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

What’s your company doing about the holidays this year? In 2020, many employers canceled holiday celebrations because of the pandemic, while others devised creative ways to celebrate — like virtual cocktail tastings and drive-in movies. Last year, some parties were back on, while others weren’t. What’s your office planning for this year?

{ 446 comments… read them below }

    1. QuincePreserves*

      Virtual team luncheon, which I am not attending because I had scheduled that day off before event invitations were sent out!
      There’s also some sort of party at headquarters, but it has been postponed repeatedly, and I’m probably not going to attend that one either. I WFH full-time, and headquarters is too far away to travel for a short party.

        1. SelinaKyle*

          Ours was last week. Full dept around 50-100 people travelled to central UK. We had a conference till late afternoon then went to a bar with games. Free booze, I don’t drink, most were drunk by early evening. I went back to the hotel at 10pm, other partied all night. 90% of us, including me have got a bad cough and cold, thankfully not Covid.

    2. HigherEdAdminista*

      We are doing the same thing, except it is during a mandatory meeting, so I will be there in my N95 watching everyone else eat. Yay.

    3. mlem*

      Same, other than our use of a conference room that has a (pre-pandemic) official capacity that is twice the size of our team. Food and games for two hours. I and probably one other person will be masked and not eating (but I can easily eat on the way to the office).

    4. SadForNoTimeOff*

      We’re having lunch out, no masks or precautions. Oh, and we get ZERO time off since the handbook says we get 12/24 and 12/25 off and that’s Sat/Sun when we’re usually closed anyway. No short days. No alternate holidays. Oh, and we get a whole FIVE DAYS of PTO per year, so those missing few holiday days off really are a freaking blow to morale.

      1. Bob-White of the Glen*

        Wow. Just wow. Your employer sucks and I am so sorry. Hopefully as people find better jobs they cite this stupid policy as part of the reason.

        5 days a YEAR!? I hate to be the AAM parrot, but it’s time to start the job hunting if at all possible.

        Again, I am so sorry.

        1. SadForNoTimeOff*

          Oh, I’m job hunting with AAM’s help, don’t worry. I also have zero health benefits. Ironically, I got a Christmas bonus yesterday and also had a dentist appointment (which I had to miss two hours of work and lose pay for; no sick pay!). The bonus *just* covered my cash pay dentist appointment. Really just made it sting more, and boss wonders why I’m not all peppy today since I just got “extra cash!” SIGH.

    5. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      I find it interesting that a number of comments are complaints about lack of masks, but there are also a number of “in person for the first time in years! yay!” comments.

  1. Up and Away*

    We are having a dinner at a local Italian restaurant. First one in many years! We plan to rotate between that and a potluck held on site, which we will do next year.

    1. DannyG*

      My team is all remote, so December 23rd regular team meeting is going to be our party. Will dress In Christmas attire for the zoom meeting. We’re spread out from California to Virginia, Ohio to South Carolina, so in person will probably never happen for the whole group.

      1. anarchiv*

        I would imagine it’s based on location rather than industry. I work in central London, most of my colleagues live in the outer suburbs and can’t get into the office for work, let alone a party, if there are no trains!

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes we’ve changed the date of our lunch because some of the team live outside London and rely on the train. Strike days are too difficult for them.

          1. Frapperia*

            Unfortunately they haven’t changed ours, so I will not be going! We also don’t have access to the office as we’re moving next week, so have been told to come in from four, two hours before the last of the few trains goes. All in all, a bit of a shame!

        2. londonedit*

          Yep, we’ve changed ours because of the strikes too. Driving into central London for work is not a thing anyone does (congestion charge, parking charges if you can even get parking, the fact that many people who live here don’t have cars at all, the fact that driving anywhere in central London takes forever, the fact that public transport is usually so good that no one needs to drive) and if you live outside the Tube network then you get the mainline rail in. There are train strikes on the mainline rail (and some of the Tube network I think, because it depends on which union is on strike) so that means many people who live in the suburbs can’t get into work.

    1. Cece*

      Same – we’d normally do something next week, but I think we’re all just exhaustedly giving it a miss. No one’s even suggested an online do or a postponed celebration…

  2. DisneyChannelThis*

    Large whole department meal offsite (indoor restaurant) followed by a bar outing. I’m debating not going over flu and covid concerns. I could bounce back alright but I’m seeing a lot of elderly family end of December and leery of spreading it.

    1. A BA PO*

      Same thing here – for our local people on the 19th they are doing lunch at the office, meetings, then dinner at a restaurant that night.

      I am conflicted because I would definitely go if I didn’t have plans later that same week to get together with all of our family. In particular, my Mother in Law has had some health problems this past year and she CANNOT get sick.

      If I go to our work event, I will still test before I see family, and of course, stay home if I feel sick at all. But then I also feel like that REALLY SUCKS if I do get sick from the work event and then can’t do the get-togethers with my family. And to do the same to not only me but also my husband. That’s what I’m juggling in my mind right now.

      1. This Old House*

        Yeah, I know COVID can’t be avoided indefinitely (and I’ve already had it), but I really feel like the timing is bad – I’m supposed to go to a potential work super-spreader event days before joining my family for a big party? I’d sooner miss the former than the latter. And I’d love it if they could move the holiday party up (or back) in future years so they’re not feeding us and our work germs directly into the arms of our families.

        1. allathian*

          I skipped our holiday party this year (6 hour cruise with prix fixe eat and drink as much as you want, great way to get around the company limitation of max 2 drinks paid by the employer per person). But thankfully it’s usually held in late November, so even if people do get sick, the vast majority will have recovered before the end of the year holidays.

          I’m not particularly worried about Covid anymore, and I’ve been to indoor restaurants etc. But I’m an introvert and the older I get, the more recovery time I need after an event with lots of socializing. So I’d far rather celebrate with my friends and family. A big part of that is that our work celebrations, even if they involve just my immediate team, are around 25 people, and if the whole office is invited and everyone shows up, it’s about 300 people. I vastly prefer it when the crowd is at most 10 or 15 people, much less draining that way.

      2. Louisiana Purchase*

        “If I go to our work event, I will still test before I see family”

        Just FYI, in case you didn’t already know, if you are planning a home rapid test and you are not symptomatic, there is a high false negative rate. Even if you are symptomatic, it sometimes takes 2-3 days after symptoms appear for the test to show positive.

        1. A BA PO*

          Thanks! Yes, I definitely know about the false-negative testing risk – this is 100% also a part of the equation I am considering in my brain FOR SURE.

    2. Sara*

      Ya, I commented below that I’m passing on our office potluck as it’s the day before I’m leaving to spend a week with family – small kiddos, recent cancer patients, etc… If there were more time between, I’d maybe consider, but then I’d end up skipping the visit if I did fall ill, so that would suck also…

    3. Inkhorn*

      I had this debate myself and elected to skip. Restaurant meal on the 23rd, during a covid wave, is too high a chance of bringing the virus to Christmas with my boyfriend on tbe 25th/26th, or having to cancel at extremely short notice. And all due respect to my coworkers, but my boyfriend is more important to me than they are.

      (Though I’d have skipped even if I was going to be alone for Christmas, who wants to be sick on their once-a-year break?)

  3. Sabrina Spellman*

    My company is holding a holiday party like they did before the pandemic. No information was given about precautions or expectations. The president has recently stopped doing things over Zoom and trying to force people to be in person. I will not be attending.

  4. Lurking4years*

    We’ve haven’t been allowed to have holiday parties in our North American divisions for several years now, but this year there are no global parties either.

  5. Quinalla*

    Back to the normal holiday party this year with a buffet table for food. I’m not attending as I’m in a regional office and had other plans already so driving down, staying the night, etc. (which they fully cover all travel/hotel expenses so that’s awesome) just doesn’t work for me this year.

    It is very much encouraged for people to go, but also very much fine if you aren’t able to make it. I actually wish I could go to chat with everyone in person, but hopefully next year!

  6. lil falafel wrap*

    We’re doing in-person. There are two main sites you can work at, so each site is having their own party. I think both chose a boat cruise. It’ll be during work hours and we’ll have the rest of the day off once it concludes. Should be fun!

      1. Haven’t picked a username yet*

        I know this is super off topic, but I recently got a relief band and it totally changed my travel experiences. I get so motion sick (planes/trains/cars/boats) and that thing has changed everything. (I don’t work for them!).

      2. JM60*

        I too wouldn’t like a boat cruise, but for a different reason: You can’t easily leave. I hate social events that I can’t leave when I want.

        If I worked there, I might be “sick” the day of the boat cruise.

    1. irene adler*

      “during works hours and we’ll have the rest of the day off” – now that’s the way to do it!

    2. SpaceySteph*

      Everyone chose to willingly be stuck on a boat without the ability to leave until the cruise is over?

      Not generally my idea of a good time even before kids, but as a parent this would be a hard no from me as I need to be able to leave in case of an emergency.

      Possibly related to my distaste for this kind of thing: once for a family event when I was a teen, we went on the Jungle Queen which is a boat that sailed down the Fort Lauderdale intracoastal to a small island, you ate dinner on the island, and then it sailed back. Supposedly it was a fun time, but I’ll never know because on this occasion one of the drawbridges got stuck and we were trapped on that boat for 2 hours at a bridge that couldn’t go up. We never made it to dinner, nor was there any food on the boat and eventually it was clear the bridge was not gonna be fixed anytime soon, so the boat did like an 800-point turn to go back to the dock and then we still had to go find dinner.

      1. Swiftie*

        “Everyone chose to willingly be stuck on a boat without the ability to leave until the cruise is over?”

        Different people like different things, as crazy as that sounds.

        1. Peachtree*

          As a childfree person, I also wonder … does the person never turn their phone off at the movies? Or during a conference? What about when flying?

          1. WellRed*

            As a fellow child free person I think it must be exhausting to be constantly on the edge of an Emergency!

          2. This Old House*

            As a childhaving person – I’d keep my phone on vibrate during a movie or conference, and yeah, step out if the babysitter called. Presumably whoever is watching my kids while I’m a plane ride away is fully capable of handling an emergency, but that’s not necessarily the same kind of childcare you get for a movie or a holiday party – who is more likely to be a teenager, college student, etc.

            That said, I don’t think it would have crossed my mind that I shouldn’t get on a boat in case of a kid emergency. Constantly expecting the worst is no way to live for parents or kids.

            1. Swiftie*

              I mean, I get seasick very easily so I’d also pass up a gathering that’s on a boat (and the idea that you wouldn’t be able to easily leave would make me anxious). But other people aren’t a nauseated wreck like me and enjoy boat parties so whoo hoo for them :-)

    3. Rebecca*

      That sounds nice! You’re clearly not in my region; the only way we could go out on a river would be on ice skates

  7. SeaTurtleJamboree*

    We’re doing an indoor potluck party. But it’s (truly) optional and masks are welcome (which is what I’ll be doing, so no food or drink for me!). We’re also trying to spread out in the largest space we have, and I think most people are comfortable with it, because they’re allowed to skip it without consequences.

  8. Mbarr*

    Our company is still working from home. Only three people come into the office on a regular basis. Even when we offer free lunches, people don’t come in.

    For Christmas, we’ve rented out a local indie movie theater and are playing two Christmas movies. Everyone is getting free popcorn and pop. During the second movie, we’re having catering from a local restaurant. We were hoping that the lack of socializing/small talk might entire people to come… But only 15ish people (and their plus ones) are attending. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Introverts Unite!*

      One movie sounds fun! Two sounds long (unless you’re talking about 30-minute Christmas specials).

    2. Just me*

      My company is also still work from home. My department was supposed to have an in-person indoor holiday party next weekend, but my boss called it off because she doesn’t want us all to get sick at the same time. We might reschedule it for later in the winter.

    3. Zombeyonce*

      I can see the appeal but a lot of people are seeing family for the holidays and don’t want to risk getting sick just before that and ruining their plans. I know I would consider an in-persin event other times of year but I’m abiut to see my parents and elderly in-laws, so it’s not worth the risk. Especially with not just COVID but also the flu and RSV going around.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, I agree with Zombeyonce.

        Maybe schedule an event after the holidays next time, and see if more people are willing to come?

  9. Wocka Wocka*

    I walked in to my office this morning with a new tumbler on my desk. So I guess we’re doing tumblers.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I don’t know why this is so funny to me, but this is the best! I wish we were doing tumblers. Did it have a bow, a card…a mini-bottle of schnapps? anything?

      1. Wocka Wocka*

        Negative. Just the tumbler with a brief thank you note. It’s actually a pretty cool one with a map of the city on it, I work adjacent to the city planning office, so it’s fitting.

      1. T.+Boone+Pickens*

        Usually a stainless steel/aluminum cup that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, they vary in size. Yeti is probably the most popular brand name.

      2. Louisiana Purchase*

        A tumbler is a flat bottomed drinking glass, ie, no stem. So a pint glass is a tumbler. A wine glass is not a tumbler.

        Some companies sell insulated tumblers, but a glass doesn’t have to be insulated to be a tumbler.

  10. Gwen Soul*

    Half our team moved to wherever they wanted in the US, so in person is hard for more than a handful so we are doing a virtual happy hour.

  11. NegativeGhostrider*

    They are having a holiday party. At the office. On a Saturday night. That. we. have. to. pay. to. attend. We’re encouraged to dress up.

    So, I guess everyone will be in fancy dress in the cafeteria? Maybe overflowing into the large “all hands” conference room that is in a completely different building?

    1. k*

      I dearly hope that your use of “fancy dress” is UK-style, because I want to picture your colleagues paying to partynetwork in the office in fantastic costumes.

    2. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

      You have to pay money to have a party inside your own office? Are you a government worker or something with strict taxpayers-won’t-pay-for-Kleenex rules or something?

      1. Moses Supposes Erroneously*

        …other people’s office parties are free? oh man, I work in the wrong industry — I literally did not realise that free holiday parties were the norm

        (UK higher education, wheee)

        1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          The only time I recall ever having to pay for a work-related event in my two decades long career was this one time when it was a one night overnight cruise, and the company wanted us to pay for spouses who attended. It turned out that so few people were willing to pay for spouses that they didn’t fill all the rooms the company had prepaid for, so they relented and let spouses come for free.

      1. NegativeGhostrider*

        I am *not* attending! I refuse to:
        -Attend work events on weekends.
        -Pay money to attend a work event.
        -Go to super spreader events.

        This is a multi-BILLION $ company in the US. Other locations do not charge employees to attend company “appreciation” (extreme eyeroll here) events. Only this geographical region (where it is NOT the norm at all) does this for all events like this.

        Fancy dress is “wear a suit or dress”. I’m not sure if it is full on “cocktail” but definitely encouraged to not wear your jeans and t-shirt. (Some people will definitely show up in jeans and t-shirts!)

      2. SF123*

        My company is having a catered meal and open bar at the most prestigious country club in the area. Yes it’s free for us and a spouse. It’s formal dress. But I just got Covid and will be released to come back without a mask the day of the party. I will probably go but I’m kind of bummed because I lost my taste, and nothing has any flavors. I will also probably not partake in the open bar, just because.

  12. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    I’m at a university so we had a catered “Employee Appreciation” lunch for the whole org (I didn’t attend), an “org unit” (I guess for lack of a better word because I’m not part of one of the colleges) luncheon tomorrow at a restaurant, and a department luncheon next week at a restaurant. Luckily most of these are just food and not really a party with gifts and games and stuff.

    1. Owlet101*

      I also work at a university.

      In the past (pre-covid) we have just done a half day before closing the last week of December (paid holiday time.) And that half day was a whole university get together across all of the colleges, offices, ect. I don’t really know how that went or who did and didn’t like it. Since I joined during the pandimic.

      Since covid the president has just cancelled the half day party and given all staff the full day as a holiday. Paid and everything. He has already made an announcement that he is doing that again this year. Which I am very happy with.

      Other than that each college/department just kinda does it’s own thing. Most of the offices usually close for an hour or two to have their party. I have since moved from an office to a college staff wise. So I am not sure how the new one one I’m in does it. But I haven’t heard anything. So I’m assuming its not really a thing in this college. Which I am a-okay with. I would rather not have to think of little gifts for everyone. Especially since I barely know them.

    2. Moses Supposes Erroneously*

      Also at a university — they cancelled our departmental party (ostensibly because of the strikes going on over here), though our research group is holding a boozy potluck in our breakroom tomorrow evening, so I guess that’s something.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’m at a university, too, and this is the first year that the departmental parties that I know of are back to normal. My old department and my current department are each having their traditional catered buffet lunches and gift exchange of the Yankee swap / white elephant / dirty Santa variety.

  13. Russian in Texas*

    Partner’s huge corp had their tech center holiday party last Friday. First time since 2015 or so (oil crash) – hotel ballroom, full dinner, drinks, raffle, casino room, etc. Offered free Uber/Lyft and discounted hotel rooms. About 300 people or so. Was reasonably fun.
    My company is having the lunch on the 23rd, as the pre-pandemic tradition, and a half day (for those who participate).
    From everyone I hear people are basically back to the pre-pandemic type celebrations, at least from the people who haven’t changed jobs.

  14. AAM Regular, but anon for this*

    We had our party last night at a restaurant, but it had an outdoor patio with fires and outdoor heaters. Most people stayed indoors, though. However, our county and state have great compliance numbers, so it was probably less risky than most places, even in Blue states.

  15. Dobermom*

    We’re doing a lunch in-office for those local to HQ. Just pizza and cookies, I think. My larger org is doing a “virtual lunch” with a Teams component on a different day and sending everyone restaurant e-gift cards.

  16. ICodeForFood*

    My large employer doesn’t do anything company-wide, but individual small departments are going out to lunch (not on the company’s dime; we pay for our own lunches) on the day when we are in the office (most of us are hybrid, working from home most of the time and going in occasionally on pre-determined days).

  17. Tom*

    Dinner and show. Plus bus transportation to and fro. They will be gone for over 8 hours. And that’s not counting the half of the company who has to work a half-day before boarding the bus. I will not be attending.

  18. Smitty*

    My company is doing a virtual and in-person holiday party. Food will be provided to the in-person crowd slightly before we will all be on Teams for the main festivities. A little odd, but I’m hoping it will work out well that anyone who is comfortable coming in-person will and it won’t be super awkward for the virtual crowd having to watch everyone else chatting and eating without them.

    1. Teams*

      We did this for my 100-person department and only about 25% of people were in-person, 50% online, and rest no-shows. It wasn’t very engaging for the online folks, but people in-person enjoyed seeing/meeting each other. Most people are WFH, only some come into the office regularly.

  19. Harried HR*

    We’re having a Holiday Party same as Pre-Pandemic with all employees and plus 1’s. However we also have a Covid19 Vaccination policy where all employees are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted or have a Medical or Religious exemption on file approved by Legal. The party is 100% voluntary and as far as I’m aware everyone is planning to attend.

  20. Candy M.*

    My company has less than 100 employees and is a not for profit. We have a staff funded/organized Christmas party every year. This year Management decided to dictate that people on medical leave cannot attend. I am not sure how they have the authority to do that and I have pointed out it is against our Employment Standards Act (not in the US) but to no avail. I will not be attending.

  21. Be Gneiss*

    It’s my first holiday at NewJob where the holiday season is a Big Deal. They already had the party, which is paid time (whether you go or not), and voluntary. Fancy lunch, and lots of really fantastic raffle prizes, and a generous goody bag of gift cards and fun and useful things for everyone. I missed out due to a prior commitment, but didn’t get a guilt-trip over it. We also have a super-voluntary-but-well-liked Secret Santa that is well-organized.

    So much better than OldJob, where the party was mandatory, and catered by the school (not, like…a culinary arts vocational program that does catering….just the school cafeteria). And where it was an “honor” for all the minimum-wage employees to chip in and buy the owners a fancy gift basket to thank them for the privilege of working long hours at a crummy job.

  22. Amber Rose*

    We’re doing some games and stuff during the day to raise money for charity and then we’re having our first real party in the evening since Covid started. Our usual event at a nearby hotel: fancy buffet, open bar, DJ, games and prizes. We’ve been working on this and planning it since July because we were so excited to be allowed to do it again.

    It’s of course optional and anyone who wants to mask up is welcome to.

  23. Lizzo*

    Low-key, non-mandatory virtual happy hour, and the office will be closed (paid time off) the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s!

  24. Let me librarian that for you*

    After several years of virtual only, we’re phasing in person events back in. We’re doing in person board meetings (with virtual option) today followed by an optional boat cruise for staff, board and significant others. We are ‘masks encouraged,’ proof of vaccination required, symptom check, exposure check and proof of same-day negative test required for all in person events.

  25. soontoberetired*

    Christmas/holiday parties were banned a few years before covid (no idea why, an HR ruling). But we used to try and go out as a group for lunch. This year, half the team is out of state, I have no immediate manager at the moment, and nothing is on the schedule. We aren’t even having our christmas treat day as far as I know.

  26. WordNerditor*

    We did an all-company volunteer event at a food distribution center instead of a party this year. (Individual divisions will each get a catered lunch in the new year.) The execs listenedto what we asked for and made it happen. My favorite holiday celebration we’ve done ever.

    1. Annie Oakley*

      My whole office is also volunteering at our local Food Bank in the morning, then individual teams are having lunch and a fun activity. I’m the supervisor for my team and booked a vacation months ago so I’ll be missing the volunteering. My team will go to Top Golf, bowling, or something else (their choice) in January. The only issue is we work for the Government, so the team outing is out of pocket vs expensed (and since a fellow supervisor is paying for her team’s event herself, I will do the same so I don’t hear any complaints).

  27. Bunny Girl*

    Our company is having a big party at a hotel on Friday with dinner, drinks, and whatever. This is my first year here but I’m not going. We have had a huge spike in COVID and Influenza cases and it’s the end of my finals weeks and I’m exhausted.

  28. Sandworm*

    My company is doing a hybrid celebration:
    – Hybrid activity during work hours
    – In person cookie exchange
    – Recipe swap online (I think someone’s going to compile them into a nice PDF or something)

    We can opt into any, all, or none of them. I’ll probably send in a recipe, but that’s it.

  29. ThatGirl*

    We had layoffs last week; this week our holiday party/luncheon is happening as scheduled. Ironically the woman who coordinated a bunch of it was….laid off last week.

    Anyway, we had donuts for breakfast, there are cool balloon decorations around, pizza/pasta catered lunch and a raffle for prizes. All during the workday. No covid precautions aside from a few people who are masking on their own.

    1. Vio*

      That has to be awful. Helping to plan a Christmas celebration and then (presumably) being uninvited due to also losing your job.

  30. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

    I work remotely, so… nothing! I did get an invitation just now to a party that’s at the main office on the other side of the world, and I assume our main US office might be doing something but they’re on the other side of the country from me. My team is fully remote and we might be doing something small during our regular team meeting.

  31. Selkie*

    Outdoor restaurant lunch during work hours, on the day 97% of folks are in the office anyway so no one really gets the short end of the commute stick.

  32. SamScoopCooper*

    We’re doing a hybrid event next week. Cocktail/mock tail making (at like 11 AM on a weekday) and they’re sending everyone working at home DoorDash gift cards so we can buy lunch. There’s supposedly another surprise they’re sending us, it’s probably gonna be food.

    I just started at this company and considering the last place I worked (prepandemic ) made us schlep like an hour for a “party” that was basically 2 hours of listening to Grandboss talk – I can’t complain.

    I do hope they’ll send us stuff to make the cocktails. It’s nothing fancy – we already know the drinks but I don’t know how many people keep a stocked bar

      1. SamScoopCooper*

        I’m honestly kind of baffled. Like are we just supposed to get tipsy at 11 am on a Tuesday? I could understand if it was a Friday – but like…a Tuesday? I can’t wait to see how it turns out

  33. rayray*

    The company is having a catered lunch during the workday. 100x prefer to an after-hours party.

    The overall mood here isn’t great lately though, significant layoffs this week and reduction in hours for hourly employees. Morale is low.

  34. New Job Holidays*

    Instead of a holiday party, we are closing on the 16th and everyone gets the day off with pay. I’d much rather do this than have a party!

    1. rayray*

      This would be delightful. I usually like to use a day of PTO on a Friday leading up to Christmas to get my shopping done and to just have fun.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      We are getting a Fri afternoon off and I agree, that’s great, better than any party!

  35. Ripley*

    I work at a large medical clinic, so we are not permitted to have a formal/sanctioned party. So we printed out invitations for a gathering at a local pub. People have to buy tickets ($5) so we know how many people are coming, and we use the money to buy gift baskets as door prizes. It is totally optional, and people can attend or not depending on their comfort level. We did this last year and had a lot of fun.

  36. Chocoholic*

    We are having a virtual party next week – we’ve done it now for a couple of years and it is fun! We were going to have a potluck party in the office, but that has been cancelled. Too many people are sick, and we don’t want to make it worse.

    My husband’s office is having an in-person party for the first time in several years – I am bummed to miss it, but he is having surgery on 12/15 and we don’t want to risk him getting sick so we are skipping it this year.

  37. Marc*

    My company has a new General Manager who is REALLY into holidays. Or more specifically, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m lucky I’m remote about 500 miles away. For Thanksgiving they had a lunch in the office where people had assigned seats so different people could interact with each other (Company has 30 employees max) and they played games. For Christmas, they are doing a hotel ballroom on a Friday night. I was invited with my wife. Heck no. Just way too over the top, no interest in flying my wife down (will be there for a meeting) so I explained I have a commitment so I am leaving to go home Wednesday.

  38. Holiday Grinch*

    We haven’t had a party since 2019. HR sent out an email last week that there will be no party again this year, and the holiday budget would be reinvested into our holiday bonus. We don’t get our bonus checks until 12/22 so I’ll be curious to see if it’s more than last year. We’re a company of about 225 people.

  39. Lacey*

    We had a party last year, we’re having one again this year.
    Food, drinks, a company sponsored gift exchange (they bought the presents, we just play some sort of gift swap game with them) and then we all have the rest of the afternoon off!

  40. londonedit*

    Ours has already happened, but it was back to 2019 normal with a big do for everyone, at a nice location away from the office, with plenty of drinks and nibbles. We were going to have a team lunch before Christmas but it’s been cancelled because of the train strikes so we’ll do something in January instead.

    1. londonedit*

      Oh, and because some parties don’t seem to be optional – it was optional! I couldn’t go because I’d already booked a night away on the same date, but that wasn’t a problem at all. The people who went said it was a pretty good night.

  41. The Prettiest Curse*

    Our director is making cocktails (both with and without alcohol) for everyone at the office tomorrow and we’ll have a separate lunch next week, which will be combined with the leaving drinks for 2 colleagues. I’ll put in brief appearances at both events. All events are optional, and we did an optional Secret Santa too.

  42. Eeyore's Missing Tale*

    My college is hosting a catered lunch for all of the faculty and staff this year, and then our department staff will be going to a restaurant for lunch on another day. My college did the lunch during Covid, except they were boxed lunches that everyone took back to eat in their office or in one of several large rooms in the building where we could be 6 feet apart. I think this year they’ll try to put all of us into a big room together, so we’ll see how that goes.

  43. Zephy*

    My office is six (soon-to-be seven) people. We’re having a team gift exchange next Friday, we did a Secret Santa and drew names right before Thanksgiving. We’re also having a new hire start Monday, but we’re going to put together a little welcome gift for him with some campus swag so that he has something to open and can be included in our celebration. We have some office decorations up, including a Christmas tree and a little surfer Santa thing that used to move in some way but the batteries are dead (probably for the best tbh). We also have little stockings I found at the dollar store pinned up on a cube wall, with all our names on them in glitter glue; I have one for the new guy and another one for the previous new guy, who started last February, drying on my desk right now. I might go back to the dollar store and get some little candy canes or something to put in the stockings, haven’t decided yet. There’s also an interdepartment pot luck and Yankee swap later in the month, which I’m mostly participating in for the sake of being away from my desk for a couple of hours, tbh.

    1. AnotherOne*

      oooh, the little stockings are fun. we have a collection of Christmas decor courtesy of various non-work holiday parties that I’ve gone to and said- I’ll bring this to the office, our office manager will like it. So we’ve got a light up tree. a light up santa gnome. (the party with the nice center pieces is in another state so i only get there periodically.)

      and every year I do a happy sign where I try to come up with holidays that aren’t just Christmas and Hannukah to include. (Happy Boxing Day, anyone?)

      This year, our site had a little celebration which was mostly just cookies, cheese and alcohol yesterday. But next week is our office party which will be presumably cookies, cheese, fruit and alcohol. But probably some games and there will be a yankee swap, as well. It’s during the work day, which is nice.

      And they’re giving us the time between Christmas and New Years off (paid, as extra personal days) which I’d argue is something they’re doing for us for the holidays. So I’ll include it.

  44. Antilles*

    We’re having a holiday party this Saturday at a local bar in our suburb. It’s totally optional, but the company pays for drinks and food so I plan on going. Partners or families welcome.
    Should be a nice return to a full holiday party.

    1. Antilles*

      As a clarification/addendum, the party is also totally optional. The only thing that’s been requested is that people email the organizer in advance with number of attendees to make sure there’s enough tables reserved.

  45. Healthcare*

    I work in a hospital and indoor maskless celebrations are a no go. Individual departments/clinics mostly doing outdoors lunches.

  46. Juicebox Hero*

    We’re being “reminded” by the office manager/mini-boss that it’s time to contribute to the dungeon boss and final boss’ Christmas gifts. “Technically” it’s “optional” but we all know how that works (municipal government – the odds of changing the system are probably worse than me becoming King of England). We each get $50 in cash, which is more than the amount of the contribution so it’s not as painful as it could be, and a poinsettia. At least there’s no forced socialization or gift exchange between the rest of us.

    Since Christmas is on a Sunday we will be closing at noon on the Friday before and closed the Monday after, with pay, which is very nice indeed.

  47. Poppy*

    Lunch at a restaurant that’s a 40 minute drive for me on my day off. No COVID precautions have been taken in a long time at my workplace (except me and a couple others when meeting clients). I’m not excited.

  48. Mopsy*

    My remote office is doing a few virtual trivia sessions (to break up our large employee base, not multiple times a week) as well as a “virtual” white elephant where all the gifts are predetermined and will be shipped to the winners after the game is done.

    My partner’s work is flying everyone based in the US to NYC and paying for both the flight and hotel room for the night so they can make it to the in person holiday party. Despite paying for most of the trip, it seems like less people are going than the CEO would have liked, because he sent out an email that people better come and he spent lots of money on this! It doesn’t help that last year they did the same thing and about half the attendies got covid… I totally see both sides and feel for everyone, despite the cringey email.

  49. bopper*

    We were going to have a gathering at our work location but at the last minute they decided not to renew the lease (most people were working from home) so we had a day to get our stuff out…now we will have a lunch offsite.

  50. TeaFriend*

    I’m based in Germany so my company is renting out a big venue and hosting a private christmas market in the outdoor section of the venue with mulled wine, hot food and fire pits etc, as well as party indoors.

  51. Teapot Wrangler*

    Proper indoor party for us at a venue – free drinks, some bowl food and music. Oddly, it is due to finish at 11pm. It is quite a big space but no mention of ventilation. Guess we’re back to pre-pandemic Christmas except with an early closing!

    1. Teapot Wrangler*

      Totally optional – actually a lot of my team aren’t going – but I intend to. No more risky than getting on the tube and going to the office, so why not! I’m looking forward to seeing a few people that I usually only see online.

  52. Hannah*

    Our office isn’t doing a Christmas party (it supposedly wants to focus on the summer picnic), but they did a drive through gift handout for our field crew, and the office folk get gifts as well. I can actually see the bags from my desk, but they haven’t been distributed yet.

  53. Distracted Librarian*

    We’re having lunch at a nearby restaurant (outdoor seating–because we’re in Southern Arizona and can do that this time of year). Should be lovely!

    1. Certaintroublemaker*

      Also in SoAZ. Our smaller team is getting together at a place with outdoor seating. No get-togethers by the larger division, though there will be an opt-in Generous Giraffe virtual event (Secret Santa that is all kids gifts that go to Toys for Tots). Last year we had an in-person event in spring outdoors at a botanical garden that was fantastic. Hope we do that again!

  54. No+Longer+Gig-less+Data+Analyst*

    They are having some kind of “Virtual Winter Event” for all remote employees next Friday, but I am on PTO so I won’t be able to experience it. I’m not sure what the in-person events are planned for as I am several states away from our HQ and production facility.

  55. Belle+of+the+Midwest*

    My department did a very casual-but-fun gathering yesterday afternoon at a local food court/workshare space where we had the option to play cornhole, giant Jenga, participate in a trivia contest, ugly sweater contest, or just eat appetizers and chat. some of us brought snacks to share in addition to what was provided. Only two hours and it was fun and totally low-key. Our division used to have a big pitch-in luncheon before the pandemic. They were going to bring it back this year but due to so many remote schedules butting up against deadlines for posting grades, couldn’t make it work. So they are going to do some kind of gathering in January or early February. Frankly, I’d rather do that.

  56. Queen Ruby*

    I would be so thrilled if my company encouraged us to make cocktails at 11am…but then, I very much have a “it’s 5:00 somewhere” mentality lol

    1. Zephy*

      There used to be a guy in another department that would make homemade coquito and give out bottles as gifts to coworkers around the holidays. He’s moved on to greener pastures so we sadly lost our coquito hookup, but he gave a bottle to my boss a couple years ago and she shared it with the team lmao

  57. old+curmudgeon*

    I work for a taxpayer-funded state government agency, so we are doing exactly the same thing for the holidays that we have always done: absolutely nothing. It would violate a whole boatload of statutes at both the state and federal level to expend funds for parties, so my employer’s observation of the holidays is basically a series of agency-wide emails saying “happy holidays from your leadership.”

    In pre-pandemic days, the managers in my bureau would spend their own money to take the bureau out to a restaurant near the office for a holiday lunch, which was nice of them. At this point, though, since we are all working 100% remote and some folks live up to 70 miles away from the headquarters city, such gatherings no longer happen – which is honestly an advantage for me, as I don’t have any desire to be unmasked in a public setting like a restaurant.

    1. Joielle*

      State government here too. We’re having a potluck at our December staff meeting. Technically people are supposed to come in for staff meetings, but it’s never a big deal if people don’t. I imagine there will probably be a few people who skip the meeting or don’t participate in the potluck for health reasons and I don’t anticipate anyone will really notice or care. I’m looking forward to it though! We have a lot of foodies on staff so there are usually a number of fun potluck contributions.

    2. Helewise*

      Local government here, and same observation. It’d be nice if someone at least bought us donuts, but…

  58. anon for this*

    My unit is doing a lunch thing. I loved the 2019 one, but these days I’m feeling disillusioned with our leadership for being horrible to the people at the bottom and having a general “missing stair” culture, which is making me really not want to go. Going to put the time towards filling out job applications instead. The Friday “good news” posts are really encouraging me!

  59. bunniferous*

    Our company is small so the owners are opening up their home for the Christmas party. However my husband has health issues and that and the fact that rsv, the flu and the rona are all making the holidays rounds as well mean that we are staying home this year. No one is giving us flak….a little teasing maybe but the last three years have given me a very thick skin.

  60. zinzarin*

    We have a catered lunch at a very nice offsite lodge on a large local lake. I’m new here (well, recently returned after a long absence), and I’ve been told this is the first holiday party since the pandemic. I live in a part of the country that hasn’t been masking for a very long time, and the total party size will be slightly more than a dozen people, over half of whom I see daily; I don’t expect to see any masks, nor do I intend to wear one myself.

  61. Melanie Cavill*

    We had a Christmas party at a local pub. I was given several people’s drink tickets, happily made use of them, and was so relieved when I came in the Monday after and no one was commenting on how wasted I was. I also won over $500 in gift cards over several draws, which was pretty sweet. Over the coming weeks, a few of our vendors will be supplying lunch for the office. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I have several days off and two days where I get to work from home because the office will be closed. All in all, I think it’s pretty sweet.

    1. Melanie Cavill*

      (I will never forgive myself for using “pretty sweet” twice in one paragraph and not editing it out before submitting post. I mean, I’ll have forgotten in ten minutes. But between then and now, it will be my greatest disaster.)

      1. old+curmudgeon*

        I sympathize! Every Single Time I post a comment somewhere that doesn’t allow edits, I hit post, watch it appear, and then am in anguish over the imperfections in my comment that immediately jump out at me.

        Funny thing, though, if you hadn’t added your comment here, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed that you used that phrase twice, even though I absolutely know (because I am the same way with my own comments) that it stands out to you with big red flashing lights.

      2. weavering*

        I do this on the regular and it drives me nuts about myself!! I also tend to repeat phrases someone else used in my response to the comment and it just looks like I was copying them. I swear it’s some super mild form of echolalia caused by utter distraction.

  62. Just Another Zebra*

    Larger bonuses.

    We took a poll before Thanksgiving whether we wanted a party (which is usually a good time) or a smaller lunch in the office and a larger bonus. The second option won by a landslide. They actually hit our bank accounts yesterday so we could use them for shopping and everyone seems very happy (mine was 2.5x what it was in 2019!)

  63. Ann O'Nemity*

    My company is doing a catered buffet lunch with a choir and some games. One post-pandemic change is that all the food items will be individually packaged instead of the big communal chafing dishes. Otherwise it sounds like it will be pretty similar to the pre-pandemic holiday parties.

  64. Rg*

    We’re having a catered Hanukkah party. The company uses the points accumulated on the credit cards through the year to buy gifts and prizes for the party.

  65. RCS*

    Potluck lunch at the corporate office with Zoom call invite for remote workers. I will be there in spirit.

  66. PassThePeasPlease*

    We just got word of an “Ugly Sweater” party in the office for the entire company holiday event. It’ll happen during the workday and I assume there will be food and some type of activity.

    As a smaller team we are hosting a White Elephant gift exchange with a price cap and then going to a local bar afterwards. I’m leery of gift giving in office settings due to a bad experience in the past as an assistant tasked with a Secret Santa gift for an EVP but this exchange seems relaxed enough to participate in.

    And if you’re organizing a Secret Santa for your team/office, really no one will mind if you surreptitiously “rig” the matches so those at lower levels give to their peers and so on. Or at the very least set a reasonable price maximum. Makes things more equitable and comfortable for everyone!

    1. londonedit*

      I’ve only ever done work Secret Santas with a maximum £10 budget, thankfully. Once I did get one of the bosses as my person to buy for, but I went to TK Maxx and bought a scented candle from a designer brand for £9.99. Boss in question had no real grasp of what TK Maxx is but she obviously recognised the designer name, and was thrilled with the gift and very impressed with my thoughtfulness. Total win.

      1. UKDancer*

        Yeah I’ve only ever had them with a £5 limit in my last company. Part of the fun was seeing what you could get within the ceiling. My current company doesn’t do them but u always enjoyed it when somewhere did.

    2. HalloQueen*

      Over the years, I’ve found that the best way to avoid this is to make it more of a gift swap – we used to call it “Leave a Gift, Take a Gift”, like those penny jars you used to see in stores. Completely removed all of the “what if I get the boss?” angst (and for me, the boss, the “I want to participate to set a good example, but someone will select my name and feel pressure, ugh”). It’s a lot of fun to bring in the wrapped gifts a few days before the holiday and have a quick meeting to pick the gifts (I always went last, to make sure everyone got one) – sometimes people would swap, sometimes not, but it was always a lot of fun. AND, bonus, people could decide up to the final day if they could afford to participate, so it really relieved the financial pressure (I managed a library, so staff were making barely-above-min-wage…)

  67. Polopoly*

    5 hour outdoor event at a sculpture park. We are in the northeast… Atleast they have a tent where we can sit down to eat but are requested to get up as soon as we are done eating to make room for others.

  68. anon for this one*

    Indoor brunch with no acknowledgement of COVID, flu, or RSV aside from “it’s a big atrium so there will be better airflow.” I’m not going.

  69. Ann Perkins*

    Our area had its own holiday lunch last week and the company sent out $1000 bonuses to every employee so that was nice. The company is about 2000 employees spread out across a region so they haven’t done an all company party even before covid.

  70. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    Nothing at all! My new company all went remote at the start of the pandemic, and decided not to go back. I’ve only been here since this summer and it’s been awesome.

    My spouse is doing a white elephant at a brewery that serves food.

    It meets all the ‘good holiday party bullets:

    – during work hours
    – optional (you can stay back at the office or you can go to the party)
    – located next to the office
    – employees can invite whoever they want (significant other, siblings, roommate, kids)
    – they had a large restaurant and a smaller one in mind, took a head count before choosing a place so they knew they’d have enough space for the guests


    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      And the brewery is one of those big warehouses/barn type spaces with lots of airflow.

  71. Chilipepper Attitude*

    We have a new employee on a very small team so we are going to lunch to welcome them and as a holiday event. Paid for by work.

  72. Fuzzyfuzz*

    We had our first in-person party since the pandemic last year right before omicron hit, and it was so much fun–it was the one bright spot in an other crappy holiday season for me (had to cancel family plans, then all got sick–yuck). Same deal as pre-pandemic–special venue, free food and drinks, dancing and music. Totally voluntary. Only difference was no plus-ones. This year, our company is doing that again. Actually looking forward to it!

  73. Ivka*

    My large multinational is doing a catered evening party on our building’s rooftop tomorrow (it will be ~35 degrees, so I assume there will be heaters but who knows). I haven’t been since I started working here almost three years ago – first one was 2020, second was this set up but I was out of town, and tomorrow I have concert tickets – but according to more longstanding employees, while there is still free food and alcohol, the quality has significantly declined since pre-pandemic, when it was a very extravagant affair. Probably some combination of tightening purse strings and far smaller projected attendance.

  74. Jaid*

    Today, my unit brought in food (only thing actually cooked at home were meatballs) and we’re just grabbing stuff and going back to our desks to eat.

    Federal government is giving out 2 hours of holiday admin leave, which people will take between now and the end of the month.

  75. Clesl*

    I believe the company is going to send us to a basketball game in January. Local team is having a surprisingly good year (it’s a “building” season) so it could be fun…but we’ll see what the respiratory viruses are up to before I commit to going.

    1. Squish*

      Is it the Jazz? My brother in law is a diehard Jazz fan and he was very set to be disappointed this year but hasn’t been!

  76. psychoktty*

    I don’t think there has been a holiday party that I’ve been aware of since the first year I was at my job (2000). I did not go to that party, but I remember hearing about some debauchery that occurred the following week. Obviously this was a long time ago. In years after that, while I was still on a local team, we did a bunch of decorating in the office.

    I’ve been on a national team with members across the country since 2006, and for the last 5 years, I’ve been one of only two people on my immediate team that reside in the same state, but we aren’t in the same city. There are other departments that are 100% local and go into an office and are probably doing something, but my department was permanently converted to telecommuters in 2020. So having a holiday party really doesn’t make sense. They are sending us $ in the form of points in a recognition program that can eventually translate to money. It’s supposed to be for lunch. I will not spend it on lunch.

  77. Nannerdoodle*

    Company has quarterly All Hands meetings, where everyone who is WFH comes on site. They lined up the holiday party with the December meeting. All afternoon, the different departments went off for company sponsored lunch/team building. My group did axe throwing.

    That night, there was a formal party at a country club. This party has been on peoples’ calendars for basically the entire year. Open bar, full dinner, live band, dancing, the works. People could wear masks if they wanted to, and we’re in a very low Covid area.

  78. Miss+Chevious*

    My office has decided to act like nothing is happening. No one wears masks any more (except me), there are no restrictions or guidelines about coming into the office when sick, and management is planning our holiday party/townhall as if it’s 2019 (all of us in one room, a buffet dinner, etc.). No one says anything about me wearing a mask, fortunately, but that’s about it.

  79. Le Anon*

    Not a dang thing. They could, but they aren’t. I’ll be doing a little thing for my crew out of my pocket, and rolling my eyes at the inevitable “appreciation” emails.

  80. NoMorePartyPlanning*

    I had to talk leadership out of an indoor-only event, and we’re doing an outdoor/tented event at a local zoo where they will have their holidays lights on display. The last thing I wanted is for our staff to get sick and create coverage issues right before the holiday! We’re allowing plus ones.

    1. HigherEdAdminista*

      This is the thing that really baffles me. Right now, cases of COVID, flu, and RSV are all surging in our area. We see every day more and more students and employees getting sick. Classes have consistently been moving onto Zoom to accommodate everyone who is sick. Only one person who didn’t typically mask says they plan to start, and we are still planning this holiday lunch.

      It is the end of the semester; everyone is busy. Everyone is looking forward to the holidays and/or the break, and yet no one is making any attempt to be healthy enough to enjoy them. If I am going to take a risk, I want it to be something really enjoyable to me, not just sitting in my office eating some chips and dip without a mask!

  81. Terra*

    We had our celebration at a winery in Orlando. Appetizers, dinner, dessert, open beer and wine bar, and some casino games played with provided chips for entertainment. Prizes for the most chips were given out at the end.

  82. ScorpioCat24*

    A very swanky “evening attire” party in a very upscale hotel in DC on Saturday. They’re not even serving a full meal, just hors d’oeuvres and music. I am most definitely not attending.

  83. RJ*

    We’re remote and all over the world so the various department subdivisions are doing virtual happy hours. So glad as my home state just went to High status this week due to COVID and flu cases. Yikes.

  84. booo*

    We are about 50% fully remote, so we are doing a virtual Holiday Party. They mentioned they are sending stuff to our homes for us to play with and I think we are doing some sort of trivia. We also have a starbucks giftcard on the way. I like the way they do things.

  85. Managercanuck*

    We’re doing two things:

    1. Virtual lunch. Next Wednesday we’re having a special Zoom meeting where we all order in lunch and eat together. We’ve done it before and it works well. One of my co-workers is permanently remote so it’s a great way to include her.

    2. Each of us is allowed to spend up to a certain amount on whatever we want that will make us happy, and we’ll be reimbursed that amount when we submit the receipt. Last year, I spend mine on a whole whack of Noro yarn that I wouldn’t normally buy.

      1. Managercanuck*

        I made a jacket! It turned out really well, though I ended up needing more yarn on top of what I’d bought. That became a whole drama because the colorway I was using had been discontinued.

  86. Dr. Doll*

    My small team had a Thanksgiving-adjacent lunch at a local restaurant, outdoor seating. My treat. Everyone came except the person with the covid-ridden spouse. Then we took pictures for our holiday newsletter. The absent person will be photoshopped in. We had to do it pretty early because of vacation overlaps from early December to late January.

  87. GiantPanda*

    Party in pre-COVID style was last Friday, several hundred people eating, drinking and chatting in a crowded space.
    Lots of empty offices this week, I wonder why.

  88. Florida Librarian*

    Hit send too soon!
    We have a new employee on a very small team so we are going to lunch to welcome them and as a holiday event. Paid for by work. It will be outdoor seating (we are in a warm climate).

    We also have a potluck for our student workers. I happen to be off that day.

    I live in Florida where COVID is over and in fact, altered very little of our day-to-day after about May 2020. Individually most people I know are cautious but I see almost no masking.

    It really shows how things can affect your mindset. I’m totally surprised at all the precautions and things that others report here! Part of me knows the reality but my day-to-day experience is so different that I’m constantly surprised.

    1. londonedit*

      Yeah we’ve had no Covid restrictions in the UK for ages now, and the government has very much moved to a ‘we’re living with it as if it’s flu’ sort of mindset. You still see a fair few masks on the tube and some in shops, but the pubs are full and office parties are definitely happening. It feels pretty normal, apart from the fact that people (well, I am, anyway) are more likely to do a bit of a ‘hmm, Christmas is in two weeks’ time, I think I’ll limit my socialising’ calculation. Loads of people are ill at the moment but the vast majority of it isn’t Covid, it’s just other general winter cold stuff.

  89. Seashell*

    Nothing that I’ve heard yet. A good chunk of the office is still remote, so I doubt there will be anything. I’m fine with that.

  90. Cacofonix*

    Hotel restaurant dinner party, just like last year(!) While 2021 was in between omicron waves in our area, they required proof of vaccination, and we masked up except for dinner, it almost definitely misguided especially as they were really good about Covid policies otherwise. No reported illnesses, but still.

  91. Trivia*

    Our giant Christmas party is back on track and I can’t wait. Covid seems to be under control in this part of Europe.

  92. amoeba*

    We’ve been back to no measures for a while (not just my company – our whole European country), so would have had a Christmas dinner at a restaurant as was apparently normal before I joined. Alas, we now have cost-saving measures in place, so again, nothing.
    My boss is organising a last minute get-together at the canteen the week before the holidays, which is certainly better than nothing. Am still sad though, as the plans last year (that were than cancelled due to COVID) sounded lovely.

  93. holiday*

    This year we are back to pre-pandemic type holiday parties. It was last Friday night and we had a beautiful offsite event space, open bar, appetizers, buffet dinner, live band, caricaturist, and a couple exhibits were open at the venue (think museum). Plus ones were invited and everyone dressed up. There are just over 300 ppl working at corporate headquarters and we had a great turnout.

  94. Jenga*

    We went out for dinner at a local restaurant. We only got a two week heads up and I had already committed to something else so I didn’t get to go to it.

  95. Irish Teacher.*

    We’re having a meal at a restaurant tomorrow week and then a pub for drinks afterwards. I might leave right after the meal or might go to the pub for half an hour. Looks like about half to two-thirds of the staff are going but don’t know how many will just join for the drinks afterwards.

    Last year, we booked a party, but it got postponed when restrictions were introduced so we ended up just doing a sort of raffle and Christmas music in the staffroom one lunchtime and declared that our party.

  96. Sharon*

    Back to our normal (and always super fun!) potluck lunch and white elephant/Yankee gift swap this year.

  97. ThursdaysGeek*

    Our company sent us all a holiday card from the president which included a $100 visa gift card. We’re all over, some virtual and some in office, so the card was sent to our home address.

  98. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    We had our holiday events this week and they were just… two all-hands zoom meetings? At one, the leadership wore Santa hats, but other than that, just staff meetings. Not terribly festive, but honestly the only downside of a fulltime remote job I’ve seen so far. I’ll take it.

  99. General Izable*

    My whole office is fully remote and my project team has decided to do a cookie exchange! Each person is mailing store bought or home made cookies to another team member – with a budget to pay for materials and shipping. Much preferable to staring at each other on Zoom like we do every day.

  100. STG*

    We’re back to our normal potluck & white elephant exchange. Thankfully COVID numbers are very small in our area and attendance is completely optional (and supported if you don’t want to). One of the managers is not attending because her mom is undergoing chemo and one of the employees because of their own health issues. Both are being provided a catered lunch and received a small gift-card from management in place of the white elephant exchange since they can’t participate.

  101. No party for me please*

    My workplace is somewhat COVID cautious…at work. Masks are required, we have HEPA filters, we encourage people to stay home if they have any symptoms. However, they’re planning an in-person unmasked Christmas party at a pub. Meanwhile, a nearby children’s hospital has built a temporary second ICU in a tent in the parking lot and has called on the Red Cross for help due to shortages of doctors and nurses. I personally don’t understand how we’ve normalized mass sickness and death and a massive deterioration of the availability and quality of health care. The lack of any sense of collective responsibility is pretty deflating.

    1. Sharkie*

      Wait where are you located if you don’t mind. I am US based (In a state that takes covid seriously mind you) and I haven’t heard of offices requiring masks in a while

  102. KG*

    My boss usually takes us to a nice steakhouse for lunch. I’m now WFH all but 2 days a month and when I was in last month he asked what I wanted to do. I’m still not eating in restaurants so I told him I was fine with manning the office if he wanted to take the rest of the staff. He decided we’ll have takeout in the office again this year so I can participate. We have a huge open office and only 5 staff so we can spread out.

  103. Bagpuss*

    (not in the US)
    Ours is a meal out, (evening) Paid for entirely by the company, completely voluntary.
    I’m not going as I am just too tired .

    Separately we have a secret santa and going by previous years we (the partners) will probably pay to order in pizza for lunch that day for anyone who wants it (whther or not they are participating in the secret santa)
    Secret santa is organised by embers of staff, it’s not official and is genuinely voluntary

  104. Julia*

    We (non-profit, less than 20 employees) just had our holiday party last night at a local restaurant! Spouses/guests were invited, and we had a blast!

  105. HailRobonia*

    We’re doing a luncheon. Santa’s gift to us is that our Big Boss is on vacation so nobody has to be stuck at a table with him (we always feel we are being scrutinized when he is around).

  106. weavering*

    At a university. The department is having drinks and appetizers from 3-7 on a weeknight in an event space on campus. I’ve always found this to be a very awkward event even when it was hosted in our building at lunch time (no drinks!) so I’m weighing whether or not I really need to go. Our lab group is going to the PI’s house on a Friday night for drinks and appetizers, families included. This is a new lab group for me so I’m really hoping *that* isn’t awkward but at least I’ll have my children to distract me/bail out if necessary.

  107. Orange You Glad*

    We’re hosting in-person holiday parties this year for the first time since 2019! 2 have already happened this week in 2 of our offices and my office’s is this coming Wednesday. It looks like the party has been elevated a bit since past years – in the past, it was more of a happy hour with an open bar and limited appetizers hosted at a bar in our office complex. This year it is at a hotel ballroom with a full dinner. I am looking forward to connecting with many people I used to see every day in the office, but don’t run into anymore while we are remote since our jobs don’t overlap.

  108. CowBusiness*

    My company isn’t doing anything this year. People are upset about it because before COVID they used to do really swanky dinners out for employees and their families. Last year they did a raffle instead, which was nice, I suppose, but it meant that only five people got anything, and also half of them were higher level management. I don’t think the reason nothing is happening this year is really related to COVID, as my company generally doesn’t take any precautions, but I think COVID was a good excuse for them to save money. I don’t mind about the party- it’s my first year here so I don’t miss it, I don’t want to get COVID from my coworkers, and I also don’t celebrate Christmas. Though I do wish my company did anything at any point during the year to show employee appreciation. But some old timers are really pissed. There’s been a lot of angry whispered gossip.

  109. BookWitch*

    They are doing all the same things they do every year, which normally I find nice. But my mom died earlier this year and the holidays have become unbearable to me. I ended up taking a mental health day when our party was scheduled. I tried to stick it out, but it was just too hard to be around all the cheer. It’s just too hard to opt out of it and I hate having to have the same sad conversation repeatedly. And I’m wondering if I’ve made other people miserable during holidays past by doing the same things that are so painful to me now.

  110. KN*

    Same as last year, a big in-person party with mandatory covid testing (with free provided tests!) within 24 hours of the event and vaccine requirements for all attendees, as we already have for all staff. The covid safety is still arguably not great as those are the only precautions, but I went last year and will likely go this year.

    I attended virtual parties in 2020 of course, but honestly I don’t ever feel like attending another one! Real parties are great and staying at home alone is great; I’m happy with those options.

  111. Hotel blues*

    I work in a hotel and our holiday party is going to be in our hotel on a Sunday night…of MLK weekend. Not that we get MLK day off anyway. So our kitchen and banquet staff have to work the holiday party, and of course front desk staff and housekeepers and whatnot still have to work because the hotel has to run.

    I didn’t go to the party last year because I didn’t want to stay out late the night before a workday and I’m really just not super interested in rah rah “morale building” stuff especially when I find it kind of shitty that some of the staff have to work AT the holiday party. I don’t want to be served by my colleagues when they should be getting a break. I think they at least get double time for working though, which is good.

    If I do go, it will only be because I manage to take off that Monday. Which I should be able to with some comp time, hopefully. I just…I spent all week and sometimes more than that with my coworkers and while I like them I’ve never really felt like I fit in with them, so I don’t want to spend a whole bunch more time with them plus alcohol plus our inevitable department holiday party.

    1. Sara*

      Ugh that sucks… I used to work at a place that was a frequent venue for holiday parties. We always had our big party in January, and used to basically trade venues with a hotel or something. So we’d have our party at their hotel and they’d have their party at our venue (zoo/aquarium). Before that started up (I think when we got a catering/events manager who actually knew what they were doing), we used to have our holiday party onsite and ya, it sucked for so many departments who had to work the events – catering, security, animal care for any exhibits that were open, etc.

  112. LizW*

    Butterball “checks” for $35 (Thanksgiving) and $50 (Xmas) that can be written to any grocery store for any types of groceries.

    I like it because all employees (production and non-production) get something useable.

    1. LizW*

      Dollar wise it seems paltry compared to my spouse’s company party but I’d rather have groceries than be subjected to 4 hour drunk fest that requires separate dog-friendly hotel 30 minutes from the paid for hotel/party venue, 8 hours travel, and fuel.

  113. Anna*

    We’re a company of around 20, split pretty evenly between Los Angeles area and the east coast. There will be two fancy lunches out at restaurants, one in LA and then the east coast team will meet up in NYC.

    1. Anna*

      I prevailed on the bosses to not do wearable logo gifts this year, so instead we went with nice travel bags (with logos) in addition to bonus depending on if you’ve worked for the company for the full year ($2k), 6 months ($1k), or less than that ($500).

  114. AmberFox*

    I’m pretty sure it’s going to be like last year – which is to say “the monthly all-team meeting is going to be an ugly sweater contest and all the newbies being forced to sing a company-themed version of a Christmas carol.

  115. Sister Spider*

    Literally nothing, and we won’t even get a few hours off early the Friday before the holiday because “everyone is at home now”. Love corporate America.

  116. MerrytheMuscle*

    We had our holiday party last Friday. It was at a local restaurant. No masks or Covid precautions. The the following Monday we had a baby shower at the office for an employee. Now more than half the office is WFH or out sick with sinus infections.

  117. Ally McBeal*

    Our party was yesterday – in person, in our office, with catering from a local restaurant and gift cards for either cash or other local businesses. Our branch is relatively small – I don’t know about headcount but I’d guess less than 50 people attended. We did this last year too, despite worries about Omicron, but to my knowledge no one got sick afterward. The only real difference is that last year we stayed in-office due to pandemic worries, and this year it was in-office because management is worried about the looming recession and wanted to save money. It was nice both years, although hopefully in future years we’ll rent space in a venue or do some sort of group activity.

  118. Anothergloriusmorning*

    I work for a very large organization. So celebrations are departmental. We are getting lunch delivered.

  119. NervousHoolelya*

    My job is going back to doing an afternoon holiday party, with no masking or Covid restrictions beyond what individuals choose.

    My husband’s job is going back to doing an afternoon bowling party. I’m not sure whether they are requiring masking (he works for a major non-profit run by and for doctors, so they have been more cautious overall and more willing to accommodate individual needs than most other companies).

  120. Trying my best*

    My office already had the holiday party, I’m sorry “end of year party” (except there was a lot of Christmas decorations and holiday well wishes and wrapped presents you could win in a raffle…but absolutely end of year party nothing Christian about it).

    We had it at lunch time at a Brazilian steak house, off site. You had to drive to it but it counted as work hours. I wore a mask but did attend. It was, ah, interesting.

    We got to go home once it was done. However if anyone didn’t attend and wanted to take the half day they had to use vacation time.

    I started here late this year so it’s been interesting.

  121. Annonymouse*

    3 different options: in office party if you are local/ $150 towards either a meal with loved ones/ $200 for a work relevant master class.

  122. Dumpster Fire*

    I’m in a public high school and we haven’t had any precautions since about last April (although there are still a small number of people wearing masks), so it’s interesting to see how many comments refer to masking and space, etc. I don’t think there’s anything planned at this point, although – for the first time ever – we have a half-day on the Friday before vacation starts! Woo-hoo!

    1. carcinization*

      I work at a public middle school, only a couple of employees are masking these days (last year the librarian and I were among the last holdouts, but both of us stopped this year), and we get out 2 hours early on the Friday before the 2-week holiday break. But… that day is also “school appropriate pajama day,” and we’re expected to head to a nearby Mexican restaurant upon release and pay for our own food/drinks. I’m definitely wearing regular workwear and not pajamas, and whether I go to the after-work activity or not depends on how exhausted I am by then.

  123. Flowers*

    At my last company the Christmas party was in late afternoon in a really swanky place and open bar. Lots of ppl getting silly drunk with stories that come up years later (that may or may not be good stories). My first year it was at a steakhouse and I still remember how amazing that food was. The last one (2019) was at a rooftop hotel and there was lots of dancing. The last workday before Christmas would be a secret santa/white elephant gift exchange and ppl generally being sociable and chatty. Lots of good memories.

    At my current job, ours is tomorrow – breakfast and Continuing education lecture at a banquet hall. Followed by Entertainment, lunch and then early dismissal. No idea if alcohol is served but it doesn’t matter to me anyways. I’m looking forward to it although I’m a tiny tiny tiny bit bummed that since it’s a daytime event I can’t dress as sparkly as I want lol.

  124. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    Trip down memory lane: My previous job had landed a BIG client the year before they hired me. I was part of their massive rapid growth to support the BIG client. Started in mid-September, did not get along with my boss, did not like the company or my work (as often happens in my field, work was completely different, and far less marketable, from what they’d told me they were hiring me to do.) Came in one Dec morning and boss called me into a conference room and closed the door. I stood there thinking “oh thank dog, he’s firing me” instead he handed me an envelope. Inside was a letter from the owner saying “this was an exceptional year, here’s an exceptional bonus” and a check for 10% of my net pay. I only (lol) got 10% because I was new. Most of the rest of my team got 40-50%, a few people who’d been with the company since inception got 100%.

    The year after that, the owner sold the company and went ALL OUT for that year’s holiday party. Rented both floors of a music venue downtown, food, open bar (I think? I didn’t pay for any drinks), raffle with good prizes, a live band. From there on out, it was the usual mediocre parties/bonuses from the new owner. Current job does not do bonuses (only thing that remained constant through mergers, acquisitions, and reorgs) and holiday parties were just potluck or catered lunches, that we ate at our desks as there wasn’t enough room in the breakroom.

  125. Past Lurker*

    Chicken nuggets. That’s it. The rest is being provided by the managers and us employees as a potluck event.

    1. HailRobonia*

      During the lockdown our office gift was a large overpriced chocolate bar mailed to us. The invoice was included in the box because it was sent directly from the company and the shipping was more than the cost of the chocolate (chocolate $7.50, shipping $8-something).

      Also I might have to put quotes around the word “chocolate” because it was so low quality. It was like they melted a chocolate-scented candle and added sugar.

  126. Kitty Cathleen*

    For the first time in many years, they’re skipping a holiday party and gift. Instead, they’re using the budget to give every employee a $300 bonus. My company has really expanded the number of remote employees, including opening a new call center in a state several thousand miles away. An in person party doesn’t make sense any more. I’m delighted by the change.

  127. eshrai*

    I work a government job, so anything we do has to be unofficial and we pay. My section managers gave us a party yesterday and brought in snacks and desserts. We played board games and had contests. My team is going to go off-site for a team building event (holiday parties forbidden this year but team building is ok) we are going axe throwing and lunch with a white elephant exchange. I’m excited for this! My team is small so it’s not too much. We do monthly team building events too, all optional.

  128. Lettherebegames*

    We usually do a holiday dinner in January as we are events based and get too booked in Dec to do one then. We did one in January and no one got sick after, and those that were sick did not show up. We very much encourage people who are ill to keep their germs and selves at home.

    This year, we are renting out half a games tavern and doing a games/food event. The space holds 60+ and we will have less than 40 people in it. We are doing it on an “off” night for the tavern and it is unlikely to be full with regular patrons on that side of the space either.

    1. Lettherebegames*

      I forgot to add, Company pays for it all. And usually gives leave so people can roll in late the next day unless someone has booked an early morning load in the next day (unlikely for middle of January).

  129. Decidedly Me*

    We’re fully remote and nothing has been announced yet, but last year we had a virtual get together where we split into teams to play games – it was a lot of fun!

    Partner’s work (no official policy, but most are hybrid by choice at this point) has an in-office cookie exchange, ugly sweater contest, and their normal lunch catering that day. Family are welcome, though it’s during the work day. Must be vaccinated and boosted to enter the offer (true for guests, as well). Masks are optional, but encouraged and provided. COVID tests are also provided.

  130. Fieldpoppy*

    We have a small, entirely remote (pre-pandemic and always) group and we were going to have lunch at a restaurant but decided we were all too busy and tired and no one wanted to drive so we (the partners) gave everyone a small cash bonus (more than we would have spent on lunch) and everyone is happy lol.

  131. SL*

    The planning committee for our office wanted to do a big pre-Covid party, but by the time they decided it would be okay to go ahead with it, they couldn’t reserve the hotel ballroom space anywhere. So we’re doing a “Holiday Open House” at the office next week. It’s drop-in during work hours and will have music, drinks, and food, apparently. It seems a lot better than the after work downtown parties of the past. I’ll probably go depending on my schedule (I’m hybrid so I wouldn’t normally go in that day). Most of the other people in the office don’t mask, so I expect this to be the same.

  132. Havin Monahan*

    Interesting how many people here are not going or reluctant to go to holiday parties due to covid. Based on what I see (both anecdotally and public polling), the AAM crowd is much more covid conscious than the rest of the public.

    Don’t think my organization is doing anything this year aside from probably sending us a package. We’ve had two division-wide in person meetings the past few months, and both turned out to be covid/flu spreader events, so the appetite for in person meetings is low.

    1. Delphine*

      I think you’re right. Our holiday dinner is going forward after a survey of our (tiny) company. No one wanted to sit it out, even though I think we have cautious people in our office and anyone who wasn’t comfortable attending would absolutely have made their feelings known.

    2. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I agree that this crowd is much more COVID conscious. I’m not attending mine for a variety of reasons, one of which is it’s too close to Christmas and I don’t want to catch COVID and be sick over the holidays, but when I mentioned that to colleagues they were surprised it was a consideration (though became a consideration for some after I brought it up). I found out that probably about 80% of the RSVPs so far have been affirmative, so I’m definitely in the minority in not attending.

      1. starsaphire*

        I wonder if we’re (as a group) more Covid cautious, or just more willing to be open about discussing it, as it feels like a safer environment than general social media?

        It does rather fascinate me, the difference in posts – the people who are thrilled to be back to business as usual, and the people who are not so thrilled. Not being judgy here, honest.

  133. morethantired*

    Before the pandemic, we used to do an in-person party at the office. Now, the company welt 100% remote and our staff is much larger and spread all over the country. For the past two years, we did Zoom parties, but those became difficult as our staff grew. So this year, they’re just giving us a half day Friday as the party/gift for the year. I’d rather a whole day but I’ll take the half day happily!!

  134. Staja*

    We are having a Christmas pizza lunch, with presents from Santa.

    Since the company has been pushing DEIB this year (and I do not celebrate Christmas), I decided to use capital and reach out to HR with the point that Christmas and Santa aren’t secular and that I was a little disappointed about the lack of inclusion. I fully expect to see Chanukah balls on my desk next time I make it to the office.

    1. abcdef*

      I’m in charge of decorating for our end-of-year gathering, and I’ve been trying hard to ensure things are winter-themed or org-themed, NOT Christmas-themed. It’s harder than anticipated (also partly because I have a low budget) to find such decorations!

  135. Delphine*

    We’re having our annual meeting in person again and our annual holiday dinner for the first time since 2019 (everyone will be vaccinated and we’ll test beforehand). I’m very excited.

  136. Purple Cat*

    Spouse’s company did their typical holiday party. Evening dinner/fake casino night.
    My company typically didn’t do a holiday party. Starting one this year, catered lunch in the conference room.

  137. OfficeSpacedDorothy*

    We are a nonprofit event space and our executive director is hosting Posada for our staff party. Very much looking forward to it! We host a lot of holiday parties and events so it will be great to have one for our staff.

  138. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    Folks who can go into the office were invited to a party, including flying in remote workers. I would have spent 18 hours in the air for maybe 10 hours with the team, so I declined, and instead they told me to expense a $50 meal. Pretty decent, provided I also get my raise and bonus next year.

  139. Metermonkey*

    The company isn’t sponsoring anything- haven’t had a company party since Covid- but the boss is buying us all breakfast on his tab. Which, I think we’d all rather that than dig around in our closets to dress up as white-collar workers for a party.

  140. Thistle Pie*

    Pre 2020 our office had a staff-organized potluck with a gift swap for the entire organization. This year there is no official party but those of us in the office (a much smaller group) are going to order pizza for lunch one day and eat together, where as we usually eat on our own at our desks. I’m looking forward to it instead of dreading the elaborate potluck which actually takes a lot of work!

  141. PotteryYarn*

    Last year, our company made record sales, so they threw a huge party and invited employees from all over the world to a weeklong celebration at our headquarters. Everyone had a great time but a TON of people got COVID as it was right when Omicron was beginning to spike. We were planning something similar this year until about mid-year and then the company decided to halt all large gatherings. Instead, each department was given a budget to have a smaller get-together of their choice. Some departments did a nice dinner, others are doing an activity or outing.

  142. Rach*

    My work is having a gathering at a local café and even though there’s precautions, I probably won’t attend since my extended family is throwing our huge xmas eve party after being cancelled for two years in a row due to covid. And since it might be the last one my grandmother will be hosting – definitely not gonna risk it!

  143. Nicki Name*

    Pizza at the office for those who feel like coming in, no pressure to do that though. No mask requirement, but I plan to wear one and there’s an outdoor area where I’ll feel safe eating.

  144. Samwise*

    We are going to a local restaurant for lunch. Then “professional development” afterwards, aka Take the afternoon off.

  145. nona*

    Holiday/end of year “appreciation” dinners. But more than one because apparently the faculty and staff can be appreciated together but then the faculty also has to be appreciated at another function, without staff present? I dunno… academia is so hierarchical and annoying like that.

    And no, there will be no covid precautions unless you count that people can choose to wear a mask. Even though people are discussing the rising cases amongst themselves, we are officially pretending it isn’t happening.

  146. WantonSeedStitch*

    Our larger department had an in-person celebration with food, beer, and wine. The smaller unit headed by my grandboss is having a Zoom celebration with an activity that involves having something mailed to us at our homes. The even-smaller team headed by my boss had an in-person party, but the activity it involved was one that a remotely-based employee could share over Zoom.

  147. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

    I don’t think we’re doing anything. Maybe a virtual party, which I won’t attend, as I hate virtual parties. They feel like lectures, there’s no way to just go off in a corner and talk with someone, etc..

  148. Miss Kat*

    I started with my company 2 months before Covid hit, so December 2021 was my first company Christmas party. They catered lunch and we have a Secret Santa. I wound up with my boss as my SS and it turns out she’s as much of a Christmas nut as I am. Turns out, last year was our first profitable year and the owner made an announcement that we would all be getting an extra Christmas bonus, on top of our usual bonus. He didn’t know how much exactly, but when we got our direct deposits… let me just say WOW!!. We are doing the same thing this year and hopefully we had an equally good year. Happy Holidays everyone!!

  149. KT*

    We’re doing a company paid for lunch and one of those “drink and paint” classes, with the company supplying both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options (very small company in a creative field).

  150. SpecialSpecialist*

    I was looking forward to going to our party (which was earlier today, Thursday), but heard reports that people in the building where the party was being held came in symptomatic on Monday and were out of the office on Tuesday because they’d either tested positive for Covid or flu. Really put a damper on my holiday spirit. I went to the party to represent my team because they all decided to stay away from the petri dish of sickness. I masked up, slathered my hands with sanitizer, grabbed a plate, sat at a table by myself, inhaled my food, and high tailed it back home to work the rest of the day. Gonna go grab a Vitamin C to give my immune system some incentive to be strong!

  151. ManufacturingParty*

    I’m at a multinational alcohol manufacturer in Canada. Management (me) has a big party with sales tonight (whole thing: dinner, drinks, gifts, games.) and then we have a manufacturing management holiday dinner next week (smaller, also all paid for.) the union had a holiday party last weekend. We’ve got an employee gift drive through next week (free booze + merch gifts) and an on shift holiday lunch next week too.

    We’ve been in person on the floor this whole time, and had a vaccine mandate for a lot of the pandemic which we dropped when the province dropped the mask mandate. (Plus we’re at ‘very vaccinated’ as a population here.)

    Lots of us have been sick with various non covid things recently and a lot of people still have sick kids at home etc so not everyone is going (also, it’s not necessarily worth the babysitter for a lot of people etc) but I’m happy we’re doing stuff this year. We didn’t have a way to work from home and it’ll be fun to have some festive things this year. (And not another year of ‘you can only leave the house for work but not for fun’ – which made sense for a long time but still sucked.)

  152. irene adler*

    There’s less than a dozen of us. Every year management reserves a table at a local restaurant for our holiday luncheon-during work hours. The restaurant is something very nice.
    (Although there’s a running joke that parking at such places is just awful!)

    They pick up the entire tab. And they encourage folks to order large portions (get the lobster!), dessert, etc. and take something home.

    And, they order champagne for all.

    Then we close down for the next week. Or longer; folks use their PTO to make it a full two weeks.

    1. irene adler*

      Let me add: we used to do a white elephant gift exchange, decorate the breakroom, set up a tree, but all that got old after a few years. So now it’s just conversation and food.

  153. VivKeill*

    After a recent re-org that saw most teams get separated geographically and with economic headwinds causing T&E approvals to disappear, we are doing virtual team gatherings. My boss was gracious enough to say “no pre-work, no ice breakers, let’s just chat about whatever for 30 minutes” so there’s that. Those of us who used to work with each other locally are meeting in January for an “alumni” lunch. I’m not sure if any of the other business units are doing in-person events or if the HQ is doing something else.

  154. Simone*

    We’re remote and global so we decided to allow all employees close to one another (couple hour drive) get together and expense a dinner w/ their spouse ($250 per person) and at least one other employee. We have a few (5% of staff) who really aren’t near anyone, but everyone else was able to join a group of 3-15 colleagues in their area and get dinner! Really lovely and simple and there wasn’t any pressure to go if you don’t want to. It was also a nice way to meet people we’re not close enough to get a drink w afterwork AND those folks in different departments, but physically closer.

    1. ManufacturingParty*

      This is so fun! I hear the ‘I’d rather have cash or the time off’ folks and totally agree – if it’s a matter of one or the other. But I think work social events can have some real value in a lot of environments – you can get to know people in other departments who may be useful to you later & you also get a different environment to talk to people in. (We often have competing priorities while we’re on the clock at my job so things can feel high stakes and combative while we’re at work. It’s nice to get to know people that you normally only speak to when you’re triaging a problem and stressed out)

  155. JR*

    TBD. Our company anniversary is in February, so there’s usually a company-wide party in Feb/March rather than a holiday party. We had our last one in late February 2020, just before shit hit the fan. In 2021, they did not even try to plan a party; in 2022, they tentatively scheduled one that was cancelled well before any of the plans were firmed up. But the 2023 anniversary is a “landmark” one, so they seem to really want to have it, and they already have the venue booked. It’s indoors, but in a large venue where the crowd would be relatively dispersed. We’ll see if it ends up actually happening!

  156. JanetM*

    My grandboss’s job was just eliminated; he’s retiring as of January 4. We canceled our holiday party (awkward!) and are doing a “stop by the sports bar across the street sometime during the afternoon and wish him well” thing.

  157. Ana Gram*

    Our usual. My 8 person unit does lunch at a nice (well, nice for us) restaurant and a secret Santa. The building does a Christmas potluck during a normal lunch hour. We’re law enforcement so WFH was (and is) extremely limited. We did skip the Christmas festivities in 2020 and 2021, though, and units limited interaction as much as possible.

  158. Construction Safety*

    Had a “Bring your favorite appetizer “ yesterday. Had lotsa good eats.

    On Tuesday, next week, “Bring your favorite breakfast item”.

    On the 20th, “Bring a potluck side”

    FWIW, no Covid/ Flu precautions. Ever. Anywhere.

  159. Brains or Bust*

    We’re doing a holiday luncheon during the workday with two different meat choices, sides, dessert, etc. No booze since we’re a construction company. This is our annual holiday tradition, so nothing new! It’s always gone well in the past so why change it.

  160. DataEmpress*

    November 10 the org announced that we were getting an extra week of holiday vacation (we already had the week between xmas and new years off). So, two full weeks of vacation. Oh, and we are all getting north face jackets – we got to pick one of three styles, and select our own size on a website, so never had to send it in to anyone. Best. Holiday. Ever.

  161. Kotow*

    The same as always! We’ll go to a local restaurant to celebrate. We did this in 2020 and 2021 as well although 2020 was a bit rushed because we got in right before the governor shut down restaurants for the remainder of December. It’s really nice to see that we have to get in reservations because there are enough people going out now that spots fill up fast!

  162. +0*

    in-headquarters luncheon for the staff who live in the area, and remote staff get the afternoon off. I’m out of state and not mad.

  163. Big Tech Burnout*

    We’re seeing who survives the layoffs on Monday and that’s it. There’s allegedly no budget for events or anything else but I work in finance and know we’re being asked to pretend the money isn’t there. Other BUs are planning site visits and swag gifts.

    I’m reaching out to my peers and setting up an unofficial coffee chat for those who want to connect.

  164. Adds*

    Nothing, thankfully.
    I mean there won’t be any bonuses or anything like that, either, but at least there won’t be overspending on a party no one really wants to go to.

    Last year our “Company Holiday Party” was literally my boss’s 25th wedding anniversary/vow renewal ceremony & party. And all of us workers got to sit there through the whole very intimate, family-centric ceremony just to have dinner. And then my holiday bonus was a t-shirt from their anniversary trip to NYC. But at least I got a “bonus” because no one else did.

  165. Rara Avis*

    My employer celebrates in June (the end of the school year), not December. The Sunshine committee is hosting an after-work gathering at a local restaurant (usually they cover snacks but not drinks) and several of my colleagues at my specific site are doing a white elephant gift auction at lunch. They did it last year and it was really silly and fun. Both completely optional. Oh, and our bonuses (always cash) get handed out tomorrow.

  166. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    We had an in-office breakfast potluck last Friday, and everyone brought in ornaments to decorate our team mini-trees. It was nice.

  167. KayEss*

    We were able to select between three virtual activities and an in-person restaurant gathering. (Last year it was a choice between two virtual activities.) The activities are all “guided” so it’s not just 50 people staring at each other on Zoom… this year the choices were wine tasting, a murder mystery dinner, and some kind of painting thing. There’s also a mandatory Zoom meeting for the requisite speeches from the C-suite and handing out the big annual employee recognition awards. All of this is on work time.

    Having been to some really awful work holiday parties, I thinks they’re doing pretty well. Logistically it’s probably a nightmare.

  168. Academic library staff*

    Indoor event, catered, typical pre-pandemic gathering with food, drinks, games and no mask mandate. I’m not going, but then again I still mask indoors and am lucky that my partner (who does not have additional risk factors) does all our erranding.

  169. Ginger Baker*

    We had a return to the style of holiday party as pre-pandemic – a big party in an external space with food and drinks and music. Because my main reason for SuperUber Caution (a family member) is not a concern any longer (for unfortunate reasons), I decided to go (work benefits of socialization + I do like people + the food is great). In a major change for me, I did forego a mask, since I have recently been vaccinated and other members of my household just recovered from Covid, so my risk assessment was that it was safe enough for me and I wouldn’t be putting others at risk (the party was completely optional and I still mask up for the entirety of my commute). I have mixed feelings about it, and am still very much in flux trying to figure out a way to navigate the world we are in in a way that feels healthy for me (physically, mentally, emotionally, morally).

  170. All the words*

    The company is doing nothing that I’ve heard of so far. Some people in the department are having a pot-luck next week. I’m still deciding whether or not to participate.

  171. starsaphire*

    Huge company, so it’s department by department, thank goodness.

    We plan to have a catered lunch (outdoors) which my grandboss will cover. Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain and isn’t freezing. But I am relieved that it is, at least, outdoors.

    Illnesses are spiking here too – Covid, RSV, and flu – and I’m really hoping we get through winter relatively unscathed. Fingers crossed!

  172. ErgoBun*

    My non-profit association hasn’t done full-on holiday parties in over a decade, because frankly, the majority did not want one. We have a half-day off on December 16th as our holiday appreciation gift.

    Each internal team has a set budget to do a team-building, luncheon, or other celebration as they like. Mine did lunch and a one-hour event at a local entertainment venue that mimicks classic game shows.

    Then, the entire organization is closed between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, which has been the case for over 35 years, which is a nice perk.

  173. Weaponized Pumpkin*

    Nothing! Last year they scheduled a party to which many folks would have had to travel, and the covid surge + employee reluctance cancelled it. This year I haven’t heard a peep from my company or my team.

  174. WillowSunstar*

    We all received our free turkeys again this year. Yes I know, not a great policy — the only alternative is to not pick it up, and then it goes to charity.

    In the past, some managers have given out holiday cards and gift cards. I have a new manager this year, so not sure if that will happen.

    Before COVID, we used to have a free holiday lunch. That hasn’t happened since COVID started.

  175. Misplaced Modifier*

    My group is having a lunch – which I know is supposed to be a reward, but I see it as a burden. I’ve already told my manager that I will attend, but will wear a mask and not eat. She was surprised, but so it goes. I’m willing to trade 2 hours of uncomfortableness for many more hours of pain if I catch something.

  176. Roland*

    We seem to be doing…. nothing. Or at least, nothing they feel warrants letting people know by December 8th I guess. Pretty surprising to me tbh. Yeah we have a global workforce but I’m really surprised that orgs or teams based in “places with a holiday season going on” – so, the overwhelming majority – aren’t instructed (/given a budget) to do something for morale. I wasn’t here last December so can’t compare. They’re not stingy when it comes to pay so idk what their philosophy is. Maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised though, for a tech company I have a very low amount of pointless swag from this job.

  177. Factory worker*

    Absolutely nothing. Not even a lunch and no shut down in between Christmas and New Year’s. Not a decoration in sight.

  178. Josephine Beth*

    Our organization did a holiday party in the afternoon to allow (almost) all staff to attend. It was actually quite nice, good food, no alcohol (but a fun cocoa station!), and lots of raffles and goodies.
    I just started in a new department where we are primarily remote. The admin sent out an email this week that we all get $50 gift cards to order out food and will meet virtually during work hours. I love it!

  179. Lizabeth*

    In person party at HQ – no masking. Went to the Summer party and made the mistake of saying I’d be at the December one. Several people got COVID at the summer party and I expect this to be the same deal. That said after this one I’m done with company parties.all.together.forever! Planning to retire at the end of next year.

  180. Clefairy*

    Our department did a virtual Murder Mystery Party (which I had to miss last minute due to an unexpected power outage at my home…and it’s a shame, because in the 30 person department, I am probably one of 5 people that would be genuinely excited about this. My direct team’s slack was 2 solid hours of panic and mortification, it was extremely entertaining to read once I back among the powered haha)

    My direct team are going out to a nice dinner this Friday- not official rules about masks or distancing, but we’re all really good about meeting the most cautious’ level, so if anyone is wearing a mask, I’m guessing everyone else will too. We’re also doing a favorite things gift exchange- we each bring two wrapped gifts, no more than $15, of things that we personally love. Everyone gets to pick two at random. It’s a fun way to get to know eachother :) This year I’m bringing two of my favorite non-embarassing novels accompanied with some of my fave candy.

  181. GoLightly*

    Our company does a raffle every year. There are something like 20 different prizes and everyone gets 25 tickets they can put towards as many prizes as they’d like, with an upper limit of 5. No party due to COVID, but my department is grabbing drinks after work one night next week. I love my team so I’m excited, but it is optional so no one has to go.

  182. Former Retail Lifer*

    We’re closing early for “happy hour” at one of our local sites. Light food offerings and some alcohol. It’s just for two hours and it scheduled to end at business closing time. My company has 100% discarded all covid protocols. I’ve had all my vaccinations so I’ll go for the closing early/free food and drinks and hope for the best.

  183. Essentially Cheesy*

    We are doing an in-person potluck and white elephant gift exchange. We are individually responsible for masking/vaccines/etc. I’m okay with that. We’ve been doing everything in person all along so we have adjusted by now.

  184. Anonyparent*

    We’re fully remote but mostly local to my area, so there’s a provided lunch for locals. However, it’s at a busy restaurant in a busy shopping mall and there was no discussion of precautions. With a small kid at home, the tripledemic raging, and pediatric medical care stretched beyond limits locally, I just politely declined to attend.

  185. Cats Cats Cats*

    My “Llama Department” had a potluck during the work day and a “winter gala” at a restaurant on a different day. They also bought Llama Department branded raincoats or fleece jackets.

  186. Elle*

    We’ve moved out in person party to an outdoor summer bbq. This month we have having a zoom party with games and gift card prizes and they gave us Christmas week off.

  187. Katrine+Fonsmark*

    We are having a holiday “Spirit Week” with PJ/comfy clothes day, hot chocolate day (with a hot chocolate bar for those in the office), and a zoom happy hour as well as some other stuff during the week. No real party. We did get an extra holiday on 12/30 which is way better than a party in my book!

    My boss did send each person on our team a HUGE box of Cheryl’s cookies – and I mean huge. There were probably at least 150 cookies in that box!

  188. Dogs Are My Coworkers*

    No idea. I work remotely for a company that hasn’t fully embraced remote employees so as far as I know they’re not doing anything for us. I think there are events for those who work in the office, but I haven’t seen any invites.

  189. Selina Luna*

    My school is having a potluck that will be quiet because we’re shunting the students into the auditorium to watch movies and play games while the teachers grade finals and finalize things they’ve gotten behind on. I’m bringing a lasagna. It will be DELIGHTFUL.

  190. Emma*

    $200 Christmas bonus and that’s pretty much it. Pre-pandemic we got a $150 bonus + nice catered lunch in the office with door prizes.

    1. Emma*

      I should mention that we are completely remote except for a handful of facilities/IT people who go to the office for infrastructure needs.

  191. Shanderson*

    I’m in a not-capital mid size city in Canada, and very little rises in the area (thank goodness) so while people are careful we are back in office…

    And playing Jackbox and arcade games on our giant projector and enjoying a catered lunch because a) 90% of us are between 21-32 and the two who aren’t are very good sports who like snack and heckle and join the audience from their phones. It’s during the workday and everyone can leave at 2 if they want because the best thing we can give them is time and money.:)

  192. Luna (the other one)*

    I work at a school where 95%+ staff and students are vaccinated, so we haven’t had any COVID restrictions this year other than stay home when you’re sick. They sent out a poll asking if we’d rather have a party like we used to, or a “token of appreciation” and I voted for the party, but the token of appreciation won. I’m just hoping it’s something really nice that everyone will like, because I know they spent a LOT on that party, and other “tokens” we’ve gotten have included wine, (I don’t drink) cheap t-shirts that don’t really fit anyone well, a charcuterie basket (with some items that were supposed to have been refrigerated but didn’t feel like they had been) and gift cards to places I don’t shop at. I’m hoping for either straight-up cash, or a Visa gift card. *fingers crossed*

  193. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

    Nothing! I could not be more pleased. This is a first. (During lockdown there was some forced and pitiful Zoomness.)

    We don’t have the $$ and I think they are spot on to ignore the holidays. Most people didn’t get much of a raise, and nobody wants to see the company spending on a party instead.

  194. WFH*

    We are all WFH, so they sent a link to select from either a year subscription to Headspace or a laptop backpack with the company logo. I’m sure folks will mention the holidays in their meetings as it gets closer, but I am not missing the stress of coordinating office parties (whether in person or via Zoom).

  195. Heidz*

    We had our company party in early November at a local upscale pizza and brewery place across the street from the store where we work. Well, I guess everyone was eager to get to the party because when my coworker and I came out of the restroom we had been locked in the store! The gate was pulled down over the doors and everything and the doors were locked! We alternated between laughing and panicking. None of the employees or supervisors were answering their phones because they were at the loud party. We finally got the bright idea to call the restaurant and have them get the supervisor on the phone. He felt so bad and raced over and set us free. We never could figure out why the alarm didn’t go off. My coworker and I now have an experience that we’ll never forget!

  196. LilPinkSock*

    Our sector (about 150 people) is going to a catered luncheon offsite near the office. Since we are only recently back-in-office, we didn’t do anything organization-wide last year, and although I was not with the company in 2020 I’m sure they didn’t do anything then either. I have heard different departments are organizing lunches or afternoon parties independently. None of these year-end events is mandatory, and I’m sure some folks will choose to wear masks and semi-distance, since that’s what happens every day at the office and no one bats an eye.

    In 2019, my small company had a catered lunch in the office, with a ping-pong tournament, company-funded gift swap, and three hours’ PTO. For 2020, we sent out custom snack boxes, a grocery store gift card, and cash–and I pulled together a virtual family-friendly event with Jingle Mingle breakout rooms, a standup comic, and a magician. People loved it.

  197. A noun mouse*

    We had a cringey virtual all hands type meeting. It was god awful. The leadership made over/under rated videos on various topics that showed just how out of touch they are.

  198. Pauli*

    Small party for people who work in the office today, virtual cooking class type event next week for everyone including the remote employees (we’re the small US satellite office of a company based in the EU). Then getting the whole US team together for in the office in January. That’s mostly about workshops and things, but still feels like a bit of a celebration

  199. Maperton*

    My small town overall isn’t doing anything, but my department is doing a potluck and white elephant gift exchange along with a mystery game the admin has planned.

  200. Library Anne*

    Library here. Staff meeting 2-4 with a potluck kind of as a late lunch. Totally optional Secret Santa with cap of $20 to be held at the end of the the time set aside, and those who don’t participate can leave at that point with no requirement to be back to work until the official end.

  201. Cat Lover*

    We do a big holiday party every year at a big off site gold resort, none in 2020 but we did it last year and it was fine. I can’t go due to other commitments this year and I’m sad.

  202. AmyTheRev*

    We have a handful of staff (both full and part-time), and in the past few years we tried to do secret santas, yankee swaps, but with not great follow-through. So this year, because this is our busy season (we’re a church), we decided not to add to anyone’s to-do list, and are just having a bottle of prosecco at our next staff meeting, which will also be celebrating my birthday and that of another staff member. We all sighed in relief.

    We also decided NOT to hold in-person worship on Christmas morning (we typically don’t have any xmas morning worship unless it falls on a Sunday, which it does this year) and instead have a brief prayer service on zoom, which was a most excellent xmas gift to our worship staff!

    I very much appreciate the gift of Having Less To Do!

    1. Momma Bear*

      Nice. We are doing a brunch and sing a long only Christmas morning. I bet that is a lot less planning.

  203. justmeagain*

    I am about as introverted as they come, but I always enjoy my work’s holiday party. Out of all the invitees, only about 5 people are not coming, and one is in Spain, and the others are truly out of town that weekend. Uber vouchers provided each way, there will be an oyster roast, and one of the best food trucks in town coming where you can order whatever you want off the menu. You can dress up, down, festive, or wear whatever you want. Indoor/outside. Cornhole and laser skeet shooting outdoors for those who want to play. Live music. Cocktail/mocktail bar. Yes, there is a white elephant gift exchange that is a $20 and completely optional to participate or not. Even for me who likes to stay invisible, I have so much fun with my coworkers and always enjoy. Most people are kind of friends anyway, or at least have a fun working relationship, so it’s not really that awkward having to introduce your partner or a guest to your boss and people you dislike. I feel like they try really hard to make it nice and have different options besides just drinking.

  204. Science KK*

    We’re doing a Lunar New Year party towards the end of January, so everyone will be over whatever they catch over Christmas. White elephant, catered dinner at my boss’s house (near the lab) & our annual dessert competition.

  205. I hate it here*

    Ha I work at a restaurant and we work on all holidays except Christmas Day and nobody is allowed to request any holiday off for any reason. Gotta feed people their nuggets and fries!

    They also take our phones and keep them in a box in the break room and we’re not allowed to touch them. Oh but if our phones get broken or lost or stolen they aren’t responsible at all!!! So I can’t even call my kids on Thanksgiving while they eat with my family without me, or see them in their costumes on Halloween before they leave to trick or treat. Or talk to my mom on Christmas Eve, or wish my husband happy new year :D

    All for $11 an hour! Gotta love America!

  206. Satellite Gal*

    My company alternates years between holding a Holiday party for employees and one adult guest, and hosting a family friendly event during the summer. This year was our family friendly event – which was a big picnic with food, games, prizes, etc. So nothing for the holidays this year, we should have a holiday party next year!

  207. A Teacher*

    Teacher: pot luck and when asked what about our gluten free friends, my boss responded “can’t they just eat salad?” It was pretty sad. Finally the science department volunteered to bring gluten free options

    The annual (and basically hated) roast (that we thought had died two years ago) of coworkers complete with cheesy pictures and stupid sayings.

    Bowling afterwards as a group with drinks (we pay for).

    1. 1-800-BrownCow*

      Gluten free person here. Aw yes, salad. That’s my favorite. It’s always salad for those too lazy to want to accommodate. The best was the last luncheon I attended where the coordinator proudly told me they ordered a large salad to share with everyone, so I could eat too (they also had pizza and sandwiches from a really good, local pizza and sandwich shop). yay for me…. I arrived at the luncheon, got in line with everyone else. Got to the salad and it had croutons. Coordinator forgot to tell them no croutons, even though I specifically reminded her to make sure to say no croutons. So instead, I got to sit there with no food while everyone else ate their pizza, sandwiches and salad with croutons. And if I had a dollar for everyone person who suggested I “pick out the croutons” or “eat the cheese off the pizza” or “eat the sandwich filling”, I could have bought myself a nice steak and lobster dinner at a fine dining restaurant. Good times, good times.

  208. Dona Florinda*

    My company is throwing a POOL PARTY. (It’s summer here)
    I’ve heard they’re going all in (it’s the first party in over two years, so they’re not sparing any expenses), but it’s my first holiday party with this company and I have no idea what to expect. Also, I can’t imagine wearing a swimsuit in front of my coworkers.

    1. LilPinkSock*

      When my company had a pool party, I just wore a cute sundress that I was comfortable getting a little soggy and sat on the edge with my feet in to keep cool. Other people wore swimsuits that were definitely towards the more modest side.

  209. The OG Sleepless*

    We’re doing games/food at Dave and Buster’s. It was planned and announced a bit last minute and unfortunately I have pre-existing plans.

  210. 1-800-BrownCow*

    I’ve been at my company over 9 years. For several years we had a Friday evening Christmas Party for employees and their significant other at our facility. Catered food, dj, and wine and beer. Prior to Covid, we were purchased by a large international company and our party was at a nearby restaurant. The following year, the president of our location, who was working for the international company prior to the purchase and then became the president of our location, refused to allow a Christmas party. His reason was “the employees will expect a yearly party if we keep having them, so we’re not doing it this year”. This was 2019. Obviously 2020, no party. 2021, still no party. President retired earlier this year and the person now in charge of our facility was an employee of our location prior to the purchase. And yay, he agreed to go back to having the annual parties like we had in the past. Most everyone that was here then are happy as they are usually a good time.

    Meanwhile, my spouse’s company was having their party tonight. But an unexpected announcement came out yesterday that the employees found out about on Facebook instead of through their employer. The head of the company ignored phone calls, emails, and texts all day and then sent an email last night, told everyone not to worry and oh, by the way, the party for tonight has been canceled. Yeah, I’m in full support of my spouse looking for employment elsewhere.

  211. Lonely Island sing along*

    Next week we have a full company off- site dinner at a country club. Multiple sites getting together. First one since COVID. they usually do drink tickets and plan for a weekday evening to cut down on over indulging.

    I’m nervous about it, half of my team is out sick today with respiratory illnesses. I can’t imagine it will be anything but a super-spreader. I may make an appearance, but keep my mask on and leave early! We’ll see how I feel about it day of!

    1. Momma Bear*

      My old company went to Dave and Buster’s one year and it was a lot of fun. Gave everyone pre-loaded game cards and did a white elephant exchange and buffet dinner.

  212. mozartkugel*

    University library. Next week we’re having a small staff lunch – the office is ordering pizza and people have the option to bring in a dessert to share if they want to.

    The original plan was to have a larger party (gathering for multiple libraries at the university), but I spoke up at the planning meeting, citing rising COVID/flu/RSV cases, and managed to get the leadership to shift gears to smaller gatherings. This party will just be for the staff at my specific library.

    No masks or other precautions, of course. I am planning on grabbing a few slices of pizza, socialising for a few minutes with my mask on (no one else will be masked), and then eating in my office.

  213. OtterB*

    Lunch out at a nice restaurant. There are about 15-20 of us depending on who is sitting it out and if any of the out-of-towners are coming. We usually have a private room and a customized menu. We skipped 2020 but went back to it last year.

    We’re also doing a cookie exchange at our last staff meeting of the year next Wednesday. That’s new for us. Anyone who wants to participate brings 2-3 dozen cookies, storebought explicitly okay, and will take home a box of assorted cookies. I think I’ll bake a pan of blondies over the weekend.

  214. Advenella*

    Holiday potluck spread over 2 days to cover shift workers. Small financial bonus from the company. Not much else.

  215. jane's nemesis*

    In person (hybrid) staff of my division are getting a holiday happy hour at a local restaurant, optional to attend, free drinks and food. No word on if they’re sending anything to those of us who are fully remote (hired that way) and live far away. (Last year we got treats in the mail.)

    My smaller team is having a virtual celebration that should be fun! We’re well mixed between locals and fully remote, so all our celebrations are virtual.

  216. IndyDem*

    My company, which every year prior to COVID had a large expensive holiday party, is again not doing that this year. What we are doing – A virtual happy hour (totally voluntary) for our division, including out of state workers, a cookie decorating party for the department (people who want to are wearing masks, eating the cookies later), and for each team (about 10 people) dinner out at a restaurant. All of these are not mandatory, and no one is even informally frowned on for not attending. My wife is in the same field, her company had the expensive in person holiday party, and many people have been sick the week after.

  217. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

    Half-day tomorrow, followed by a couple of hours at one of the numerous Christmas buffets put on by damned near every luxury hotel, upscale restaurant, and event venue in town every year. Probably a small gift of some sort alongside the usual charitable donation the company makes every holiday season.

    I suppose it would be nicer to make that donation a holiday bonus instead, but we also close down (with pay) from the 23rd until the first working day after the New Year, so in my opinion it balances out. This year is the short end of the stick – back at the office on January 2 – but three years from now we’ll shut down on the 23rd and won’t have to be back until the 7th.

    That’s gonna be sweet.

  218. Llama Llama*

    My company is having a party at our office building. It sounds like it will be sorta like the one from 2019, which at the time was kinda underwhelming.

    It’s a step up from the cookbook they sent us last year to celebrate ‘all’ cultures (only one type of cookbook was sent out so one culture was celebrated).

  219. Was+That+A+Read?*

    $50 in DoorDash for a virtual luncheon.
    We agreed to do a Holiday in July outdoor party at a really nice country club with people being able to bring their families.

  220. Pudding*

    I work for a large corporation that spans several office buildings. My building is having a catered lunch party next week. My small division is having a party at a director’s home next week. I have the week off and will miss those completely. (My only regret is missing out on a specific dessert the caterer makes that is fantastic and highly anticipated…we cut dessert from the catering budget one year and there was a LOT of grumbling.)

    My team is having a small party at my manager’s home in January, and I will attend that. I hate gatherings but I’m mostly going to meet my manager’s dog.

  221. Hammish*

    So far I haven’t heard anything…and that is TOTALLY fine with me!

    (If the normal at my company were $xxxx bonuses that would be one thing, but it’s usually just a bunch of evening parties I’d rather not attend.)

  222. Sara*

    We’re doing a potluck lunch at the office on the 21st, and then a winter party in January. I’m going to skip the potluck lunch because it’s the day before I leave to visit my family and don’t want to take any extra germs with me if I can avoid it. Not just covid but flu/RSV/whatever else…

    I personally like the winter party in January concept – it spreads it out from the school winter break which is generally a busy time for a lot of people regardless of what holiday they celebrate. Also venues are cheaper, and we’re a sort of weird in-between size of company in that we’re too small for most hotel-type venues but too big for most restaurants. So January gives us more options at a better price-point.

    They’ve also every other year gifted everyone an amazon gift card and an extra day off but haven’t heard about that yet.

    1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      My employer is doing our party in mid-January and I love the idea. The holidays are so busy anyways, moving something outside that period is so nice. And minimizing the germs we pick up just before we visit our elderly relatives, even nicer.

  223. Fleezy*

    We skipped 2020, but had an in-person party last year and last weekend. Our company is healthcare related and has a company-wide vaccine requirement (there was an allowance for weekly testing until the deadline, but that passed several months before the first party). I went to both. The 2021 one was lit! From what I heard, they had to pre-pay for the drink tickets and greatly overestimated the number of attendees, so after the initial 2 per person were handed out and there were still several (rolls) remaining, they were thrown around like confetti. It got messy… This year they learned their lesson and stuck to a strict 2 per person limit, used a smaller venue, and had good food, but it definitely paled in comparison. XD

  224. HybridElf*

    2020 was all virtual and we were hybrid in 2021. Prior to 2020 we had an office ugly sweater potluck & white elephant gift exchange, along with some other dress-up days (wear red, wear green, wear blue/silver/white or silver/gold/metallics), office decor contests, hot drink bars, bake-off type things, etc. In 2020 we were fully virtual so everything was picture-based; we still had our dress-up days and asked people to send in photos on the dress-up days, send in pictures of their favorite mugs to emulate the warm-drink days, send pictures of their decorations, etc. We did a virtual ugly sweater lunch. In 2021 people were allowed back in the office but since there was a huge [illness] surge right around the holidays we didn’t want to plan any large in-person activities, so we mostly stuck to the photo approach again but we also got the OK to make holiday gift packages for everyone that had mugs, hot cocoa, tea, hot cider; cookies, popcorn, and other treats; a fancy sparkling beverage from Trader Joe’s, and an ornament—it was basically supposed to help recreate our traditional holiday fun activities at home. This year we’re still hybrid (some folks fully remote, others coming in if they choose) and so we’re keeping all the photo-based things but we’re also going back to having a potluck party & white elephant exchange. We make collages of the photos and share them internally. Pretty low-key but a nice way to feel connected!

    1. HybridElf*

      We were thinking of doing a party in January last year (so a post-holiday party) but a bunch of people in the office got COVID over the break so we ended up just not doing anything.

  225. Jesicka309*

    We had a big party in our basement car park last week for the entire company. By all reports it was good (my son was sick so I couldn’t attend). It was on a weekday, finished by 6 pm, they brought in food trucks and set up games like guitar hero and a Photo Booth.
    Now both my teammates have Covid and I’m the last one standing. We have our department Christmas lunch today (lunch in an outdoor cafe then on to the pub for a few drinks) and I’m half tempted not to go in case someone else caught Covid off my team mates in our last department meeting two days ago. At least if I caught it now I’d be clear by Christmas and by the time I got sick my team would be better? I’m torn, don’t want to miss every celebration and this one feels much safer.

  226. Curmudgeon in California*

    My current gig is doing a remote lunch with everyone getting DoorDash credit and a DoorDash for Work account. We have people all over the US, so we are mostly remote.

  227. Suz*

    Most of our group is remote so we’re having a zoom party. The highlight is a virtual edible structure contest. Basically it’s a gingerbread house contest but it doesn’t have to be made of gingerbread and doesn’t have to be a house. Anyone who wants to participate sends in photos of their creation and we’ll vote on them during the party.

  228. Buggalugs*

    We’re doing a dinner theater type thing with our people. We only cancelled the one year and we got everyone customize gift baskets. Last year we just went for dinner.

  229. HearTwoFour*

    I’m so relieved holiday parties are back on where we are (Chicago). My husband is a musician. Holiday parties are a big part of his winter income; it was so difficult losing out on that for the past two years. I think we both still have PTSD (not kidding) from March 2020, when his whole year’s income disappeared in one weekend.

  230. Name Under Development*

    We are doing our pre-Covid practice of having a lunch party on Friday before Christmas held at one of the board member’s homes. One change is that the board member is making all the food arrangements- in the past, it was a potluck. I’m not sorry about that change at all. No particular Covid precautions happening beyond please stay home if you are ill.

  231. Gumby*

    Before COVID we used to have an optional after-hours gathering at a restaurant with food and drink provided. But now we don’t share meals indoors (we do still share lunch on someone’s first day but do that outside on the walkway or, if it is raining, on our loading dock – so picturesque!) and still mask in shared spaces in the office so that type of gathering is out. I can’t imagine any of my co-workers being happy to do a Zoom-based social event so… nothing.

    Though if history is any guide there will be a bonus/’thank you for your work this year’ in our last paycheck. Usually ~$500 which is appreciated.

  232. Annie*

    Casual pub meetup after hours. Masks optional but I suspect there will be none to be seen anywhere. I will not be attending.

  233. Lucy P*

    We’re having lunch at a restaurant that has a good selection for veg and non-veg. It’s not a cuisine that I’ve tried before. Hope I like it.

  234. Camellia*

    They gave us Friday the 23rd and Monday the 26th off. And an extra Personal Holiday.

    And a 2 hour (noon – 2:00 PM) employee appreciation event off-site on Friday the 16th, where they hand out the yearly Superstar awards (I get one this year, a trophy and $75 Amazon gift card), followed by a buffet and social time. Oh, and we’re allowed to leave for the day whenever the event is “over”. They do this every year.

    They also gave us Friday the 30th and Monday the 2nd off.

    And I get 27 paid vacation days, 10 paid sick days, 1 personal holiday, and 10 paid holidays every year.

    And everyone’s getting a 4% marketing increase on January 1st.

    And they increased our medical benefits package and decreased the employee contribution toward premiums – the company is absorbing the difference!

    And they do quarterly town hall meetings, numerous ‘coffee chats’ which are more informal, and lots of other opportunities where they tell us how much they appreciate us, and give us the opportunity to talk to them. An open door policy works best when you are on casual speaking terms with your leaders, and they are open to input, and actually try to take it and do something about it. Best place I’ve every worked. Been here 12 years and hoping to be here until I retire in 2 or 3 more years.

    I love my company, they try really hard to let us know how much they appreciate us, and listen to our feedback. BTW, we have about 1400 employees.

  235. Sunny days are better*

    Big, big, party like in Before Times with open bar and food and everything a week before Christmas.
    I’m not going because I don’t want to be sick on Christmas and would like to see my family after three years of no proper Christmas celebrations.

  236. Lorraine*

    Parties in offices for the whole firm. Department canceled a virtual get together. No idea if there is any outdoor option at mine, but if there isn’t, I’ll be masking and not drinking.

  237. New Senior Mgr*

    Our team of about 20 are heading to NY for a swanky cocktail evening, full buffet dinner, open bar, and a complimentary overnight hotel stay at the Kimberly. And no masks… but COVID is over, right? (said with sarcasm although I do appreciate their gratuity).

  238. The Grumpiest Chipmunk*

    We had our pre-inventory staff meeting today and got our bonus checks. Next week we’re having a dinner at an nice restaurant in our town with a gift exchange. Low key but very nice.

  239. The Other Dawn*

    Nothing company-wide. It’s generally by location, and departments or teams will often do something, too. My team is ordering pizza and doing a Secret Santa. The building is having a catered lunch, which we’ll also attend.

  240. Chocolate Teapot*

    It is my 1 week anniversary at my new job and yesterday my team of 8 people went for an afterwork Gluhwein, which was a nice way of getting to know people.

    The company also had an in-house party, with more Gluhwein and snacks from the excellent Italian restaurant next door.

  241. L*

    Couple hybrid holiday events next week – online trivia, gingerbread house building (we mailed you a gingerbread house set if you wanted to build one remotely, and have a bunch in the office), and a drop in virtual/in-office Christmas movie marathon with a catered lunch. We get the week between Christmas and New Years off, and then have our holiday party in January. If you’re a remote employee (explicitly, so not “hybrid but never comes in” like most of our local staff) and can’t make the trip to the main office for the party you get to purchase an experience for yourself and your family and expense a certain amount of it.

    It should be fun! Everything is entirely optional, other than the days off. You’re not allowed to work those unless you’re on call, but you get extra days in lieu if that’s the case for you. I just got done shopping for the raffle prizes for the holiday party!

  242. ^wq!*

    The university is acting as though everything is normal and I’ve already been invited to four parties. Being immunocompromised, I’m using some of the PTO I’ve banked over the last three years to take vacation during those weeks.

  243. nora*

    Our agency is having an optional luncheon and family is invited, so for once I’ll be able to have lunch with my husband during the workweek. Masks are not required but we will both be covered up as per our protocol. My department may also be planning a secret afterparty but sadly I won’t be able to go.

  244. Sad Desk Salad*

    My small department had a dinner last month, which was very nice and low-key. Over the past few years the whole company has done optional things like virtual cocktail and wine tastings, bingo games, trivia, etc. I think the holidays this year sneaked up on them because the only thing we have planned as a company is a virtual all-hands, but as far as I know it’s a brief catch-up with everyone’s 2022 highlights, and a discussion of next year’s bonus/benefits structure and corporate goals.

    Up until last year, we didn’t have the week off between Xmas and NY, but HR would pipe in right before the holiday to tell us to all take it off if we could, without using our PTO. Essential employees who needed to work at that time were asked to keep their hours short and only handle urgent matters. This year, they made it official. This means more to me than any swag or parties could ever mean. We work hard all year, and while our PTO is very generous, it’s hard to take when you know you’re coming back to a mound of work. Knowing you’ve got a week of doing absolutely nothing? Or you can travel or go on adventures without being tethered to your phone? It’s such a huge morale boost. It makes me come back to the office energized, motivated, and clear-headed in January. Like most people, I’d rather have cash or a day off here and there instead of another branded sweatshirt.

    1. Sad Desk Salad*

      My spouse’s Big Tech firm had a massive holiday party last Friday night. It was HUGE–and fancy, and semi-formal. It was really nice, but I was dying to go home and get back into my jammies. December is so absurdly busy with doing things you WANT to do, the forced merriment while trying to be business-polite with Spouse’s coworkers was not how I wanted to spend my Friday night. We only went because she was skipping their smaller party, which was supposed to be actually fun, to attend something else.

      It’s too much. Employers, I beg of you, have these parties in November or, even better, in January, especially if they’re mandatory. You will have much better turnout. Or even better, have them during the workday and let people take the afternoon off to attend them.

  245. Freya*

    We are doing a company party (during work hours) with all staff and I am currently coordinating with two local food trucks to provide catering. The party usually consists of food, games, a prize raffle, and then a company-wide meeting led by our owners to give end-of-year updates.

  246. Ash*

    Work gave us what we all truly wanted for the holidays: an extra day off. The office will be closed the 23rd – the 2nd.

    We also probably will get a company t-shirt but I personally like those because the ones we get are super soft

  247. Citra*

    Location party next week; evening party (after work hours) with food provided, and probably a few will BYOB to share, since that’s what happened last year. Everyone is coming, bringing spouses and/or kids, and very excited. The work is part of the supply chain, so everyone is and has been in-location every day without any WFH or stopping; it was simply not possible if the general public, including WFH people, wanted to continue to be able to buy and eat food.

  248. Erin*

    We are going to have some kind of holiday party after the first of the year. There wasn’t one last year or in 2020, and I only joined the company in October of 21, so no idea about what it will look like.

  249. Mazey's Mom*

    My school did a holiday gathering this afternoon in person (mask optional) and I could have gone, but got busy and didn’t. I work remotely too, but do live close enough where I could have gone in if I wanted to. My team all works remotely, but close enough to come in if we want to do something, but we don’t. We all get along, and we all enjoy each other’s company, but forced togetherness just isn’t our thing, and I hate planning events. Plus, some members of my team have gone through some challenging events in their personal lives recently, so it’s hard enough just to get through the work day as it is. We’re having a team meeting next week, I’ll wish them happy holidays, and will be sending them gift cards to their email like I do every year. That goes over well. The university president just gave us 2 extra holiday days (the week between Christmas and New Year’s is also a paid week off) in light of a recent event that still makes the national news. I was already taking the time off, but it’s nice of them to do this because I very clearly remember being a new employee and only getting 2 weeks off/year PTO.

  250. lilsheba*

    We’re all remote so it looks like no parties at all, which is fine by me. My husband’s work is doing a potluck with no mention of safety precautions so I’m asking they don’t get involved in that. I’m still recovering from RSV and don’t want any more respiratory crap to come my way.

  251. WheresMyPen*

    Pre-covid we had an office drinks evening and then a party in a local pub. I only got to go once but it was a fun night and nice to let my hair down with colleagues I didn’t know well yet (it was my first year in the job). During covid we did two years of Zoom pub quizzes and they gave us vouchers to buy ourselves a drink. This year we still didn’t have a company-wide party, presumably because they don’t want any illnesses running rampant through the whole staff, so we just had team lunches/meals out paid for by the company. It was nice actually because I’m almost fully remote now so I got to have a nice chat with my close colleagues and one person who’s been shielding felt comfortable enough to come as it was only a small group of us

  252. Sort+of+Executive+Officer+of+the+Week*

    My small company has decided to permanently end the tradition of off-site parties. Some of it was COVID related, but I think a lot of it was the cost of the extended lunch (and the bar bill, some of these guys can really knock it back!) at the sorts of restaurants we’d been frequenting.

    Instead, we each get an extra flex day to be used within the holiday weeks and under the agreement that we will have at least one person in each department each day. Plus we’re closing both Mondays this year since Christmas is on Sunday (in the past we’ve closed Christmas Eve and both Days with no extra flex day). So in each department, someone will get the Friday before Christmas, another will get the Tuesday after, and then the same with two more people around New Years weekend. No department has more than 4 people, so it works out okay.

  253. TrixieD*

    My regional office is doing a luncheon in the banquet room at a local restaurant. We get the whole upper floor–couches, fireplace, pool table, shuffleboard, ring toss, plenty of space for people to move, and masks are at their discretion. I’ll have plenty of hand sanitizer out, and we’re doing a Crazy Sock Exchange™ a la White Elephant (I special-ordered socks that has our CEO’s face on them ((nobody knows that)). I’m also trying to convince our CEO to do PowerPoint Roulette during his address to the troops–hoping for a great time!

  254. Buttercup*

    My organization has several offices as well as a large contingent of remote workers, and there are celebrations for each! All will be in January, so that if anyone does come down with something, the risk of passing it on to vulnerable family will be lower. One office has a science museum booked for the evening, with a planetarium and free reign of exhibits; another office has a garden party; remote workers will have a virtual escape room – and that’s just the ones I can remember! Our offices are still masked, and those with Covid are asked to work from home or take sick time instead of coming in to work, and employees are all required to be vaccinated as well. I kind of wish I was based in the office that has a science museum booked, that party sounds awesome!

  255. Dramamethis*

    Last year and this year, full semi formal dinner party with dancing & drinks, just like before the pandemic. This year’s is coming up shortly.

    No problems or people getting sick last year that I’m aware of other than too much holiday cheer.

  256. Pam Beesly*

    We just did ours today and it was delightful. We rented out the local Masons’ lodge across the street, had a true pot luck, ugly sweater contest, and a white elephant gift exchange that produced so much laughter! It was truly excellent!

    For the last two holiday seasons we had done the party virtually. That was a nice gesture (and yes, we even did the gift exchange virtually — complete with a PPT), but this was so much better!

    FWIW I work in healthcare.

  257. JT*

    My workplace went all out this year. Over the last 2 we’ve still had Christmas parties where we can, but have had our conferences canceled. As our company is nation-wide and our Christmas parties are site specific there are a lot of us who haven’t met people in the business given our last company conference was Nov 2019. Due to this our company hosted a ‘Team Event’ which replaced Christmas parties. We basically all got flown to 1 location and had a business update evening where they did the feel good stuff like recognition for time with the business, announced awards for higher performers etc., then we did a group activity, had a picnic, had some free time, and then had a Christmas party that evening. It was a lot of socializing but IMO managed to not feel forced and was really refreshing and fun. Not sure I’d want to do it every time but after the last couple of years it was excellent to have a chance to build relationships with the people I work with every day, and I think there is a lot to be said for humanising the people you’re dealing with over email and zoom.

    It was fabulous and I had a much better time than I’d expected when I originally saw the agenda, and I’ve had a lot of feedback saying the same from others in the company.

    FYI I am in Aus.

  258. Melissa*

    Shockingly, dinner on Saturday night at a very nice restaurant, plus one included! Before Covid, there would be a catered luncheon in the office that included the office manager constantly reminding people “this is not an all you can eat buffet”. I still shake my head at that one, so unwelcoming and tacky.

  259. peopleperson*

    We have a staff of about 30, all remote, but with strong social connections with each other. We have finally figured out, as others have, that virtual events are best to be short, fun, relaxed, and optional. We sent gingerbread house kits to everyone, and those who want to show theirs off can. Holiday sweaters and backgrounds encouraged. And we created a company related holiday “mad lib” and have asked for contributions to that, to be read by a “special person” and I was laughing just reading the story our “glee club” wrote for it. That’s pretty much it. Short, fun, optional, and low effort interactivity.

    1. peopleperson*

      oh, I should add we are lucky to be able to provide pretty meaningful holiday cash bonuses, that we paid out last month – highly popular decision. So our event can truly be fun and not be a lame replacement for actual $$ employee support.

  260. Bob Jones*

    My company is biased. It gave all the employees in India a Diwali gift. Employees in Canada get nothing. We’re all remote. No party, no lunch, no gift, no movie tickets, nada.

  261. Teafertwo*

    I work in a college library. We’re having the party in the library, while it’s open. I’m sure it will be a blast. Not.

  262. Zulema K*

    We’re lucky enough to be in a Southern Hemisphere country, so we had an outdoor lunch and board games afternoon at a nearby retreat centre, with a closing share-out from each team on their highlights for the year. It was lovely!

  263. Alana Skye*

    This evening we are having a work Christmas party, but at a venue much smaller than the one we used in 2019. Last year we thought about having one, but instead the company gave us all £25 vouchers, with a choice of Uber or Uber Eats. We’re also having a Christmas buffet next Friday (note: although the company is big, our branch of our part is tiny – less than 20 people)

  264. DJ Abbott*

    Catered holiday breakfast at the office. No one wears masks in the office, some of us wear them to come and go. Half the office has had covid since I started working there in March.
    This will be the third social event held in the office since I’ve been there. I’m glad it’s in the office and especially during work hours.

  265. Studying Receptionist*

    We have a party planned for next Tuesday, which is nice because anyone who goes leaves with something (usually a gift card) and they give anniversary gifts out then as well. But to be completely honest, I’m excited about the baby goats we get to see today for a fundraiser one of our IT people was helping with. And since so many of our people donated to the fundraiser, we get to play with baby goats!

  266. Madeleine Matilda*

    We had a virtual party because our workplace is still COVID careful and not allowing large in person gatherings and many people are working remotely. The organizers did a great job of coming up with some activities we could do over Zoom and overall it was a fun party. Also it was optional and during the workday which was nice.

  267. Mongrel*

    Since the London office is shut while they transition to the new, substantially smaller, all hot desk managed suite around the corner the company hasn’t done much with regards to parties.
    I’m glad about that, introvert, a couple of assorted dietary issues and schlepping into London at Christmas time are all things that make me not appreciate work parties.

    What they have done though is shut the offices between Christmas & New Year and give everyone the three days as holiday. They’ve also chucked in some Amazon vouchers the past few months and a final one with the December pay packet.
    So, yeah, pretty good in all, especially as they caved to the reality this year and the majority of staff are now permanent WFH

  268. sometimeswhy*

    There’s an in-person party planned for next week with a couple of nods toward safety. They’ve limited capacity but there’s no indoor mask requirement. The event has indoor and outdoor components but it’s forecast to rain.

    There’s not an official betting pool on how many people will be out after but there’s not NOT a betting pool either.

  269. Mid*

    We’re having an in person party, but everyone is required to be fully vaccinated (unless they need an exemption), and take a COVID test no more than 24 hours before the party, and send the results to the person in charge of the party. The company is also sending us COVID tests to take before the party! The venue is also large and spacious, and is meant to hold 3x the number of people that will be in attendance, so people won’t be super crowded together.

    Also, there is zero pressure to attend the party if people don’t want to attend for any reason.

    I am opting to go, because I’m new to my role and want to have face time with people and I feel the safety precautions are reasonable. I also live alone and am not high risk. It is a dinner party, so masking isn’t really an option, but I appreciate the transparency and the steps they’ve taken to find a reasonable balance for safety.

  270. Chirpy*

    I had to use a vacation day to get Saturday, Christmas Eve off. Work is closed on Christmas Day, but my family primarily has the big celebration Christmas Eve and in another city, so just having a single day off would mean I get to do nothing.

    At least management let me take the day, it means my department will have no one (the department head, who works opposite weekends and therefore gets every major holiday off by default, snarked about it, but she thankfully doesn’t get a say in approving my vacation. )

  271. Maggie*

    No clue! I started a new job in June, and no one’s mentioned anything about holiday plans. For an office that’s 75% remote, I’m being fed regularly and I’m privy to all the gossip (always make friends with the receptionist.) From what I have gathered, I’ll be getting a modest bonus, and maybe a few cards and a lot of scheduling flexibility. I’ll take it!

  272. JJ*

    Large hospital system. Departments are handling individually. Our team and the people who are near us are doing a lunch potluck, which I won’t be attending. :)

  273. mags*

    We got $50 gift cards and permission to work from home until the new year. They definitely read the room, we are all very tired.

  274. Palliative Sarah*

    We are doing a “month of happy!” One day of something nice each week in December:
    1st week: Hot cocoa bar + snacks
    2nd week: Virtual trivia game
    3rd week: Cookie exchange + visit from therapy dogs!!
    4th week: Ugly sweater day + gift for all (branded scarf)

    In January we aim to do a casual holiday celebration (go out to a bar or something), but this is a nice way of not making the fun too burdensome and keeping us from all getting sick (we work in healthcare; we do NOT need an outbreak of anything right now).

  275. Kayem*

    Apparently my company is no longer doing anything. We’re now at 90% remote employees and instead of a holiday party, we’re having a “come get your stuff out of the office because this location is closing” party.

  276. Silverose*

    Department lunches or other events – a coworker’s department did a day at Top Golf; my department is doing lunch at a restaurant whose food I can’t eat so I’m skipping it – plus the whole company except emergency on call staff shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Years as a paid holiday for staff. And yes, the on call staff get paid for overtime hours worked on top of the holiday pay.

  277. tamarack etc.*

    The largest national conference in the US in my field with large international reach happens in mid-December, which offers ample justification for skipping any get-together related to religious holidays of the season. In fact, I’ll be on a plane in the next 24h as will several dozen of my co-workers.

    In our unit the big festivity is Thanksgiving, or as it’s sometimes known, the fall festival. (We work on indigenous land, with indigenous collaborators and colleagues, so there is obviously a conversation going on here around *that* holiday too. Obviously this is an uneasy one as well.) Tradition is that the unit/management gets the turkey and basic fixings, and the rest is a potluck. A spectacular, extremely varied and tasty and fully non-competitive potluck. This happened in November, in a particularly large and airy room, with some mask wearing and some not. (COVID is low right now where we are, and even though I’m overall on the pro-mask side and have also managed to escape infection, I didn’t wear one.) The other thing we do is a “giving tree” in collaboration with a local non-profit who does activities with children in the foster care system. It’s a “secret santa” type setup – you pick an (anonymous) kid from a spreadsheet, know age, gender identifier, and a non-binding note about good gifts. Mine intimated that the foster family would welcome a toddler-appropriate musical toy so someone will be getting a Christmas gift of a rainbow xylophone. This BTW is voluntary, and even though some teams may be gossippy about it, among us researchers no one judges if someone doesn’t subscribe. It’s rather competitive to sign up before the tickets run out in fact. I don’t remember if they did this in 2020, but it’s the same setup that has been used for years, and definitely last year. (It’s also low contact, obviously, and pandemic-compatible.)

    Once I’m back, we have less than a week of work and then a hard closure from before the middle of Hanukkah to right after New Year’s. During that time we are only allowed to enter the office if we work, and can only work if we’re on a list of essential personnel. I’m not, and enjoy the break. I know, mandatory Christianity, sure. OTOH it’s also semester break, so students *should* take a break. We need to take 3 days out of PTO to cover it (or can elect to take it without pay, which I’m certainly not).

    (As for the conference, it went virtual in 2020, which was a bit of a mess since they actually went for a round-the-clock schedule. “When are [studentA and studentB’s] poster presentations? 3:45 am and 11:25 pm? Really?” Last year it was hybrid, and relatively well done, and about half the normal attendance was in person. This year is hybrid with tweaks, and we’ll see how many come in person…)

  278. Vio*

    We’re going out for a meal… at least that’s the plan. The restaurant we booked suddenly shut down, even the staff were surprised (some only learned of it by turning up to work and finding a notice on the locked doors). My bosses had to quickly find an alternative that wasn’t booked solid and amazingly managed to get us a table at a place with very good reviews.

    It should be noted that I’m in the UK and although COVID is still a very serious issue things are a lot more relaxed now. I have mixed feelings about our lack of restrictions, the virus is still out there and dangerous but after years of distancing it feels good for my mental health to be going out with friends and socialising more. I have a long history of depression and social anxiety so lockdown brought back a lot of bad memories of when my mental health had left me isolated. But now I sometimes feel guilty for spending a lot of time in groups when I don’t strictly speaking need to.

  279. Deirdre Barlow*

    We had a team meal in the world’s most packed restaurant – the place was doing £35 per head Xmas ‘party’ dinner (your choice of very small starters, ditto mains, and either dry AF chocolate fudge cake or shop-bought meringue for pudding- did I mention it was THIRTY FIVE QUID???? The quality of the food itself suggested it was worth at least £2 of that…) and had managed to get 200 people in a dining room that could comfortably accommodate 50.

    I’m sufficiently middle-aged these days that no one batted an eyelid when I gave my goodbyes at 9pm, and I was tucked up with a cup of tea and a good book by 10.30. The youngsters in my department were apparently out until 5am, and good luck to them. No masks, no social distancing, and we’ve all had various colds, flu and general grottiness ever since.

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