance/seniority based raises

      1. LC*

        Hot damn, that all sounds awesome (minue the mandatory use of PTO but as you say, you get 5 weeks so it’s not so bad, especially if it won’t all carry over).

        Even before the raise, that sounds like a lovely way to do holiday season. Then an 8% (!) raise on top? That’s a gift that keeps on giving!

  164. Evaseswynd*

    We have a mandatory vaccine mandate at the office (a law firm located in 3 different cities), so the main office has opted for a modified version of our normal party at a hotel, with only the afterparty portion removed. The hotel is also required proof of vaccination to access facilities. I work in the most remote office and we’re being flown down to the main office for the event, though most of our staff has opted out. All lawyers are going.

  165. just a dandy in the underworld*

    Getting the week between Xmas and New Year’s off for the first time.

    Some silly online stuff like sending in pictures of your WFH desk decorated for the holidays.

    Such a relief.

  166. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    We’re doing a company-wide hackathon next week. After the final presentations on Friday we’re just taking the last 2 hours for a big virtual cocktail party with breakout rooms. (All mostly WFH, but some of the local people might go to the office that day).

  167. christine c*

    We’re having after-work drinks and appetizers on the partially enclosed heated patio of a local restaurant. The restaurant requires all patrons to be vaccinated, and all of our (small) staff team is.

  168. AvonLady Barksdale*

    A Zoom party and… I think that’s it? I’m kind of sad about it, because I’m new (we’re all remote) and was really looking forward to an in-person holiday gathering, which would have meant a trip to HQ and (expensed) drinks with my boss. He and I are both really into food and cocktails so it would have been epic.

  169. Bubarina*

    We’re going to see the holiday lights at the zoo. It will be all outside, so people can feel more comfortable gathering. The zoo is requiring timed-entry tickets, so the crowds should be fewer in number than in pre-pandemic years. They’re going to buy food and beverages (including alcohol) for everyone, and all of our families were invited to join as well.

  170. Dust Bunny*

    Nothing? They started giving us the full week between Christmas and New Year’s off a couple of years ago since it’s a slow time, anyway. We got bonuses. We’re not doing in-person parties.

    Our parties were nice but not huge bashes, anyway, and everybody has (outwardly, at least) been super reasonable about COVID accommodations so there hasn’t been any grousing. We’ve done bingo and word games and stuff over Zoom meetings for the few “parties” we have throughout the year.

  171. Always Push The Red Button*

    We had an early celebration last week at our new corporate site that will be opening soon. It was an outdoor wine/cocktail reception that was fully optional. The company is also giving us the last week of December off in addition to normal vacation hours and sending everyone a $100.00 gift card

  172. no it's totally fine i'm fine*

    well, there’s a holiday social for our board that staff would typically attend. past years this has included a sit-down dinner or catered reception. last year we did elaborate (and honestly, fun) gift boxes that we couriered to board members’ homes. this year it’s back to an in-person social. when we asked expectations for staff in-person attendance, we were met with “listen, we need to learn to live with this. i see tons of cars at target, so people are out and about!” and “i understand you need to do what’s best for you and your family, but if no staff come, that’s a problem.” oh, and it’s at a stuffy Club that we needed to find a sponsor to access, and includes a pretty strict dress code.

    clearly i’m here to vent, so i’ll also mention that people with decades of tenure (ie hundreds of hours of accrued PTO) keep referring to a holiday “break” that doesn’t actually exist for those of us who had to drain our PTO to have a child this year. so my gift to myself will be…extra alone time in the office to read aam! (upside-down smiley here)

    i am holding out hope that the last two years are going to change some things for the better–but not before we incur a good deal more burnout.

  173. Rosie*

    Pretty standard party at a place, three hours with apps and open bar. We chose a rooftop spot so at least it’s not indoors but I’m still not excited.

  174. CocoaFTW*

    The division I fall under at work is not having a party – our SVP wanted one, everybody else realized 200+ people in one room with food/drink was not worth it, exposure-wise. Instead, our team (less than 1/10 the size of the division) is doing cookie decorating and hot beverages/snacks indoors but with masks required when not sipping/snacking, and we’re getting the biggest space possible at our office, so we can spread out. Probably better than last year’s virtual stuff.

  175. FernieOH*

    The office isn’t doing anything official, as we’re still working remotely and not allowed to meet in person, but my manager organized a dinner for our team at a restaurant. They stressed that no one should feel compelled to attend, but I was the only one who opted out. I’m hoping this does not have a negative effect on my career, and I resent that I was put in the position to have to decide.

    1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      How is it not a violation of the rules if you’re “not allowed to meet in person”? This is baffling to me.

  176. Random Biter*

    *My* thought (when asked) was a simple but good catered lunch (we’re a small, family owned business in the construction trades) then let everyone go home with pay. The owner’s thought of a $50 gift exchange (yes, you read that right) fortunately got shot down, but instead of the lunch then off with pay the sons decided we should have a late afternoon (4 p.m.) meal then go bowling. Yeah…no. For various reasons it’s not been a popular choice but what are you gonna do?

  177. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    We’re a virtual company anyway. They’re doing a Holiday zoom party thing next week and we always do secret santa (optional). Usually the bosses send everyone a gift, not sure what it will be this year, it’s always kind of random what they choose to send.

  178. Vistaloopy*

    I work for a (mostly) virtual company, where most of us are permanent work-from-home and have never met each other, so no parties. But last year they sent us gift cards for Christmas and our birthdays, but so far nothing this year! (At least, I didn’t get anything for my birthday last month.) Oh well, it’s an extremely flexible job that I can do from home with minimal oversight, so no complaints!

  179. Keyboard Cowboy*

    We’ve got a handful of virtual things, some with kits (last night I decorated cookies) and apparently tomorrow we have a virtual party with celebrity guests……at 10am. Yeah, no thanks, too early for me.

  180. many bells down*

    We’re too busy this time of year to really plan anything so our belated holiday lunch will be in January. Restaurants here are required to check vaccine status so it’s not TOO bad to go out.

    1. many bells down*

      Also we close every year from Christmas day until New Year, and so does my spouse’s job, so we’re gonna sit on the couch and play a lot of video games that week.

  181. Unladen European Swallow*

    I’m in higher ed, in an office I joined (virtually) in the middle of the pandemic last year, towards the end of the summer. Last year was an hour of online cocktails/drinks, people chatting while drinking/holding drinks in their hand. This academic year, the campus is open (all classes are back in-person) and just about everyone is in the office on a hybrid schedule, either two or three days in, rest are WFH.

    My understanding is that in years past, the holiday celebration was a nice lunch out in the city/town here. Because of COVID, we’re not doing that but instead having an in-office celebration at the end of the work day (3-5pm). There will be hot chocolate bar and a cookie/snacks bar. There will be low key crafts for people to optionally participate in: felting, snowflake making, origami, coloring, etc. Basically, a way for people to hang out with some food and drink, as well as some optional activities to join in. I’m totally fine with this!

  182. Cordelia*

    My work is flying people in from all over our region-50 people or so and all vaccinated. They will have a big dinner with entertainment at a club one night and the second day is lunch at a winery with the Christmas party to follow. Luckily my schedule doesn’t mesh at all with the planned events so I am not attending! I’m so glad to have an easy out since I don’t drink, was just hired so don’t know anyone, and parties aren’t my thing. Time off and a bonus would be so much better!

  183. J*

    I’m in academia, and our campus has COVID-related rules preventing food at indoor campus events, and since we are not somewhere with warm weather this time of year, to my knowledge our annual department holiday party and the annual school holiday party are both canceled. Which is honestly completely fine with me.

  184. Bilateralrope*

    Dinner at a restaurant. We were told that we needed to be fully vaccinated and have a vaccine pass to show the staff because that’s what the law about our covid restrictions demands.

    We still had one person show up and ask if it was ok if he had only had one jab. We told him to leave. Later we found out he went and got his second jab while we were having dinner.

  185. Aitch Arr*

    Our usual Holiday Bonus ($500 for most employees; those hired after July 2021 get between $100-$300 depending on when they started)

    Our annual shutdown between Xmas and New Year’s which is granted as extra vacation so it doesn’t come out of people’s balances.

    A gift box from the CEO with branded items and goodies (a gym/tote bag, a cold/hot tumbler, chocolate truffles, tea).

    My boss (CHRO) usually takes us out for a team luncheon, but due to COVID we are having it catered and eating in the executive boardroom. We also do an optional gift exchange/Secret Santa.

  186. SoarHiy*

    We’re a small nonprofit with a core staff of 6. So we are having our usual luncheon of salads and a white elephant exchange before we close for 2 weeks for the holidays. We are an event hall and hosted a lot of corporate Christmas parties this year which has been really nice to see.

  187. LizB*

    My org is still fully remote, so we’re doing a virtual end-of-year party during the workday and then giving people the rest of the afternoon off. My husband’s company had their holiday party last night, indoors, in person, vaccination required. It seemed okay while we were there, but of course today I’m wondering if we made a huge mistake in attending.

  188. Brrrrr*

    Our Christmas Party was canceled a while ago, and in lieu the company is providing every employee with a catered “take & bake” meal to take home for next weekend. There are 3 entree options (turkey, beef, vegan); 2 sizes to choose from (family or couple); and optional wine or beer. If you don’t want or can’t use the meal it is donated to charity. It sounds lovely and I’m really looking forward to it! No cooking next weekend!

  189. LilPinkSock*

    All-sector lunch next week. I’m new to the company, so I don’t know what to expect, but folks are saying it was a nice event in 2019!

  190. Kate*

    Party cancelled, 1 additional day holiday on the 23rd (we were closed 24th anyway)

    We also got 0.5% of salary as a bonus for last year, paid in November (we don’t normally get bonuses at all)

  191. Anonymous in New England*

    My building is having a big get-together in a area that has just been stripped empty for renovation. Those of us whose seats are designated in that area will not be in the building, and there’s nothing for us.
    My husband’s company went back to a restaurant meal and they kept calling to find out if we are going if we are going if we are going. They know darned well we have a transplant recipient in the immediate family. The company spends a 1980s level of money on open bar and fancy food, so I think they’re startled that we’re passing. But they know darned well we have a transplant recipient in the immediate family.

  192. coffee is my friend*

    We get to pick from a cheesecake, chocolate cake, quiche, or fruit basket. It works – I know some people get them and then regift them. wish it was safe for our usual low key during business hours holiday party – missing the chance to catch up with people

  193. LC*

    – Online silent auction for charity (company purchased items that are actually pretty good, very wide selection of charities to choose from, company match on all donations whether through the auction or just a regular donation)

    – Department lunch at the office (we all chose our individual meals from a restaurant down the street and are going to eat in the giant conference room so we’ll have a fair amount of space)

    I’m not entirely sure what they’ve done previously, this is my first holiday here, but I think there was some kind of auction and a company gathering. We already get Christmas Even, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day (or the nearest weekend if on the weekend) off, I’m kind of hoping for some kind of bonus or something but not sure if that’ll happen.

  194. Oreo*

    Last year it was a 4 hour virtual event with a ‘year in review’ and speaker. This year they seem to have learned so it’s only 2 hours in the middle of the day but we have a hybrid workforce so it’s still via zoom. TBH I probably would’ve appreciated just being able to go home 2 hours earlier than usual but I’ll take the 2 hour zoom versus the 4 hour zoom. Maybe it was just me, but I honestly did not find it “fun” to do a year in review last year. Just brought up all the bad memories of March-onwards.

  195. Llama Wrangler*

    We’re 99% vaccinated and doing an indoor, evening holiday party (cocktail hour with snacks at a restaurant). No talk of canceling it since Omicron, and since it’s a week before Christmas I’ll probably go and leave my mask on the whole time.

  196. Moose*

    Like last year, my company isn’t having a celebration but sent us a small gift; our department is having a virtual Yankee swap/white elephant exchange that we planned on our own. My fiance’s company, though, is doing a regular holiday party. You have to be vaccinated to enter the building, and on top of that they’re requiring that everyone get rapid tests (that they pay for) the morning of and show negative test results to attend.

  197. nozenfordaddy*

    It occurs to me that I do not know… which I am going to assume means we’re not doing anything. Last year we had a happy hour teams call and played who is this baby picture and co worker trivia based on questionnaires/photos we submitted.

    Many of my coworkers were confused that the animal I would like to be is a sloth… which I still maintain makes perfect sense (their like 90% naps and eating, with great hair and nails what’s not to love?).

    My smaller work group is going to lunch and I will probably go even though they’ve decided on sushi and I don’t eat fish.

  198. Jean*

    My department is doing an opt-in luncheon and gift exchange during business hours. Very informal and totally voluntary. This is pretty much the same as what we’ve always done (with the exception of last year, when we were all still at home).

  199. Don’t judge me*

    We had an in person lunch followed by drinks (last week before restrictions here changed again). There were around 60 attendees – everyone tested before hand & I would be very surprised if anyone isn’t vaccinated.

    I’m not sure it was 100% the safest thing I have ever done but it was SO NICE because I’ve not seen some colleagues in over a year & they’re just lovely people. I had such a great time and managed to avoid the stinking hangover which usually follows said lunch (by… eating too much, which made me so full I had to stop drinking, but I still count that as success). They deliberately put it a few weeks before Christmas so that if anyone did need to isolate they could do so without affecting Christmas plans, but I’ve not heard of anyone being sick yet.

    We also have a virtual party this week and were sent hampers. I’m looking forwards to it! Last years was nice (although more tinged with sadness). I’m hoping this christmas I will get to see my family.

  200. TiffIf*

    My team is doing a virtual party during work (we’re in offices spread across the US, so it would be virtual even without Covid) which will likely be just some fun trivia games or something.

    The only thing I have seen for a company party so far is an ugly sweater contest–you submit a picture and then there’s voting and prizes so all virtual too. No idea if there will be anything else planned. Last year they gave everyone the opportunity to get something for their home office fully reimbursable up to $75 and the definition for “something for their home office” was quite loose (basically you could get anything).

  201. OtterB*

    We had lunch out at a nice restaurant, private room. This is our usual, skipped last year. Plus our choice of some options of gift cards.

  202. HotSauce*

    Not a thing & I couldn’t be happier. Last year they had a “12 days of Holiday Fun” event that I’m pretty sure no one really found fun at all. Trivia, Name that Tune, Scattergories, etc., all virtual. We were severely understaffed after medical leaves, furloughs & reductions eliminated a quarter of our staff and everyone was putting in long hours, but sure, let’s take an hour out of each day to play a game with 100+ people. It was predictably chaotic.

  203. WhompWhomp*

    It’s looking like nothing. Well, not nothing. They added a sweater contest to an already scheduled dept meeting on Teams. Not that we all want the Teams party they did last year but after a happy hour a few weeks ago that people said they loved being able to see people, we thought they’d at least open that option up

  204. Miss Muffet*

    We just held department parties, so they are smaller. In a large space, and part of it was outside so we were able to be unmasked for a bit (especially as we ate). It was just right, honestly. Careful and respectful of where people are (and our area’s mask mandate).

  205. Anat*

    My company held its holiday party as usual, and is a smaller venue than in 2019. (Yes, fewer people attended, but that venue was small enough that any kind of distancing must’ve been impossible.) Proof of vaccination was required of all attendees. No masking. I did not choose to attend.

  206. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    This year the company decided that each team will have their end of year party separately, and send a gift card like usual. Ours was lunch at an expensive restaurant.

  207. Elizabeth West*

    My company (Boomkaart Books):
    I’ll probably have a sale a bit closer to the holiday. I don’t have any employees so a holiday party is unnecessary.

  208. Franny*

    Party with a meal and drink tickets.

    Masks optional.

    Nevermind that only about 40% of my community is fully vaccinated.

    And there was no poll asking people whether they felt comfortable attending such an event or not

  209. Edith Cranwinkle*

    Everything is over Zoom this year, same as last year.

    We get a “holiday toast” zoom meeting where we supply our own drinks to toast this year’s increased workloads and burnout.

    We used to get the week between Christmas and New Year’s off with pay. However, the parent company who amassed BILLIONS in profit decided we didn’t need that this year. Any time off we get, we have to use vacation days for it. The fun thing about that is our vacation pay is doled out in our regular paychecks, so we end up not being “paid” for vacations. Which our schedules don’t support anyway. “But you get vacation pay, it’s in your paycheck!” you may be thinking. But again, increased workloads and no ability to enjoy any time off throughout the rest of year isn’t really a great way to show a corporation’s employees that they matter. Especially when they carried the corporation through the pandemic.

    This wouldn’t be so bad if the corporation in charge wasn’t filthy rich and could afford to treat its employees like actual human beings who have been going through a pandemic.

  210. Mostly managed*

    My company does the whole week off through New Years + is buying lunches for everyone the week beforehand (via a 100 dollar doordash gift card) as well as doing matching donations for charities if people donate. It’s really helped morale for people to know there’s a dedicated time off coming up!

  211. CoveredinBees*

    My partner’s company is closing the office entirely for the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s always a very quiet time of year and they already have “unlimited” vacation time, so I doubt that it’s actually costing the company anything but earning them loads of good will. No parties or events. They do stuff at other times of year that aren’t so busy with social events, which I honestly like and you don’t end up with things like Hanukkah Balls.

  212. A Feast of Fools*

    We had a holiday party yesterday. Box lunches were brought in from a chain deli and games were played. It all took place in a conference room with only one door and no social distancing or masks.

    Unvaxxed people on our team were there. Our company’s rule as of Dec 1 is that if you’re not fully vaxxed, then you’re masked the entire time except for a brief bite of food or quick sip while seated at your desk.

    I did not attend.

  213. Not Today*

    I’m expecting more of the same from last year — Zoom party not explicitly stated to be a Christmas party, but everything in the little envelope they sent out was explicitly Christmas stuff: tiny candy cane that got crushed, packet for Swiss Miss powder, Christmas bingo card, paper-and-popsicle-stick ornament craft project.
    Oh, and I don’t celebrate Christmas.

    My brother who works at a law firm got a party pack with fine foods and cocktail mixes, and a bartender showed all of them how to make the cocktails over Zoom. Sigh.

    1. Not Today*

      The highlight last year was winning a gift card in the bingo game, so at least I wasn’t entirely enduring it on my own dime.

  214. Yep*

    We are a large healthcare system. The system sent each employee a $30 gift card to purchase the system’s own branded items (e.g., shirts with logos, hats with logos, water bottles with logos) or donate the gift card to the system’s own foundation funds. Frankly, both choices sucked, so I donated the money.

    1. Not Today*

      I can’t help wondering if the party planners looked at their situation and thought “well damn we only have bad options, so let’s at least give them a choice of a couple” or someone actually thought those were valid holiday gifts for employees.

  215. RB*

    Not a peep out of my company — it’s as though they’re not even aware of the holiday. However, my team of four people got together at a restaurant for drinks and appetizers. But the party for the entire department is the one that people used to really look forward to. There would be 40 or 50 people there, and we would play games and have silly contests and such, and a full meal.

  216. Anonononononymous*

    I work in public health, so thank goodness no in person nonsense again this year. Our recent virtual staff meeting, where I’m sure my boss was planning something, got cancelled. I’m really hoping they aren’t able to re-schedule. Last year’s was pretty cringe.

    My partner’s company usually does a really swanky party, but it’s off again this year. They’re sending us a high-end goodie basket and doing something virtual during the workday soon. I’m really hoping that in -person party can be on again next year. It was fun getting really dressed up once a year and seeing everyone.

  217. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    Nothing that I know of. Hopefully nobody decides to have a Zoom party.

    I wouldn’t mind a small care package. My employer has sent those in the past. I thought they were well received.

  218. Pandemic Parenting is Miserable*

    We had a truly terrible year in which my beloved friend and colleague died unexpectedly this summer. We were a team of 4 and very close so it has been just so awful in every way. We are all getting substantial end of year bonuses (including to my colleague’s family, we earn bonuses well after work is completed), a $1000 wellness credit to be used on anything that makes us feel better, a nice embroidered Patagonia-eqsue jacket for us and 3-4 family members (however that is defined – marriage not required) and we are doing a dead week (DARK HUMOR) between Christmas and New Year. It still won’t be enough but it’s all we can do.

  219. whyblue*

    Virtual wine tasting. We each got sent a box with four different (full size) bottles of wine and then had a Zoom call with a wine expert who did a lovely job explaining all kinds of things related to wine. Since I am a one person household and don’t drink much, I cheated and opened only one bottle. The rest will make great gifts for friends and family . I am glad my company opted for a virtual event. They have been really good about handling COVID!

  220. Sparkly Librarian*

    I work for local government, so usually it’s a November/December “annual staff appreciation” brunch that is funded by the library Friends. The most “holiday”-like decoration is potted poinsettias, plus any reindeer sweaters that folks choose to wear. Last year we had an optional virtual team trivia contest (wasn’t bad) while many were still working from home full-time or part-time. This year we are all working onsite, everyone in the building wears face coverings by county order, and there is a vaccine mandate for city employees, so I am comfortable with the setup offered (will happen tomorrow):

    -Speeches and acknowledgements as usual, gathered in a high-ceilinged room, with everyone masked. This is slightly more risky than our day-to-day work, as we’re gathering a couple hundred employees from locations across the city. Pretty sure it’s being broadcast virtually at the same time.
    -Masked activities offered across two or three floors of the building (not sure on specifics, but it’s doubtful that the popular chair massage station will make an appearance this year; previously we’ve had ukulele lessons, hooping, karaoke, paper crafting, etc.).
    -Buffet laid out in the auditorium, with folks asked to mask until they reach their tables (outside or in a specific staff break room). There is also a to-go option for those who prefer that.
    -Optional gift exchange where you’ve drawn a name out of a hat last month and reveal your identity with the gift.

  221. Alfredo*

    Up until last year, my company rented out an event room for our agents, contractors, etc – think of it as a wedding reception with open bar. Last year we didn’t do anything as half of us were still working remotely. This year, the party turned into an employee (plus spouses) dinner. It was still nice.

  222. RosyGlasses*

    We are having our normal two day company meeting virtually again. I’ve ordered snack boxes with a small gift for everyone and we’re covering lunch for both days. Will try to add in some virtual social times but having our first in person happy hour for local folks for those that feel comfortable. We have folks that would like to do everything in person, but I tend to err on the side of being super careful with some of our staff not being vaccinated. But I do look forward to our in person meetings which culminate in a fun holiday dinner party for those that want to attend.

  223. Ukcleaner*

    I work in a private school so it’s not really a big celebration as our “year end” is July. But we are having a Xmas lunch tomorrow in the lunch hall during the workday. There is an evening party (still in the lunch hall but with a disco) in January but I’m not going to that one.
    Am in the U.K. so we are supposed to work from home if possible but for some reason the government are a bit reluctant to be too strict on office parties…

  224. Not So Merry and Bright*

    I work in a hospital, where we currently have 38 COVID positive patients, and we are….having a potluck. For an 80 person department. In the hospital.

    I took PTO that day.

    We also have a brand new CIO (this potluck was his genius idea) who seems hell bent on making a name for himself and has implemented several other ridiculous policies. Happy New Year!

  225. Michelle Smith*

    There will be or was an in-person alcohol-fueled event. Just like every other year, I will not be in attendance.

  226. Kat*

    They are delaying any celebration until after the holidays but I am guessing it will end up being something virtual.

  227. Food Trucks Are A Comin'*

    They’re bringing a bunch of food trucks to our parking lot after work, which seems like a nice way to keep things outdoors and safe, especially while eating. Although it’s unclear whether we have to pay for the food or not…

  228. GreenGirl*

    My department (30-35 people all WFH for the moment) is hosting a virtual party with a comedian performing. I’m really looking forward to it! Our larger group (150+, also all WFH) is having a virtual party next week with an ugly sweater contest. I think the leaders are really trying to keep everyone bonded and I appreciate it.

  229. Freelance Mentality*

    I made the leap and became a freelancer this year SO — effectively, I am an office of one. :) :)
    I think I will treat the office to a spa day. I bet nobody complains.

  230. Katrine Fonsmark*

    My department was treated to lunch at a nearby restaurant, but I am remote (in a different state) and although I was invited I wasn’t gonna travel there just for lunch.

  231. Venti vanilla latte breve*

    Last year, my (now former) company made us join an all-day Zoom call. They surprised some people by ordering lunch for them and having it delivered to their home. (Notice I said “some” people – not everyone got lunch.) They did send everyone a gift box of healthy snacks, which was pretty neat. I had already planned to give notice in January (I already had another job liner up), but this just confirmed to me that I needed to leave the company.

  232. Polly Gone*

    We’re having an afterwork gathering at a local watering hole; company is paying for heavy hors d’oeuvres, attendees are resp0nsible for their own alcohol (gov’t entity that could not pay for anything like booze).
    We had ordered a small personalized trinket (think tree ornament) but that was shot down by supply-chain problems (12/7 ship date was abruptly shifted to 12/20 ship date, putting delivery likely in late December).

  233. The Other Dawn*

    A catered luncheon for our building. We have four departments with a total of about 30 people. We’re all on a hybrid schedule so it will be nice to finally see everyone at once and chat. We also got a gift card for groceries, which is useful.

  234. Anonymous pineapple*

    Not sure about our many international locations. Our local site catered lunch (individually boxed) for a virtual all-hands this week and we might be getting some company branded swag either later this month or in January, depending on how shipping goes. Individual departments are having in-person holiday parties. No extra days off, but we get the 24th off this year since the 25th falls on a Saturday.

  235. louvella*

    My department will be doing “team-building” at a local animal rescue (I do not know exactly what this will entail) and then a daytime “party” in our office with catered lunch. I don’t feel great about being in space with them maskless (in the office, since people will be eating, at the animal rescue masks are required) but going because I haven’t been there that long and feel like I should take advantage of bonding experiences, considering they’re not common when we’re all working from home. We have the option of joining the party virtually but somehow I doubt that would be anything but awkward.

  236. kittymommy*

    Business as usual (pre-pandemic) which is the individual departments will all do some sort of party/lunch. Because we’re government the cost is employee paid but normally the directors pick up the main portion of the tab (entrees, etc.) with staff bringing sides (I was at one yesterday and no cheap-ass rolls were around!!). I just make my way around to different lunches and bring cake as my entrance fee.

  237. SelinaKyle*

    I was meant to be travelling to the office where all my team are based. The plan included some activities in the office and then they had booked out a crazy golf venue. I’m based in the UK so due to Plan B the party has just been cancelled.

  238. Kaboobie*

    We were going to have a party tomorrow (Friday) at a local Chinese buffet. However, we get tested for COVID every week, a mask mandate was just re-instated, and now the party has been cancelled with one day’s notice. I’m not all that bothered.

  239. Working Single Mom*

    Last year my company did a zoom-based trivia contest, which was hosted by an employee who regularly hosts trivia at a local pub. It was fantastic – it was run really professionally, we got to compete in teams in well-envisioned breakout rooms, people wore silly outfits, and best of all my team won.

    This year, we are having an OUTDOOR party. For 2 hours. In New England. We are encouraged to wear “our most festive outerwear” and post selfies to social media using a hashtag. I usually love workplace social opportunities but this sounds like a nightmare, but at least I’m unlikely to catch covid?

    1. Working Single Mom*

      Also due to shortened daylight hours it will be dark for most, if not all, of the party so I’m not sure how the selfies are even going to work.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        It finally snowed here and it was cold enough for the snow to stay. There is no way I’m attending an outdoor party unless they have a Burning Man size bonfire.

  240. I Ship It*

    The usual- a lunch out, door prizes, and the rest of the day off with pay. Nothing elaborate, and most of us go back to work as usual tomorrow.

  241. WhyAreWeForcedToCelebrateTheseHolidaysWhenTheyAreNotMyHolidays*

    More than half of my office is not Christian, yet we are being forced to confront Christmas all through our office, and I hate it. Why do offices insist on celebrating Christmas, when they do nothing for Iftars, Purim parties, Diwali, and all of the other assorted holidays throughout the year? There are 3 Christmas trees in an office of only 60 people, tinsel all through the office, blinking lights everywhere, even an avent calendar (which most of us really have no idea what it is). We don’t work for a church or a Christian organization. This is the fast route to alienate employees. I don’t throw my holidays into other people’s faces so why do I have this shoved into mine?

    1. Yep*

      I am Christian (at least by upbringing), and I also feel this way! Some of my colleagues are using Christmas backgrounds in our virtual meetings, and I find it wildly inappropriate.

  242. NeedRain47*

    Last year I think they provided sandwiches for carry out. Today they had the usual ham/turkey/etc. holiday lunch. Due to Omicron I ate outside. (thanks to global warming it was plenty warm in the sun.) The vast majority of my coworkers are vaccinated, but still not feeling great about a big room of unmasked people.

  243. Sled dog mama*

    Company did a catered lunch from a local restaurant (food brought to those who couldn’t make the main event), holiday cash bonus, gift card to a local grocery store in addition to their normal Turkey for thanksgiving and Ham for Christmas.

  244. Jenn*

    Each branch in our company is choosing their own party option. My branch opted out of a get-together, so they used that money to buy each staff member a $100 gift card to a restaurant. We’re a radio station, so we had 6-8 restaurants, who are also clients, to choose from.
    Another branch gets the afternoon off and they’re all going out for lunch. I’ll take the $100 gift card over a $20 lunch!

  245. Chris*

    I’m a machine operator at a non-union factory. We get a 30 minute lunch instead of usual 15 minute lunch. I will actually have time to go to the bathrooom and eat my lunch. It is a catered lunch at least.

  246. noahwynn*

    Meals for those working on the holiday itself. We are a 24/7 operation.

    Everyone got an extra 8 hours of PTO added to their bank in lieu of the usual all-company holiday party. Most were happy with that because there is always a large group that cannot attend anyways. We also got a company-branded fleece jacket or vest.

  247. LifeBeforeCorona*

    We used to order Thai or Indian food dishes and everyone got to sample it and find a new favourite. This year, we are going to do the same thing, only this time no sharing and everyone is socially distanced.

  248. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    My office is having an axe throwing holiday party, at an axe throwing venue. I have no doubt that this will involve employees learning to throw an axe while lots of other employees watch the performance intently, and sorting employees into a team competition of axe throwing while keeping score. I will attend the axe throwing holiday party as soon as I have received confirmation that hell froze over.

  249. A Pom In Oz*

    Same as last year, $90 a head to each department for a small function. Unfortunately I joined this company right before Covid hit but apparently they used to have Epic Parties. James Bond themed, Alice in Wonderland, White & Gold. This year we did barefoot bowls with lunch (until the storm hit!). It was pretty fun but I am looking forward to if and when they will bring back the themed parties.

  250. tex*

    we had an in-office luncheon. we were supposed to stay distanced with masks on, but people were allowed to eat together in the breakroom, so that obviously didn’t happen. Then 7 days later we found out someone at the luncheon had just tested positive for COVID. I had already gotten my negative test, since I test pretty frequently, so I don’t have much stress about it, but I know my coworkers certainly have been stressed!

  251. it's-a-me*

    Our ‘Christmas’ Party will be held in late January (at this stage) because they fully recognize that our staff go hog-wild and at the moment the Covid restrictions we have here don’t allow dancing or drinking while standing.

    They have said it will still be a Christmas party despite this (everyone had bought their themed christmassy outfits and such before they decided to delay it).

    Personally I’m glad of the delay, my December was already so stressful. Also now it’s on a Friday instead of a Thursday, so much the better.

  252. Verde*

    – Giving us the week off between Xmas and NY (which is also just luck based on our program schedule that we can do that this year)
    – Holiday bonuses a little higher than normal, maybe a one time thing, but a nice thing
    – Holiday gathering delayed until the spring, so we can do something outdoors or some other safer settings

  253. angrytreespirit*

    Large bureaucracy, department of 20. In case you’re wondering how much fun an indoor, yet socially distanced, masks on, 30 min lunch followed by a staff meeting sounds…

  254. Llama face!*

    My workplace has planned an in-person party at the office including lunch. I will not be attending since I am not volunteering to be close contacts with my mask-mandate-ignoring colleagues on my day off. I am stuck with that enough on actual working days.
    Momentary rant: I am getting so so tired of people ignoring the rules that are in place for a reason. We have the slackest premier in the country so clearly these are bare minimums. (And yes supposedly everyone is double vaccinated af work but I live with people who are extra vulnerable and don’t want to risk bringing anything home before they are fully boosted. Oh and and Omicron just showed up here this week- though just travel cases so far- which you’d think would be a reminder to people to be cautious, but apparently not.)

  255. Not My Money*

    Apparently I’m getting a gift basket in the mail because they emailed to ask for my best mailing address. If it’s anything like last year, it’ll be a food basket which works for me.

  256. Lena*

    I am in New Zealand where COVID is very under control but with strict restrictions. I work at front desk for a group of surgeons, and therefore we all work in the office – no remote work possible. We are having a small office party, as all are vaccinated and we work together anyway. Vaccinated partners are allowed to attend.

    I’ve heard from my friends at big companies and almost all have cancelled their events or down-scaled them. As in individual branches getting together to celebrate, vs the whole company. Compared to last year where we had no COVID cases this time of the year and were having huge parties, it feels very strange.

  257. AGD*

    I thought it was going to be nothing, but I looked into it today and we’re doing a lunch thing! And near my house at a restaurant I’ve never actually been to. I’m thrilled. My colleagues are wonderful.

  258. Allura Vysoren*

    Our corporate office is not throwing their usual Christmas party (although individual departments are allowed to have their own), but our satellite office IS throwing a party, with some people from corporate in attendance, and I’m sure it’s going to be wildly unsafe in terms of COVID precautions. My department is having a potluck with a White Elephant gift exchange.

  259. Amethystmoon*

    Nothing this year, aside from giving everyone a free turkey, regardless of whether people want one or not. In the past, it’s been free lunches and each dept. gave out gift cards or something. But all of that was pre-COVID.

  260. ObserverCN*

    My company is changing offices next year, so we had a combination holiday party/say-goodbye-to-the-old-office party. It was small and casual, but fun.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah. I’d probably show up in snow boots, quilted pants like you’d use for snowboarding, and a knee-length jacket, with a scarf around my neck and a hat to cover my ears, and gloves or mittens. I’d be dressed for the Arctic rather than a party.

  261. Schnapps*

    My department gathers at my boss’ house for a wine/chocolate exchange, bevvies and snacks. She did it before the pandemic and now that we’re ok to gather in small groups she started it up again.

  262. Nick*

    This will de-anon me, but the managers on my team were surveyed about something that we could do that was covid safe and would work for a globally distributed team. And ideally didn’t require us mailing things to people (virtual chocolate tastings have been common at my company).

    We decided on legos. Each person got to expense some legos up to a specific dollar amount and then we got on a call and chit-chatted and built them. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas Party, but I enjoyed it. I learned a lot based on what type of legos people picked, whether they sorted their pieces first, if they would chit chat while building, etc.

    We also contracted for a virtual team building activity that was surprisingly fun as another option for folks who were interested.

  263. Allison*

    I started this job in May, so I’m not sure what they did last year. They sent out an email this past week saying that there isn’t going to be any holiday party. Instead, they are going to be randomly giving away gifts throughout the month. A total of 62 gifts, two for every day of December. I don’t know what the gifts are (first drawing is tomorrow), except that the “grand prize” on December 31st will be an extra week of vacation in 2022. They’re also probably going to cater food for everyone who has to work on Christmas, as they have done with other holidays.

  264. Soupspoon McGee*

    I work in a medical clinic where we are all in the office at least some of the time. We’re doing a Secret Santa, with small gifts each week, and one of the staff is our resident Sherlock, trying to figure out who has whom while others of us are trying to confound her. It will culminate with a catered lunch and reveal. We’re having lots of casual Fridays with goofy sweaters. There are decorations on our doors, selected by the staff based on personality. My door has a giant goofy snowman, although I requested a repurposed black cat with a santa hat (which does not yet exist).

  265. antisocialite*

    I was actually just telling my friends about my toxic workplace holiday plans.

    Keep in mind our workforce is now over half remote because they got rid of some offices to save money.
    I’m an always-been-fully-remote worker thousands of miles from either office.
    And of course, we get zero stipend, covered expenses, or equipment other than a computer.

    My Company:
    We’re having a big holiday event and we are so excited to celebrate our most successful year yet!
    We are going all out to show our appreciation of all your hard work to make this happen!
    The X and Y offices will have gourmet catered breakfasts and lunches!
    All day, there will be fun activities with cool prizes!
    Directly afterwards, there’s dinner and an open bar at local restaurants!
    There will be door prizes and other fun things to win!
    Bring your plus one!
    Everyone can expenses round trip Lyfts!
    Anyone within 400 miles of an office can attend!
    We will adjust your schedule for the travel, pay for your hotel, and reimburse for mileage!

    For the rest of the (remote) employees:
    We will have a livestream so you can watch!
    And don’t forget to submit your reimbursement of an up to $15 per diem for lunch that day!

  266. A Genuine Scientician*

    My University sent an email stating that they were giving us three extra days of vacation, Dec 28 – 30, in recognition of all we’ve done during the pandemic.

    This explicitly does not apply to:
    – Student workers
    – Anyone on an academic year contract (eg most faculty)
    – Anyone classified as a temporary employee (eg postdocs)

    The University is not closing, so it also doesn’t apply to essential workers. As best as we can tell, that means
    – Medical staff
    – Food service
    – Janitorial service
    – Possibly IT? It’s unclear.

    As near as some colleagues and I can tell, administration gave themselves three extra holidays.

    It is … not engendering a lot of good will.

    1. TodayIsAlreadyOver*

      I work a staff job at a University and this would apply to me (loosely IT, Business Analyst sort of job). It seems totally unnecessary to be open that week; my university is closed and we are on the quarter system and start up again on the 3rd. It… has not been my experience that faculty are very present in December after finals are done.

  267. TodayIsAlreadyOver*

    My wife’s boss invited the team plus spouses to his house for food and drinks. Everyone should have taken a COVID test beforehand (they all work in healthcare). One person didn’t get the memo, and guess who tested positive for COVID? We got the contact tracing text the night before Thanksgiving and had to skip.

    My office did a “sound therapy” event earlier this week and got lunch. A little woo for my taste but it was fun, you don’t usually get to hear that many Tibetan singing bowls without having to watch postmodern art. Anything beats the job where we did a 40 person white elephant, with both an adult, ahem, *novelty toy* and a used bong among the gifts.

  268. Diana*

    Nothing. Which honestly is a lot better than hosting a really awkward gathering that nobody wants to be at and that doesn’t make us feel valued or wanted.

  269. Sakuko*

    Our holiday parties are usually a 3pm – night affair. It was supposed to happen in person, but got moved to virtual.
    Everyone got send a bunch of beers and ingredients to cook some pasta dish (+ dessert).

    There will be a presentation of this years successes and new developments, which happens every year and is pretty yawn. 2 hours of that.
    Then we are apparently doing virtual cooking and eating together? I’m not gonna bring my laptop to the kitchen, so no idea how that will look. I guess most people will just bugger off and do their food in peace, but maybe there’s someone doing a cook along.
    Then there’ll be some kind of live show. The entertainment is kept secret until the day of, so also no idea what it will be. 2 years ago, when it was still in person, they had some physics comedians go around the tables, do tricks and then do a big performance on stage. That part is usually to be pretty fun.
    After that a led tasting of the beers by an expert. Last year it was wine and I missed that part, but I’m more of a beer person anyway and I like that they switched it around. Never had a beer tasting before, but I saw the long list with criteria in the parcel. Looked way to complicated for beer. ^^
    After that they open a bunch of smaller themed chatrooms with volunteer moderators to talk about different subjects. There’s board games, nerd stuff, sports, a music jam, whiskey, traveling etc.

    It sounds like a lot, but it is pretty similar to the events we do in person. They certainly are trying.

  270. angstrom*

    Company is giving nice company-logo jackets to everyone as a holiday gift. No in-person or virtual gatherings announced.

  271. Okay, great!*

    A cabin in the mountains for a few days, but I’m working on running my own business and am the sole employee :)

  272. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

    We just had an in-office casual “party.” People brought cookies/sparkling cider/charceuterie, and we hung out and ate during our normal all staff meeting time.
    We had joked during planning that we should have a festivus party, and my coworker wrapped a narrow support pole in silver tinsel to jokingly make it a festivus pole…but an airing of grievences idea got nixed (by all of us, even before we learned that the party was going to be our new director’s third day.)

  273. Kwsni*

    Nothing, so far. The holidays are a usually super busy time for us, and we usually have a party afterward. The business was sold to corporate in November, and the practice manager has had her hands full with that. I am sure she has given no thought to a holiday party whatsoever.

  274. Jammin'*

    My employer is having a “cocktail attire” event for our office of 1,000+ employees next week. While employees had to be vaccinated to keep their job, I am not sure if the same is true for attendees, nor was I asked for proof for spouse when I originally RSVP’d “yes”. The event is being held at a new facility that looks very nice.
    Honestly, while it will be a fabulous event, I just don’t feel like getting that dressed up, and my spouse hates work parties anyway (I generally go without him , with his blessing, for that reason.)
    Last year, we had a virtual holiday lunch where we could expense $50 for food or beverages and played online trivia. I preferred that. (not sure when I’ve gotten to be such a Grinch about large gatherings – COVID, maybe?))

  275. Berkeleyfarm*

    I was kind of surprised we had a “socially distanced” (*) T-day lunch and not a December one. But apparently the person who organizes these things “”forgot”” our department … instead of sending out an email as usual, or getting the boss’ executive assistant to count heads, an elaborately formatted printed flyer was dropped by about three hours before RSVP deadline. In a department that is primarily WFH.

    We did get a card and a little gift though.

    * wear your mask, come through the serving line in the time assigned to your department, go back to your desk to eat

  276. MidwestRoads*

    Family Casino Night is planned for January in the city where the main office is (30 mins away) but I declined as I really don’t want to be around unvaccinated children. That city’s schools are dealing with major Covid outbreaks, and nope. Our (fully vaccinated) local office is having a cookie party on Monday, to which I will contribute orange chocolate shortbread.

  277. Zee*

    I’ve never worked somewhere that did anything for the holidays… I work in the non-profit sector. Not a lot of extra cash laying around for parties.

  278. The Witch of Sanity's Annex*

    We’ve just done ours, and it was quite nice! We’re one of the smaller offices in our firm (there are 4 scattered all over the country) and the GrandBoss and Great GrandBoss took the 10 of us to a fantastic local restaurant.
    GrandBoss gave us each a little gift bag containing a gift card, some candy and a holiday-decor item and Great GrandBoss handed out cards.
    It was a pleasant evening, had a glass of wine with Great GrandBoss (he’s such a dear), a nice meal, schmoozed with co-workers.
    In deference to my non Christian-ness my decor item was a gnome wearing a bright yellow suit. He’s glorious, and he lives on my WFH desk now.

  279. UnclearInstructions*

    Not giving us our holiday schedules on time. We expect to maybe have them the day schools close here, which is this friday. The holiday season starts next monday. And the new Director is trying to shorten shifts to “save money”. So, also a temporary paycut?

    I guess for this holiday season, I’m … worrying.

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