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

What’s your company doing for the holidays this year?  Party on a boat that you can’t escape from and which will produce a confrontational email the following Monday? Potluck with questionable contributions? Swanky hotel party complete with lines of coke? Covid super-spreader event?

Please share in the comment section!

{ 429 comments… read them below }

  1. Elle*

    We got a a hour long zoom party where they gave out dozens of prizes and we get a week off next week. It’s perfect.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Oooh, that’s fun! We had a Zoom party too, with trivia and a couple of other silly games and most of us are taking next week off. I’m not b/c I have a few things I need to do but it’ll be a very easy week with a lot of downtime and I’m very much looking forward to it.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I feel the need to point out that two of our employees (small company) were mysteriously laid off or fired or quit in Dec (no one is really sure which) so a lot of us are not really in the holiday spirit, though.

        1. Observer*

          Yeah, that does put a damper on things. In my experience, if this is not a nutty company that pretends that people never leave, the fact that no one has any real idea of what happened that indicates that something went wrong.

        2. DJ Hymnotic*

          My employer–a much larger organization that really should know better than to do this just days before Christmas–has used this week to tell the employees in one of our larger departments to expect pay cuts of 15-20% for 2024. These employees for the most part have skillsets that are very in-demand right now and so on top of really dampening the holiday spirit it’s definitely making all of us dread next year as a bunch of them likely (and very understandably) leave for greener pastures.

          I get that there’s no “good” timing for layoffs/firings/cuts, but there is definitely worse-than-usual timing.

      1. XxcfrmxX*

        Ha, our Zoom party was supposed to be 90 minutes but ended up being 45, and 25 minutes was spent with HR trying to figure out breakout rooms. The hired DJ was inaudible, and we were told “you were supposed to get Grubhub gift cards but there’s a delay so you’ll get them at…some point.” Great morale booster.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      We had a dinner at a five star restaurant and thousand dollar bonus checks (separate from fourth quarter bonus checks).

    3. Constance Lloyd*

      We had an hour long zoom party during which they gave out exactly 2 dozen prizes drawn at random (for just over 200 employees). Managers ordered lunch for their teams, but ours works from a different location so we were forgotten.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Similar – we did a 75 minute Teams meriting with a winter themed scavenger hunt and then Pictionary. Participation completely voluntary.

      (For those that are interested how – we all have MS Paint on our computers, so you pulled up paint and then shared the screen. The thing you had to draw got private messaged to you by the coordinator.)

    5. Nicki Name*

      We had the hour long Zoom party with prizes, but not the week off. Jealous! But happy holidays anyway! :)

    6. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      Dinner party at a local steakhouse. Lots of food, raffle with enough gifts for everyone. Good times.

  2. I should really pick a name*

    Something in January (we don’t bother in December because it’s busy).
    Typically it’s a dinner, though they have specified details yet. It’s always been a nice, low-key event.

    1. Distracted Procrastinator*

      We’re having a January party as well. It’s nice to not have one more thing happening this month.

    2. allathian*

      Oh my, I’d love that. Granted, I do celebrate Christmas, albeit with all the explicitly Christian elements removed, but there’s so much going on in December that I’d vastly prefer to do something fun in January instead. I’ve suggested it, but so far no go. Most people want to have the party in December because we’ve always had a party in December.

  3. Dust Bunny*

    Nothing, technically. We just had employee awards day (nice boxed lunches, chips and dip, bingo) a little while ago, and we get three extra days off between Christmas and New Years that don’t come off our PTO, plus actual holiday time for Christmas and New Years and their eves. And we got a little bonus. We’re a smallish nonprofit so that’s about what we can do, but nobody seems to mind.

    1. YMMV*

      I think it depends. If you’re my mother, that’s a terrible gift. If you’re my best friend, you’re trying it out in front of everyone.

    2. Pink Christmas*

      That sounds amazing to me! I wish we got more than just Christmas Day paid, so I did not have to save my PTO all year.

  4. Pam Adams*

    Our only problem was the people trying to be funny with the Secret Santa. Come on, people- an eyelash curler is NOT an appropriate Secret Santa gift.

      1. FricketyFrack*

        Seriously. I think the one I have now was like $25. I’d love if someone else felt like buying it. Or just get me the little pad refills.

        1. Blue*

          Right, I guess it’s a good gift if you know the person receiving it will like it. Not a good white elephant gift (where you don’t know who the recipient will be).

          1. Ink*

            …or the BEST white elephant, depending on the group. Might have to track one down for our family white elephant, the group’s about 70% male and I bet it’d supply all the jokes required to get us through the rest of the party

    1. carcinization*

      This is why I’m glad my department did an ornament exchange, suggested value of $5. It was voluntary, so folks didn’t have to participate if they weren’t into ornaments. I got a kind of wacky Bob Ross ornament I wouldn’t have picked out for myself, but I still think it’s cute.

    1. Siege*

      We also had a party with lunch and a surprisingly good white elephant and took a surprise walk to an art installation at a nearby water reclamation project. Most of the staff took the 18th – 3rd off, including me.

  5. Juicebox Hero*

    Our office manager is doggedly trying to organize an office dinner at a restaurant again this year, about 10 people total. As usual, it’s a mess of schedule conflicts and where to go. As usual, she gave up and said screw it, we’ll all go out sometime in January when all the stress is over. As usual, we’ll end up doing nothing.

    And I’m OK with it.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I love your user name. And I feel your apathy. For crying out loud, order in food one day or shut the heck up.

      1. Technically a Writer, Really a Unicorn*

        We are a small, fully remote team, so we’re getting some piece of branded merch (last year it was a hat and a sweatshirt, both actually nice quality). Management is also being really flexible with EOY hours since our clients aren’t working much. I’ll take flexibility over holiday parties, any day!

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      That sounds lovely, so long as the office manager does not make it stressful for everybody before accepting the inevitable.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        She is the Stressmaker Supreme. There is no problem so small that she can’t turn it into a giant palpitation-inducing fuss. After 15 years I just sort of treat it like free theater.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Maybe she will win the multimillion dollar lottery.
          Because then she can retire can come to work and freak out about figuring out how to pay her taxes because she just doesn’t have the time, she is so busy at work. She can’t quit. Do you KNOW what medical insurance costs? And all the forms are due at the end of the year and NOBODY will commit to an evening for the Holiday party and fine, we will just do it in January.

          1. Reluctant Mezzo*

            Doesn’t she come on SNL Weekend Update every once in a while as the Woman Who Is So Incredibly Busy?

  6. Tangerine Thief*

    Decorating desks and we all had a Christmas party within each team outside of work (optional, unpaid, but the company provided a contribution towards it), as well as a team meeting (within working hours, paid) where the team bought buffet food and drinks and played holiday quizzes etc.

    I feel this is both less interesting than others that Alison has featured and also a lot less likely to result in being arrested or charged for property damage.

  7. BoratVoiceMyWife*

    No holiday party, no form of employee appreciation (beyond a presumed email tomorrow), preaching austerity for FY24, probably no bonuses or merit increases, giving us Tuesday off.

    In other news, is anyone hiring?

    1. Nonni*

      Same. Layoffs earlier in the year. Annual employee appreciation week was cut this year. Hiring freeze. Promotion freeze. Cuts to employee perks. Increased health insurance costs. Return to office. No holiday corporate gifts (usually branded clothing of some kind, so no big loss there). Hints that raises and bonuses next year will be minimal. CEO still makes over $25 million a year though and there were two or three acquisitions this year.

    2. The Grinch*

      Hey, same! Except I live in Canada, where Tuesday is a holiday, otherwise I’d definitely be working.

      The play-by-play:
      -First we were told there wasn’t going to be a party because there was no money.
      -Then the office manager at head office ignored that directive and organized a party for the head office people.
      -The leaders found out that other employees found out about the party, and agreed that other people could have a party.
      -The leader in my area (we all work remotely) organized the party.
      -The leader then found out the budget for the party was $20 per person and no alcohol, and sent an email to the whole team saying the party was cancelled (and explaining why).
      -Head office posted a picture of their party on the corporate intranet which definitely cost more than $20 per person and included going to a bar that appeared to serve alcohol.

      Luckily I got contacted by a recruiter who scheduled an interview at the time the party was supposed to take place. Fingers crossed I get offered that job in the new year!

      1. Cathie from Canada*

        What is really stupid is this: they KNOW Christmas is coming! They KNOW exactly when it is! Its the same freakin’ day every single freakin’ year! Yet it seems to strike some organizations like a lightening bolt that hey, maybe we should plan something?
        I fondly recall the large government office where the HR director would go around every Christmas Eve at about 1 pm and make a big deal about telling us all that maybe the Deputy Minister just might approve us all leaving at 3 and he was going to talk to the Deputy any minute now, soon, very soon, just wait…. of course, we were all on tenterhooks waiting for the HR director’s big announcement so nobody did any work all afternoon. After year three of this foolishness I realized it was just the HR director seizing on his one opportunity to feel important.

    3. Grinch*

      Same here! I’ve been told that the company threw great holiday parties in the 2000s. At some point that turned into covering a holiday meal with your team, which after covid turned into $20 coffee gift cards.

      This year apparently the budget is so tight we’re not doing anything at all. It’s a huge company though, and I’m not sure if it’s the same with other departments or just ours, which has always been stingier than the rest.

    4. Hermione Danger*

      Do we work for the same company? Oh. No. I see we don’t, because we all have to work on Tuesday. Just because.

      1. Secret Santa*

        We traditionally only get XMas day off. (Last year, New Year’s Day was on a Sunday, no day off for you, Tom.) This year we get both Mondays off.
        We got a message from where ever these messages come from stating the building will not have water on Tuesday.
        So we can all work from home.

  8. Dell*

    Absolutely nothing at our office, which really sucks to be honest. It has killed morale for a lot of people because the company has had record profits since COVID but is pinching pennies on morale-boosters like this.

  9. NCA*

    This is my first winter with my company, and as someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, it’s been kind of nice to be at a place that isn’t ‘rah rah holidays!’ for any holiday. On the flip side though, there’s not much of a celebration overall at the higher level. We’re also strictly hotdesking, so no one can decorate a personal cube space for their own enjoyment. My immediate team went bowling and had an appetizer tray. Overall it’s been very…..subdued and robotic.

  10. little e*

    After laying off about 50% of the company, the local layoffees are bringing their laptops back to the office… at the holiday lunch in a conference room. My team (all of whom except for me were laid off) is only planning on attending so we can drift off separately for a farewell drink at a nearby bar.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      OMG! I really fanfictioned this in my head like, oh, the company is having people come to help them look for jobs. Bring your laptops and we will give you space and assistance.
      Not “return your company property while we are all in one place.” That’s such a horrific idea.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      OMG. the optics, the optics. Good grief. Like literally no one in authority went — you know having the fired people show up to turn in their company property while the rest of us are celebrating MIGHT be a bad idea.

      1. little e*

        To be fair, they are also invited to celebrate. It’s not like, walk of shame past a room of fun. But I don’t know how much celebratory spirit I would be able to muster in their place.

          1. Secret Santa*

            Everyone, remember to bring your invitation.
            Those with ID badges, over here.
            Those with laptops, over there.
            Not awkward at all.

  11. In the Middle*

    Teacher here. Our principals bought us pizza and/or salad for lunch today (our last day before break). I’m happy with that!

    1. Ace in the Hole*

      Not a teacher, but a different flavor of government employee. Obviously the org can’t spend money on parties or gifts and we’re an essential service that can’t shut down, so we’re pretty limited in what we can do for holidays. But I think our annual potluck is just fine!

      Management clubs together to provide a main dish, sodas, and a couple basic sides. The rest of us can bring a side dish or dessert if we feel like it, but there’s no pressure. We’re on a staggered lunch schedule so it never gets too crowded. And as long as it’s not too busy on the floor no one cares if we drop in and socialize for a few minutes outside our normal break times.

    2. Me*

      Yeah, I’m a librarian. Our director bought sandwiches (made by a local deli), sodas, chips, and cookies, and set it out in the community room for lunch on two days. (Two days because so many staff are part time and one day will miss people.) I honestly don’t expect more than that.

  12. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Start off with something tame.
    My group of 8, led by manager had a secret Santa where a dice roll moved the presents around between people then a funny work version of a classic game that everyone knew how to play.
    Like Llama Inc Monopoly, or Guess Who but with work terms.

  13. Panicked*

    We had our end of year party last week. We had it at a large fun center (go karts, arcade, bowling, etc…). Catered lunch, minute-to-win-it games, and a ton of great prizes. Everyone had fun, or so they said!

  14. ShysterB*

    Office holiday parties — for mine, at a local museum, earlier this week, where the gluten-free/vegetarian food station had some sad rice noodles with barely any flavor and cubed tofu with zero seasoning and where I armed myself with tonic and lime so as to avoid the “You should get a drink!” pressure. I’m in my fifties, I’m too tired to fight peer pressure that should have ended decades ago.

    Whether it will be a COVID superspreading event is still unclear, as we are only 36 hours out from it at this point.

  15. Dr. Rebecca*

    Not all that much; there was a tea with the dean a week or so ago. I went. There was, in fact, tea, and the dean was present. I like her. We chatted for a minute, I had hot cocoa with marshmallows and a sugar cookie that may have been frosted with toothpaste, and got my ear talked off by someone in a different department before making a swift exit having done my semester-ly duty.

    1. Violin squeaks*

      About five years ago I had to go to a holiday party at the university president’s residence for a committee I served. I think there are only two experiences at something like this: the person who does the talking and the rest of us.

      1. Dr. Rebecca*

        I’ve so far avoided the President’s party, by dint of being mostly not significant/able to plead a time-conflict, but I’m sure it’ll catch me eventually. And you’re entirely right.

      2. Artemesia*

        When I was a professor our Dean had an annual Holiday Party at her home which was magnificently catered and partners and emeriti are invited. It was a highlight of the year. The food and drink was fabulous; the decorations were lovely; it was fun to see retired colleagues; there was no ‘requirement’ to attend. It was also nice to be able to chat with people across departments whom one rarely saw in the course of the work week.

    2. A Girl Named Fred*

      Thank you for making me nearly spit water all over my keyboard at “may have been frosted with toothpaste”, lol!

      1. Dr. Rebecca*

        I expected vanilla, and got mint, with that same sticky texture as Crest. It wasn’t unpleasant, necessarily, but I certainly did a double take…

    3. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

      I’m at a post-secondary institution; this is my first holiday season in this job. There have been a couple of events. A few weeks ago, the dean’s event for the whole faculty was mostly drinks and nibblies on a random afternoon. Everyone got one drink ticket, and they catered pretty good appies. The dean’s remarks were very short, so it was mostly socializing with people I like.

      Last week, my more immediate department had a lunch for our team. Full turkey dinner — stuffing, mashed potatoes, the works.

  16. ThatGirl*

    Last year we had a really lovely party during the workday – there were cute balloon decorations everywhere, door prizes, catered breakfast & lunch, mimosas and Bailey’s for coffee, and we could leave when the party was over.

    The awkward part was that it was a week after a reorg with layoffs, and two of the women who’d helped plan the party were part of the layoffs.

    This year, we just had a catered breakfast yesterday, that was it. My team will be going out for dinner in January; due to various managers’ schedules we couldn’t make it work for December. Apparently the main HQ (in a city about 90 minutes away) had a swanky lunch with booze.

  17. ANON Good CO Holiday*

    I posted this on Friday’s OT.
    We are a 100% remote company. For our “holiday” celebration, we offered people the optional opportunity to participate in an online cooking class with all the food (kosher option, vegetarian, steak, chicken, or fish) sent to us. Regardless if you signed up or not for the class, everyone received a very large cooler of food. Based on your preferences it aligned with the above list. I just filled my freezer with enough food to last single me lunch and dinners for a month! For those with a family of 4 it is enough full dinners for a couple of weeks.

    This was in addition to our bonuses and a gift certificate to an online catalogue to order a gift or gift card of your choice.

    I really appreciate this company, especially after re-reading all the bad boss stories last week

    Update: I participated in the online cooking class, it was so fun! We all were cooking away in our kitchens, and then we all had fun trying to one up each other with our impressive plating. Most of us stayed on and ate “together” There was no pressure for people to participate or to stay on.

      1. ANON Good CO Holiday*

        It really was! The chef was fantastic and was so skilled at being able to juggle steak, fish, chicken, vegetarian cooking techniques and timing, so we all finished cooking at the same time. It was impressive!

      2. Artemesia*

        And a great way for remote workers to be with others and get to know them again while cooking, showing off their plating etc.

    1. nothanks*

      ANON Good Co Holiday, what is the name of the company you used? Please drop details, this sounds amazing and I will absolutely be forwarding this to my managers for use as an idea for next year!

      1. ANON Good Co Holiday*

        It was from a company called homeec dot co
        All the food was from Omaha Steaks. I have already started using some of the additional food we received, and it has all been so delicious!

        If you search for online cooking classes with all the food delivered, there are a bunch.

      2. ANON Good Co Holiday*

        My original reply went to pending. If you search homeec you will find the company we used. All the food was from Omaha Steaks. If you search for virtual cooking classes you will find a ton of companies that do this.

    2. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

      What fun! And it contributes to money savings at this expensive time of year.

      1. ANON Good Co Holiday*

        I have already started cooking some of the additional food we received, all of it is from Omaha Steaks and everything has been delicious.

    3. A Girl Named Fred*

      Is your company hiring? And/or, what skills should I learn so I can join this company someday? Lol, but seriously that sounds wonderful, kudos to your company!

  18. Can't Sit Still*

    We had a year end all hands meeting that was scheduled last minute, resulting in a lot of strategically staggered department lunches/parties being rescheduled to be at the same time instead. The entirely predictable result was way too many people in the office the last full workday of the year, which turned into a super-spreader event.

    1. Your Mate in Oz*

      We had our official disease-sharing office event yesterday, but sadly I came down with a case of sanity and couldn’t attend. Neither could one of the directors because he’s seamlessly transitioned from covid to pneumonia and has been told to stay home if he doesn’t want to spent xmas in hospital (he’s in his seventies).

      OTOH the restaurant lunch was apparently nice and most of the staff were free from major symptoms as far as the coworker I talked to can recall.

  19. Sleepy in the stacks*

    We decided to not do anything for the holidays about 5 years ago and instead started having a winter potluck towards the end of January/early February. It’s nice to not have to worry about yet another thing to plan around the holidays and provides a good break in the middle of dreary winter. We also do a white elephant gift exchange for anyone who wants to participate. Love how lowkey it all is.

  20. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

    Today at noon, we’re having our annual party. Today at 10:45 AM, we had to fire someone.

    So, today’s going well.

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        The timing was immediate and unavoidable. And yes, everyone knew it happened as soon as it did.

    1. Observer*


      Was that timing avoidable? I mean, it’s bad either way, but in some ways if it was just one of those things that happen unexpectedly it’s less bad than if someone planned the firing without thinking about scheduling.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      My small company did an outing to an elaborate dinner theater. The company paid for the employee but family was invited if we paid for them. My family has been to this place several times in the past and they all (husband and college age kids) thought this sounded great, so I paid for +3 guests and was really looking forward to them meeting my coworkers because I have a particularly fun group right now. And then we got Covid and couldn’t go, and I haven’t heard back from the venue about whether our tickets get refunded. It sounds like the rest of them had a great time though.

  21. Alexiiiiiiiiii5*

    I am a remote call center worker. We got a $100 Christmas bonus. thankfully no forced holiday party.

  22. Furgig*

    Unfortunately missed our holiday party this year, but I heard the scotch bar and cigar bar were pretty popular. Other than that, it’s just a nice catered dinner, open bar, probably some casino games, and it looks like there was a tarot card reader this year.

  23. ConstantlyComic*

    We’re doing a New Years potluck, but hadn’t planned to do anything for Christmas… until one of my coworkers decided on Tuesday to go to Sam’s Club, get some 2-liters and fruit, veggie, and cookie trays, and leave them in the break room for anyone to grab some when they’ve got a chance. This is the same coworker who keeps our snack drawer fully stocked, so we all appreciate her a whole lot (and the company got her a gift card to celebrate her having worked here for 30 years).

    Meanwhile, I tagged along to my husband’s bowling party with his coworkers and have been (politely) asked to make Christmas Crack for their Christmas Eve potluck, which I’m more than fine doing because I get to keep a chunk of it back for myself.

    1. ConstantlyComic*

      Forgot to mention that we’re also having a week-long holiday sweater contest! We vote on a winner each day, so part of the strategy is aiming for a day where the competition won’t be as stiff. I’m wearing a pretty basic ugly Christmas sweater today, but my one for tomorrow lights up :)

    2. carcinization*

      My husband is on a very small team at his work (less than 10 people) so they basically just ordered in lunch today of ham and sides, then had folks bring in a dessert. No pressure to bring homemade, but since I’m off this week I made Homesick Texan’s Pecan Date Fruitcake (hahaha I almost typed “data” due to my own profession), which is pretty far from most people’s idea of a fruitcake, for him to take. He’s gotten a few small gifts from co-workers (a book light and a bookmark from one, some popcorn and candy to have a movie night at home from another), but it’s been quite low-key.

      My work had a couple of potlucks last week (one breakfast and one lunch one) that I reasonably enjoyed participating in, but other than that it was a really annoying week so I’m trying to block it out.

    3. Your Mate in Oz*

      make Christmas Crack for their Christmas Eve potluck

      For people like me who don’t know a search says this isn’t just a festive version of crack, it’s biscuits covered in chocolate.

      1. ConstantlyComic*

        Oh yeah, sorry! Christmas crack is saltine crackers covered with a sort of cheaters’ toffee/caramel-ish thing and chocolate. Very tasty and very easy to make.

  24. Youngin*

    Nothing. They usually throw a big party but the owners son made some terrible decisions this year that broke up his family so they cancelled all the festivities. Womp womp

  25. Marian Librarian*

    We had a White Elephant/Yankee Swap ornament exchange with a few refreshments. It was the first time we had done something like this and it was really fun and low key. We are a small department/office, and everyone has a Christmas tree. We would have done something else if that were not the case.

  26. not giving out my name*

    I felt ill the day of my office’s holiday party and so apparently missed out on someone getting so wasted, he vomited on a waitress and then outside on the side of the restaurant.

    Funny, I don’t feel like I missed anything, regardless if the higher ups think that not attending the holiday party means you’re not a team player.

  27. Sally Sparrow*

    We had a party where we had to spend our own money on centerpieces that we will not be reimbursed for. We were given very bland food that management provided with our terrible in-house catering service. There were door prizes but I didn’t stick around (and the person I gave my ticket to said I didn’t win so I didn’t miss out).

    A coworker and I were reminiscing about how nice it was during Covid lockdowns. We had two years where each employee got to select a food item (cake, pie, fruit basket) that was provided by a professional food company. Employees drove by the parking lot, were given our items, and we drove away. It was the best for the holidays, getting a delicious dessert (I got the chocolate cake both years) and getting to take it home without sitting through a boring party. I miss it!

  28. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    There was an optional virtual party for my division yesterday (I didn’t go but my team lead’s puppy got second place in the festive pets photo competition), and everyone in the org gets a surprise $500 (pre-tax) in tomorrow’s paychecks.

  29. Just Want A Nap*

    – a lit holiday party where it turns out the professional photographer has absconded with the photos. No one was sent an email about us being bad, but everyone’s upset because we all showed up looking NICE and wanted great photos as the drink pours were heavy and our hands were unsteady to get good selfies.
    – end of year bonuses (expected and appreciated)
    – a free extra paid day off
    – a mountain of individually wrapped fudge EVERYWHERE
    – starting tomorrow no one is coming in until 2024, even the workaholics are logging out.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I want to know what happened to the photographer? Where are the photos? I’d be bummed if I was planning to buy a pic. When my company does that, the individual can order pictures later. Why walk away from money?

      1. JustaTech*

        Photographers who bail are *the worst* because then no one else takes pictures!

        There are no pictures of my parent’s wedding because their photographer either ran away or ruined the negatives (I don’t remember which).

      2. Just Want A Nap*

        I don’t know what happened. He’s answered 0 query emails but he was supposed to deliver them yesterday.

  30. NMitford*

    We had a nice low key, after-work dinner at our local Maggiano’s Little Italy two weeks ago. There were some awards handed out, and if you got an award you got an extra ticket in the raffle for tech-related gifts. I won a JBL Bluetooth speaker. All employees got an insulated backpack (great for taking cold drinks to the beach this summer) and a throw/blanket (velour on one side, sherpa on the other). Plus ones (spouses, dates, a sister in one case) got the same blanket.

    One of my coworkers said his child told him to bring him a present from the party and now carries the blanket all over the house.

    No bad behavior to report. I really enjoyed it.

  31. Lily Rowan*

    We had our regular 3-5pm all-staff party/awards ceremony a couple of weeks ago, and they have given us an extra free day off tomorrow, in addition to next week. Nice!

  32. Former Retail Lifer*

    We had a holiday party at a bar. There was free food (nothing vegetarian for me, as usual, though) and we got two free drink tickets (plus tickets the non-drinkers gave away). There was also a white elephant gift exchange. Ugly sweaters were encouraged. I had a good time, and got drunk off those two free drinks since I didn’t get to eat any food!

  33. bripops*

    Currently working for the most functional company I’ve ever worked for in my entire life, I’ve been here since May and they really walk the walk about taking care of their people. We’re a nonprofit that can’t really be handing out massive Christmas bonuses or anything so they gave us the entirety of next week off completely paid! This is the first year they’ve done it and there were literal cheers when they told us at a staff meeting a few months ago and I’m pretty sure one person was looking up flight prices on her phone by lunch lmao.

    Our PTO is already really generous so this is absolutely nuts to me (especially since the PTO situation at my last job was such that if I wanted to be sure I’d get two days off in late July I needed to put in the request by mid-February). I genuinely feel so spoiled, I’m VERY lucky. The clients from my last job who served as references for sure all got Christmas cards this year.

  34. Plant Lady*

    My company had a holiday (Christmas) party, but each department also got money to do something on their own. Instead of anything seasonal, we had our monthly all-staff meeting with free lunch, and then they hired a local plant store to do a terrarium-making workshop. Remote staff received a box with the supplies in the mail so they could participate. It took an extra hour or so out of the day, it didn’t involve forced merriment, it gave us something social to do, and now everyone has some succulents they can either leave at work or take home. 10/10, would recommend.

  35. ENFP in Texas*

    Nothing. Just emails from senior management. We’re a huge company and our team is Work From Home across the US, and it’s also one of the busiest times of the year for our part of the business, so taking time for parties (even Zoom/Teams parties) isn’t a priority.

  36. Essentially Cheesy*

    We have an afternoon bowling party in January. It was fun the last time we did something like this.

    There is also an included white elephant exchange. Is bringing a year old page-a-day calendar appropriate? Considering it’s leap year in 2024. lol :)

  37. ReceiptsPlz*

    For my team specifically, pretty low-key! We usually just do a nice dinner out + secret santa, it’s pretty chill. Company-wide they sent out $150 Amazon gift cards, and did this nice program where employees with children could have their kids send in a wishlist and the company would buy a few items off it.

    It’s been a rough year, and I’m sure plenty of people will see this as them just trying to buy back employee affection (and I don’t totally exempt myself from that crowd), but I can at least appreciate that leadership recognizes morale is low and is doing a kind gesture.

  38. Kelli*

    I was voluntold to help with a December team building event. We’re all virtual so it was done via WebEx. Had an ugly sweater contest with a prize for ugliest and most creative sweater. My team building captain paid for one $25 and “asked” us to contribute $5 for the other gift card. I’m new to the team and felt pressured so I did. The winners of the gift cards were my boss and her boss. I’m very salty about the whole thing.

    1. Observer*

      Oh my!

      I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that staff were expected to contribute to the prizes or that either manager was even allowed to compete.

      1. SansaStark*

        Right?! I’m only a low-level manager and I’d still have removed myself from the competition. If they absolutely can’t, I guess I’d use that gift card to buy everyone donuts or something, but sheesh!

    2. BellyButton*

      What?? Ok, first, no one should have to contribute to a “prize”, they can’t expense a $25 gift card?? And secondly, leadership should never ever win the prize.

      1. Kelli*

        My thoughts exactly. We could vote on the sweaters and out of principal I voted for the people at my level. There were only 5 entries. 2 mangers, the big boss, and 2 people at my level.

  39. RYNE*

    In the past the christmas party was a big shindig at a upscale hotel ballroom with food and drinks and music, dancing, etc. But this year budget cuts meant we had a light buffet lunch in our large conference space (catered by our on-site food service provider) with a local elementary school choir as entertainment. It was fine, I’m not a big partier and its still a free meal so I’ll take it! A lot of people we sad about not having the big party though. Our department had a party at a restaurant but it ended up being sparsely attended. They didn’t schedule it very far in advance so many people had already booked work meetings or had taken the day off.

    1. AnonORama*

      It was nice of them to still do something, but I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of a children’s choir as entertainment. Having sung in choir for most of my school career, I feel strongly that the only humans who should ever have to listen to an elementary school choir are the singers themselves, their parents, maybe a VERY good sport sibling or family friend, and the choir director/accompanist. Particularly if they’re singing Christmas music!

  40. Alex*

    Main job: Just a small event with snacks, wine, and cake, in the conference room one afternoon. Fine with me, I’m not really wanting to go to a big bash outside of work hours.

    Second job: A holiday lunch (that I wasn’t actually able to attend because of my main job). And a nice 2% of my year’s pay end-of-year bonus! THAT’s what we really want :)

  41. Really?!*

    At the start of the season, a potluck with some catered items was held. Parties could either bring a dish or financially contribute. Senior management had to makeup the “shortfall” of financial donations. They are unhappy about that. Happy Holidays…I guess

    1. Banana Slug*

      A month ago it was announced that the entire company (we have offices in multiple countries/continents, although my team is entirely remote and in the US) would close in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but the messaging has been so unclear in regards to how that impacts my team that it wasn’t until this week that I got clear confirmation that this closure even applies to us, and at this point I still don’t know for sure if the 26th-29th are paid or unpaid days off.
      I’m still very resentful that I was given bad information from someone in HR earlier this year and was not eligible for benefits so this lack of clarity once more has been frustrating. But at least I have this time off, which is sorely needed.
      I have occasionally gotten company-branded swag at the end of the year: once it was a cheap plastic desk clock I immediately threw away and another time it was a fairly nice notebook emblazoned with the company values, which we’ve been using to make grocery lists. That’s only happened twice in over a decade so I suspect I won’t get anything else this year, which is fine by me.

      1. Shirley Keeldar*

        For some reason it’s giving me the giggles to imagine a grocery list that goes:

        Dog food
        Kitty litter

        Frozen pizza

        But seriously, sorry to hear about the lack of communication on anything so basic as pay, benefits, and work hours!

  42. Fluffy Fish*

    There was a building wide potluck on a day I work from home. Oh no. So sad to miss it. Can’t be helped ;)

  43. OtterB*

    As usual, we had lunch at a nice restaurant last week. We also did an optional zoom holiday craft to include the remote people. And we’re off beginning today through New Year’s, although I am planning to finish something up today. Plus we each got to choose a gift card.

    1. OtterB*

      Oh, and we did a cookie exchange after the staff meeting. Company provided storage containers, everyone who wanted to participate brought a couple dozen cookies, with store bought explicitly acceptable. I enjoyed it last year but had to miss this year.

  44. Rin S.*

    We got a festive chocolate making class, an hour long Zoom party with a host that did trivia games with us, some free swag, and free cookies! :3 All in all I’m pretty happy with the festivities.

  45. t-vex*

    We got a catered party with a DJ, and the CEO handed out bonuses that were quite generous considering we work at a nonprofit. I’m only a little salty that the cash bar required actual cash (what is this, 1983?!) We also got 2 bonus floating holidays to use sometime in the next 6 weeks. I really love my workplace.

  46. Sanibel Island*

    My company was awesome with the holidays this year!

    Earlier in the month, we filled out cute little Secret Santa forms. They were very thorough! Name, favorite color, favorite store, hobbies, favorite candy, gift ideas, and what not to gift.

    The CEO had a big party at their house, with a food truck and open bars stationed throughout their property

    We had our in-office party the other day, where lunch was catered, we did our gift exchange, and we announced our employee of the year. Nothing but smiles and happiness all around.

    We also got bonuses; these were quietly added to our usual paycheck. The CEO actually likes to hand out holiday bonuses BEFORE Christmas. Amazing!

    We’re closing the office the Friday before Christmas, but we’re still getting paid for the day!

    Typing it out, sounds so surreal compared to the stories I read here. I am lucky, and grateful. I do not want to squander this.

    Can’t wait for the holiday festivities for next year already! Here’s to a hopefully amazing 2024!

  47. Don't make me come over there*

    I’m at a three-person startup; we’re going out to lunch on the founder’s dime today. Not complaining!

  48. Too Many Days*

    Literally nothing. And we’re closing for a random week in January (which comes out of annual leave allowance and which we got about a month’s notice about).

    But, my old company’s Christmas party ended up being a superspreader event for both COVID *and* norovirus, so. Pros and cons I guess.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      You’re losing a week of leave for next year ALREADY? Yeah that will help morale. Come June they will be wondering why so many people are leaving.

      If you are in the US that’s half your leave gone right at the beginning of the year. Hope no one is planning a wedding.

  49. He's just this guy, you know?*

    We had an employee breakfast last week, where the food was cooked by the cafeteria staff and served by middle- and upper-management. Everyone got a gift bag with a grocery gift card (I’ve been told that in years past, turkeys were actually given out, but the gift card – enough for a moderately sized turkey – is the modern equivalent of that), a box of chocolate truffles, and a company branded toque. My department is having lunch at a really nice buffet restaurant tomorrow (my only concern with this is that I am actively trying to lose weight, so I need to find a way to enjoy the buffet without going overboard – if anyone has any tips for how to accomplish that, I’d love to hear them!). Also, because of the way the stat holidays line up this year, we are off all of next week except for Thursday, but I’m taking that day as a vacation day, so I get an entire week off while only having to burn one vacation day.

    I’m pretty satisfied with all of this – it’s a nice way to wind down at the end of the year.

    1. Panicked*

      For buffets, I always drink a glass of water prior to picking up a plate. Limit to just one trip (or two, or whatever you feel comfortable with!). Focus on fruits/veggies, and small portions of everything else. That way you still get to try everything but don’t feel deprived.

    2. Oolie*

      My best buffet trick is to scout everything out before you get a plate so you can limit yourself to what you really like. Also, use a smaller plate if there’s one available, just don’t use it to justify multiple trips.

      My weight loss struggle this year is cookies. I feel like everywhere I turn there a cookie plate. I think this is payback for all the delicious cookie plates I brought to work in my youthful days when calories were irrelevant…

      Topic? I am currently participating in the gig economy so no holiday work parties or bonuses for me. Definitely a mixed blessing!!

  50. MikeM_inMD*

    The company? NOTHING, as far as I know. In the four years since we were acquired, we’ve received invitations to the fancy holiday party out by the company’s headquarters, which is more than an hour away in good traffic, but this year we didn’t get an invitation. Nobody here seems to know if the HQ crowd is having a party or not.
    On the other hand, the project I’m now on had a pre-pandemic reputation of holding pot-lucks several times a year. And we’re having our second of the year (an “end-of-year” one) in 10 minutes. The meatballs smell good.

  51. saskia*

    Gift cards, consumable gifts delivered to our homes, online collaborative classes (like a cooking class) and some virtual team games. Really fun!

  52. HannahS*

    One advantage of residency being so disjointed is that there are many events!

    I was invited to two resident appreciation events. One was hearty hors d’oeuvres and at a hotel bar–that was hosted by a well-resourced hospital The other was pizza and BYOB at the chief resident’s apartment–that was from a poorly-resourced hospital.

    The university put on a nice stand-up holiday party at a hotel with a pretty good buffet. People came, ate, schmoozed, and left within about two hours.

    My hospital put on their staff appreciation event last week, which was basically a small selection of cookies and snacks in the hospital cafeteria. My own department puts on a nicer party, but we’re doing in in January. Something to look forward to.

  53. Just one drink for me please*

    A lovely and unofficial end-of-year dinner at a high-end restaurant. Great food, great company. The only glitch: The faculty picks up the tab for our support staff (which is entirely appropriate). But the way this is done is that we all toss in our credit cards and split the bill evenly. Which means that once again, I ended up paying $70 for liquor I did not drink and filet mignon I did not eat. Sigh.

    1. former faculty*

      We had some success by doing shares by rank. So untenured = 1 share, associate = 2, full = 3, and then dividing the bill that way. So in a department with 1 untenured, 2 associate, and 3 full, we divided the total bill by 14 (1 + 4 +9), did the math, and then wrote out what to charge to each person on the back of the receipt when we gave the cards to the server.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, this. If the employer’s too cheap, or your taxpayers are too cheap to give government employees the same perks as other employees get, let everyone pay for what they can afford to eat.

          Thankfully I’m in an area where splitting the bill is the standard thing to do, and restaurants have the tools to do quite complex calculations on the bills. A few months ago we went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday and the 4 of us paid for the birthday celebrant’s food and drink. In addition, 3 of us shared a bottle of wine, and each of us was charged for 1/3 of it, and for the server this was just all in a day’s work. One of us is also retired on disability and has been since she was 30, so we paid for her food, but she insisted on paying for her own drink.

          Tipping isn’t expected and even if you do tip, there’s no guarantee the server is allowed to keep the money. At the very least, it’s shared among everyone working that shift, but there’s nothing stopping the restaurant owner from keeping the tips. Otherwise, we would’ve tipped very generously because the service was great.

    2. Governmint Condition*

      We do something similar at my government job. I’ve always hated the concept for what you describe, so I almost never participate (barring one year when I was tricked into it). However, I am now in an awkward position of being one of the managers who would contribute to this. (The manager above us pays for us, we contribute for our teams.) I still don’t like it and won’t accept the upper manager paying for me. But I’ll probably end up contributing toward my team’s share, even if I end up not going.

      Technically, this whole thing is not permitted as it is a perk that is not in our union contract, and if a union rep finds out, they’re supposed to make us pay it back (or they’d have to make sure every union member got a free meal from their management). Also, with restaurant costs being what they are now, this costs the managers a lot. (Managers’ salaries in government are much less than their private counterparts’.)

      I liked it better the way we did it the first few years I was here – everybody paid their own way, and the manager bought a cake.

  54. Blue Mina*

    We’re a small three person IT firm and do a holiday dinner at a nice restaurant. I like my coworkers and it’s a completely open tab for food and drinks (my boss had a rough budget of $500 in mind, but we only managed to hit $450 to his great disappointment), so it definitely was a fun evening! We all work from our individual home offices/on site with clients, so we don’t actually see each other all that much, so it’s nice to have a chance to sit down with each other and catch up.

  55. Betty*

    Company dinner with significant others TBD in January. I caught flak for missing last year until I pointed out that when they scheduled it for the Friday after Valentine’s Day, they did in fact manage to pick the one night in months that I did, in fact, have a prior commitment I couldn’t reschedule (“sorry honey, how about we have Valentine’s Dinner with my cozen coworkers instead?”)

    Also likely company swag of some kind. I have a couple very nice fleece jackets that I loooove from past swag, but my boss will never let me live down an offhand comment that women (or at least, me) are less likely to wear a branded golf shirt to work as business casual (vs. the guys who wear golf shirts daily), which is why he hadn’t seen me in it. Sigh.

  56. eeyore004*

    Our place just hosts a two-day lunch buffet prior to the holiday; people sign up in advance so everyone can see where the menu gaps are. Office provides beverages and a few staples. Some like to go all-out, others simple, it all balances out and there’s always more food than needed. Part-timers are also welcome to snack without guilt or obligation. It’s a fun out-of-the-ordinary, tasty-food event that doesn’t really add to the work burden or assume what holiday you’re celebrating.

  57. IndyDem*

    My company had what I felt was the best way they’ve celebrated the holidays since I’ve worked there (almost 10 years). The celebration was all day in the office, and it was NOT mandatory. But they had free hot cocoa in the morning, a cookie and a candy buffet, with takeout containers so you could take it home with you, in the late morning, and a cotton candy kiosk right next to it. There was an ugly sweater contest; again optional, live music throughout the day on the main meeting floor. There was a massage/wellness/meditation option for people, lunch was free in the cafeteria – and was delicious with many options – including vegan/vegetarian. Then each department had their own snack/beer/wine area to gather in the late afternoon. The whole event was winter themed, not any religious component that I could see. Including a chance to take photos with a fake ski resort background and skiing props.

  58. nws2002*

    We had a potluck Tuesday for corporate employees, was voluntary and employee organized so not an official event. Frontline employees who work on Christmas or New Years are getting a catered meal. I work for an airline and we were also given four, positive-space (meaning not standby) round-trip tickets per employee to use in 2024. No big corporate party or anything though.

    My department is doing an event in mid-January because we had so many people on vacation at various times in December. I also got a small gift for each my four direct reports (favorite drink and a Target gift card).

  59. Weaponized Pumpkin*

    Also nothing, other than slack messages about various global holidays. We’re distributed (and global) so getting together is either very small localized groups or long distance travel. They thought about doing that two years ago, but cancelled it. Last year we got a gift box by mail. This year is literally nothing, not even a departmental zoom call, which I didn’t even realize until this post!

  60. Nonni*

    Company as a whole is doing pretty much nothing. They had a Christmas Tree decorating in the lobby with some snacks, which I did not attend because I’m Jewish. The CEO sent out a “as we approach the holidays, I’d like to thank all of you…blah blah” email (after Hanukkah had ended, so very clear which “holidays” he’s referring to). We only close on the 25th and the 1st. There is no corporate party or corporate gifts this year because the Covid-related products we made money on hand over fist in 2020-2021 are no longer selling and shareholders need to be appeased by layoffs and cutting bonuses. My department is having a “holiday” catered lunch/team building this week with the usual red and green Christmas tree decorations and Christmas music playlist. When I hadn’t RSVPed right away, my manager told me attendance is mandatory. So yeah… great times.

      1. Nonni*

        One of our front desk staff that I’m friendly with told me they were specifically trained to say “happy holidays” to be inclusive and that only secular decorations are allowed…like the 10 foot Christmas tree in the lobby….

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Christmas trees are for everyone /s
          I am asking this question to you because of your response to Happy Holidays. When December started and Google made its doodle the word with a string of colored lights around it. I checked the alt text because I thought it would suggest a link to learn about Christmas lights.
          It did not.
          It simply read holiday lights.
          So, I am asking you as a non Christian person, would you think those are holiday lights or would you think Google fell into the “Christmas trees are for everyone”?
          I was annoyed because if they wanted someone to do that job badly, they could have hired me.

          1. Nonni*

            Those particular colorful large ones are Christmassy to me, though maybe people would use them for Diwali too. I put up blue and white snowflake lights for Hanukkah (it’s technically a minor holiday but I go all out for my kids). I know people who put up white lights various winter holidays or to make winter evenings brighter in general. I guess I can give Google a pass on this one, especially since they could argue they picked the multi-colored lights to match their logo. :)

  61. JanetM*

    My manager took us (himself, me, our student worker, one person from another group who’s work-friends with all of us and good at small talk) out to lunch in early December, at a nice mid-range restaurant (local chain).

    Someone (department administration? a vendor? don’t know) brought in Chik-Fil-A for breakfast last week, and one of the tech groups had a separate potluck lunch.

    We all (the entire campus) get a week+ paid leave (December 22-January 1). I plan to come in next Friday to water my plant, though.

    And finally, we all get our December paychecks at midnight tonight, rather than on the 29th. This is nice but does make for a somewhat long January. (We are paid monthly, on the last workday of the month.)

  62. Alfalfa Alfredo*

    Our department director always takes us out to lunch — her treat — in January. It’s planned months out and it’s a local place that can accommodate vegan / GF / meaties so it works for us. It’s a no-alcohol place, but with lots of fancy juices and milkshakes.

  63. CSRoadWarrior*

    My company took us to a restaurant. This is also a restaurant on the higher end as well, with great food and drinks.

  64. Paperclips Please*

    I work in university housing. We had a party/suite decorating competition on Dec 14. We were given a budget for food to supply, and then we all chose a theme to decorate our suites. On the day of, every staff member from our buildings across campus came to our main office and walked around the suites. It was a fun time, just very overwhelming with the office so busy.

  65. BecauseHigherEd*

    I work at a Catholic university. There is always tension around the holidays because most of us believe strongly in creating a welcoming environment for students, faculty, and staff of all faiths, but also…it’s a Catholic university. In the weeks leading up to the president’s end of the year party, there is always wide speculation about whether it’s going to be a “Christmas” Party or a “Holiday” party. This year, it was a Christmas Party. One year, if I recall correctly, it was a “Christmas and Holiday Party.” My office will often have a departmental “Holiday” party where a Christmas tree and a menorah are both displayed. Last year, my boss (who is Jewish) had a few drinks, snatched the menorah off the mantle, and clutched it to her chest, yelling, “It’s NOT cultural misappropriation–I’m Jewish!” So, anyway, I expect the holiday wars will continue unabated.

  66. Be Gneiss*

    Optional (paid) company party with heavy apps and snacks, a couple games, some fun raffled prizes, and a nice gift for everyone. This year’s gift included a gift card to a local grocery store/gas station, some goodies that are very giftable if you don’t like them yourself, and a voucher to pick from a bunch of company branded stuff, which is great if you don’t need another mug or blanket but could really use a nice office cardigan.
    Our office is open next week but there’s a general mentality that you can flex your time or take some unpaid days or come in and eat snacks and be marginally productive.

    So much better than OldJob. I’ve commented on other posts about it previously, but the Christmas party was mandatory and catered by the school cafeteria (not a culinary arts program…straight up cafeteria food), and they took a collection for gifts for the owners because we should all want to show our gratitude for the opportunity to work there.

    1. No, the Other Jen*

      I’m the holiday activity planner, so we’re doing a lunch at a nice restaurant as a Happy New Year party in January, and I bought everyone a water bottle/mug thing. It’s not flashy, it’s on company time and no one has to play games. A win all around.

  67. DMLOKC*

    There are 5 employees. We usually have a holiday brunch with +1s, and bonuses in the low to mid 4 figures. In October everyone got a 10% pay cut, and we just laid off one with everyone else getting laid off this coming March. We want to do something but can’t think of a thing that would be eye rolling, insensitive, or just tone deaf. We are giving everyone next week off – it’ll have no impact of costs or revenue. That’s something.

  68. We still use so much paper!*

    We’re having a lunch from 12-3 and are required to return to the office after. We did get a small bonus this year and had a door decorating contest.

  69. so very tired*

    My company’s holiday surprise was laying off entire departments (including mine) and not getting back to me when I asked if we could still attend the holiday party because we RSVP’d yes.

      1. so very tired*

        thanks! I see this as a temporary setback and a blessing in disguise at the same time. The place that laid us all off is terrible (doing this right before the holiday plus being a really toxic workplace) and I’ve had peace for the first time all year being free of it all. I had an interview this week that went well so I’m hoping the upswing continues.

  70. Kyrielle*

    Already done with our holiday stuff: crafts, food, and games in the cafeteria (RSVP if you’re going, specify any food restrictions). Can’t tell you what the crafts, foods, and games were as I didn’t attend. And for the group I’m in, also an ugly-holiday-sweater contest and a best-decorated workstation contest, both handled online so remote employees could also participate.

    Also, this is the year the hyper-enthusiasm for “Happy Holidays, Ya Filthy Animals” finally led me to stop assuming it was a reference I didn’t get, and go look it up. I don’t like it any better but at least I’m not going “that IS a pop culture reference and not an attitude, right?”

    1. carcinization*

      Hahaha I almost got an ornament that said that last phrase (with a picture of the “Wet Bandits”) in the ornament exchange my work did, but I was saved at the last minute. If I got that as an ornament I’d definitely re-gift or donate it!

  71. Silverose*

    My company of 500+: we get a week off paid between Christmas and New Years (as holiday pay, without having to use PTO!), each department does their own holiday party/event, plus everyone gets a company branded gift, type decided by department they’re in. My department finally started paying attention to the need to be inclusive of disabled staff for their holiday event; other departments not so much based on the pictures being posted on the internal channels. But my department is still choosing restaurants for the lunch that are ethnic cuisines that depend heavily on common allergens that affect me (fish/shellfish), so I skipped the lunch and met the department for the activity after.

  72. Katherine*

    I work for a public social service agency. We can’t have parties on the taxpayer’s dime so what we used to do was have all day training events with some festivities thrown in. There was a lot of cognitive dissonance as we would, for example, sing carols and then watch a training about elder abuse or human trafficking or something similarly jolly. They were also very Christian oriented. A really good thing about Covid is that it put a stop to the whole thing.

    1. Katherine*

      We also coordinate community gift distribution on top of our regular activities and typically have around half of our case load go into crisis, so on top of it not being a particularly enjoyable event, it was also a waste of a much needed work day.

  73. Minimal Pear*

    We have next week off, paid, without having to use PTO. It’s awesome but I’m a little torn between “WOO HOO I GET A WHOLE WEEK OFF” and “I wish this wasn’t tied to a holiday I don’t personally celebrate.” I get it, though–business is going to be so slow next week we might as well close.

    1. allathian*

      I think that’s a great way of looking at it. Your employer’s closing because it makes sense from a business perspective, not because they think everyone wants a week off to celebrate Christmas in a big way.

      I wish you a very enjoyable week off doing whatever you want to do. I’m also very glad that you don’t have to use PTO.

  74. NardDog*

    My organization (a quasi-governmental nonprofit) holds a holiday “spirit week” complete with ugly sweater day and a potluck, but that’s it. My individual department (5 staff) is going out to lunch tomorrow, then bowling (both on the director’s dime), then taking the rest of the day off.

  75. govt worker*

    A mandatory “optional party” with employee-paid boxed lunches and packaged sweets, Christmas and New Year’s off plus a few extra hours beforehand. At least government work is fairly stable and generally confined to regular hours.

    1. Percy Weasley*

      At my gov’t job, managers arranged for some in-office festivities during work hours. BUT, we work from home, and the (very reasonable) policy is that if you go to the office, you’re there for the entire work day. So I’m not sure how many people actually showed up.

  76. Rara Avis*

    I work at a school, so the employer-sponsored party is in June. Our sunshine holiday party was actually lovely — snacks, drinks, music, fun conversation with people from all 4 of our sites.

    At my location, we also had a gift exchange/auction. The theme was useful things — what would you replace immediately if it got broken. Interesting to see what people chose to match the theme.

    1. carcinization*

      My school’s holiday party was a couple of weeks back so I’ve been forgetting it until now. It was in the upstairs of a local bar, a taco bar and desserts for guests and their plus-ones were provided by admin, but guests were to pay for their own drinks at the downstairs bar if they wanted them. My husband and I had a decent time and it was nice to get to know a few co-workers slightly better. We stayed less than 2 hours though so I wonder if it got rowdy after we headed out.

  77. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    Official building + the satellite office party on Thurs. Catered stuff at lunch hour. Way more food than people. There’s still cake left.
    Subset Team party the next Tues. Crockpot after crockpot of feasting (and yes, we probably tripped some circuit breakers).

    It’s never bad when I don’t have to bring lunch.

  78. Melody*

    My company rented out an event center & ice-skating rink.

    It was a cool idea, definitely more potential for fun than previous parties.
    But… only 5 of us took advantage of the ice skating. So that was less fun.

    1. TJ Morrison*

      My company did something similar, renting out an entire facility with several waiver-required activities people could do. There were snacks, ticket-limited drinks, a decent dinner and a short awards presentation. It was pretty good I mingled with a few groups, had dinner and no one did anything embarrassing in front of everyone. One of the activities turned out to be popular and it was a generally good time. Separately I got an unannounced bonus equivalent to about a week of regular salary. I’m not sure how many of those got handed out though.

    2. allathian*

      I’m in a temperate climate, and learned to skate when I was a toddler. Literally, I got my first skates when I was 2, and I learned to walk without support at 18 months (nobody really knows why it took so long, but I’ve been very uncoordinated all my life). The advantage of starting that early is that toddlers aren’t afraid of falling over because they do it all the time anyway, and there’s a much smaller risk of hurting yourself when you do fall.

      My most awesome experience on skates was when my high school had a winter sports day in my freshman year, and one of the seniors who’s an actual ice dancer (he and his partner won medals at the European and World championships a few years later) took pretty much all the girls for a spin around the rink.

      That said, I’m not graceful at all, and I haven’t skated since I was 25. Now I’m fat and clumsy, and far too afraid of hurting myself if I fall to even consider skating again.

  79. Maglev to Crazytown*

    Government employee. Nothing here. Of course, the agency is already a ghost town with a lot of people being off this entire week already.

  80. Iconic Bloomingdale*

    This is our first in-person holiday party since 2019. We will be gathering in the food court area of our work location and there will be a cash bar, finger foods/appetizers and piped in music. Since we are a municipal governmental agency, parties are funded by employees – there is no “corporate budget” for events of this type.

    In years past, the cost to attend was higher because it included an off-site location (a restaurant or bar with a private area for our group), open bar, food entrees and DJ. However, this year, things were scaled back to encourage greater participation.

    We’ll see how it goes and how well the format is received.

  81. PhilG*

    Just the regular monthly meeting today, if the director doesn’t come down with the GI bug the rest of her family has (all morning meetings canceled so far).

  82. Lynx*

    We had a cocktail party with an open bar and buffet dinner, plus ones allowed. And though we’re usually on a hybrid schedule, next week everyone gets a full work from home week.

  83. too many dogs*

    I work at a public library. We send Christmas cards to our long-time regular patrons. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but people bring us so much food that we just nibble happily all day. We don’t make anything or bring anything from home; there wouldn’t be room in our little staff kitchen, and we can’t cook as good as these people. Among the staff we have a Secret Santa exchange, but to keep it light and affordable, it is a Secret SOCK Santa. You draw a name and buy your person a pair of fun, silly socks. That’s it. This year I’ve seen socks with cats, llamas, pizza, Star Wars, beer mugs, wine glasses, dinosaurs, and movie quotes.

  84. @ Work & Reading AAM*

    My team will be working through the holidays. We’d normally be off starting around Dec 15 but have a major project that needs to be completed by EOY. Happy holidays.

  85. FricketyFrack*

    The city as a whole had a lunch at a local slightly-nicer-than-usual buffet again, which I (again) didn’t attend, because it’s Italian food and 0% vegan friendly. So I covered the office while my teammates went. It was kind of nice, honestly. Very quiet and I was super productive.

    My team is only 5 people, so we did an escape room, from which we escaped, but it was also the same week as the biggest event my office does, so we were all still feeling a little frayed, so it got a little tense toward the end. Then we went and had some really fantastic Thai food which helped soothe everyone’s tempers a lot, and then we went home. It was a nice day, overall, leaving aside a few minutes. The team events are always a lot better than the all city event.

  86. On Fire*

    We had an office-wide (35-ish people) potluck lunch a couple of weeks ago and closed early that day, so people got to go home early. My team had a breakfast potluck last week. We’re pretty low-key, but we all like to eat. :-)

  87. Gertie*

    My company did nothing. While I’m not religious I still enjoyed the celebration and camaraderie of events in the past. But we were told there were no resources this year.

  88. Indigo a la mode*

    I was in charge of organizing my WFH team of 11’s party. We had $50/head to spend, which honestly was way more than I expected. It was a 90-minute Zoom meeting during work hours. Everyone got $30 ahead of time to order lunch delivery. Then we spent 90 minutes playing free online games (skribbl.io, Gartic Phone, bingo) with $50 gift-card-of-choice prizes. Everyone had a great time!

  89. academic physician*

    We had a potluck, played a low-stakes game, and all of us faculty get together to get gift cards for the non-faculty division members. It works out to over $100 yearly for me, but it’s money well-spent to thank such lovely people.

  90. Other Alice*

    This post is very timely, we had our office lunch yesterday. Two hours at a nice restaurant, socializing instead of working. The person in charge of organization even remembered about our resident vegans/vegetarians and they had a separate menu. It was going so well!

    Then Marketing Menace gave everyone their corporate gift, with apologies because she had a very low budget. The gift was a Christmas ornament. That she had handpainted with the company logo and the person’s name. In GLITTER. I’m not christian and don’t have a tree, I hate with my birth name with a passion but am forbidden to change it due to my country’s laws, and THE GLITTER WAS GOING EVERYWHERE.

    I have no idea what Marketing Menace was thinking. Aside possibly “I love this specific thing and want it in my house so for sure everyone else will love this thing”.

    Happy ending: my sibling came round today, they like a craft project. Turns out that nail polish remover works well to remove glue and glitter, we cleaned the ornament until it was transparent again and my sibling took it to use it for their tree. But yeah it was such an unholy combination of something specifically for people who do Christmas, and hard to regift because who would want something with my name AND the logo of my company… AND THE GLITTER. My living room is covered in glitter now. I wish the company would just stop with the gifts.

    1. Dittany*

      I can see the ornament with your (very sparkly) name on it as a well-intentioned-but-tone-deaf gift, but why on earth would she think that you’d want the company logo hanging on your hypothetical Christmas tree?

      1. WellRed*

        I have two company branded logos and I r only been here 4 years. At least they weren’t branded by hand.

    2. Inkhorn*

      I once had a holiday job decorating ornaments like that, and I was still coming across random flakes of glitter YEARS later. It got into my clothes, my shoes, my bag, my phone case, my hair. It transferred off me after I got home and embedded itself in everything I touched. I am never ever ever going near the stuff again.

    3. SciFiScientist*

      Years ago crafty colleague and dear friend made everyone glitter ornaments that looked like snowglobes. Everyone promptly shook or turned theirs over. Colleague had not expected that and they were not sealed. Glitter everywhere. Years later we moved and still found glitter.

  91. Kat Em*

    Not a thing! During the pandemic, we switched our annual company party to the summer so it could be held outdoors, and it was such a hit that it’s become a permanent fixture.

  92. namey mcnameface*

    Well, at the office holiday party, our local SVP told us all not to “take any lives or make any lives” so there’s that.

    1. AnonORama*

      Ha! A friend of mine tells her teenagers not to “add to or subtract from the world’s population.” (But, they’re like 16 and she’s their mom. Seems a bit patronizing from the boss!)

  93. Nightengale*

    Starting in 10 minutes, a taco potluck with the 6 people who work out of my office. Thursday is the day of the week when all 6 of us are usually in the same office, give two people work multiple sites and one person (me) works from home 2 days a week. I know people have mixed opinions on potlucks but this was very much something we chose and want and really low key. I don’t celebrate Christmas but am fine with this party because it is optional. Our office is not very social or party oriented but do occasionally have food treats for a birthday or just because. I brought in cookies today because I love to bake and then taco toppings that were already in my refrigerator. One person is going out for surgery next week so this is also a goodbye for her.

    We are one medical specialty office in a giant health system which is mostly blaring religious themed instrumental Christmas music and has giant trees and tinsel everywhere and sent out an e-mail today wishing people a happy holiday season and a “blessed 2024”. My holidays (Thanksgiving and “Nightengale Grates a Potato” which most people would call Chanukah) are over so that is how our very shiny DEI initiatives are going and doing a great job of making me feel welcomed. If there are bigger celebrations I haven’t paid any attention to them and I am not eating in any larger gatherings due to COVID precautions anyway.

  94. DogsInPJsAreMyFavorite*

    all of our ERGs “co-hosted” an event at the end of a work day, so we had the most eclectic mix – spring rolls, tacos, pasta, and a hot chocolate bar. oh, and beer and wine.

    it’s kinda a fun idea! there’s no chance of not finding food you like!

  95. lurkyloo*

    My team (I’m the only teleworker) sent out a choice of 3 days for the in-person event, chose the one that I couldn’t make and then I was told that I could watch the party by Teams or work.
    I worked.

  96. Not a Professional Party Guest*

    Well there was a department party at the office but they accidentally forgot to invite me for the second year in a row. I’m not even a new employee. I did eventually get an invite after some back-channel “reminders” but after that I didn’t really feel like going.

  97. Ssssssssssssssssssssss*

    Turkey in a bottle.
    Tree decorating contest, one per floor.
    Silent auction (proceeds to go to charity).
    Food drive for the food bank.
    50/50 tickets for the United Way.
    And the big lunch to be held in January. We have a ginormous atrium and there’s space for about 20 tables of 8, the reception desk is converted into a bar and the ramp leading to our largest boardroom instead now leads to the buffet line.

      1. Ssssssssssssssssssssss*

        Don’t Google it! I didn’t get anything close to what we do.

        Everyone who wants to participate brings in a bottle of wine. A winner is drawn and they get alllll the wine.

  98. DivergentStitches*

    Nothing! Apparently not a dang thing! This is my first year at my company and when I started they sent me a laptop bag, yeti cup, and umbrella, all high quality with the company logo on them. But it’s been radio silence for the holidays.

    Last company, they sent a ridiculous grocery shopping bag that cost like 19 cents, seriously I’m sure it cost them more to ship them to employees than it cost for the bags themselves. The bag was soundly ridiculed in all chats. My manager gave me an Amazon gift card out of his own pocket though, to say thank you, because the company was so stingy.

  99. Brain the Brian*

    Nothing at all. Pre-pandemic, we used to throw a large party during the workday in one of our big conference rooms. But HR has turned over entirely, we have a new CEO, the share of non-Christian employees has increased, multiple of our remote sites are in newly very dangerous locations and require constant support from our main office, and — I suspect most importantly — our financials are in horrendous shape. So… nothing at all. No party, no bonuses, no warm emails from management, nothing. Shrug.

    1. Tim C.*

      I guess I am not the only one. One of my co-workers took it upon themselves to hand out their own gifts. She said, “I can only control what I do, and I appreciate who I work with.”. I thought this was a great idea.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Even that would get Looks this year where I work. Anything remotely resembling joy or fun or happiness is being frowned upon, given the circumstances in which some of our overseas locations find themselves at the moment.

  100. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

    Our local office had a lovely dinner that about 15 of us attended. Delicious food and very fun to see everyone in person!
    The editors also had a “workload meeting” holiday party on Teams. As all our gatherings do, it evolved into sharing pet photos and book recommendations. Absolutely delightful. I love being part of the editorial team at my company.

  101. Sloanicota*

    Apparently my entire organization (including both bosses) is taking the week before the holiday off this year, but they did not tell me they were doing that, so … I’m working …

  102. Kel*

    I just started a new job; we had our big branch potluck (I didn’t go, that’s too many people and I’m immunocompromised).

    The small team I’m actually on didn’t do anything at all. My old team had a movie day, popcorn and treats. Sorta feel like I’ve missed out.

  103. TardisBlue*

    We held a get together at a local restaurant for my immediate team, invited a few others external to the team who we interface with almost daily, and a couple who left the team in the last year (retiree, other job) – along with +1’s and what not. I couldn’t afford the whole shabang, but I had great advice to get gift cards to the restaurant for my direct reports, which they could use for food & drink. We also held a white elephant exchange, which has been a yearly favorite. It was a far cry from our 300+ department wide potluck/party/etc., but with an entire remote group, this worked out really, really well.

  104. Whisk*

    Not me… my brother. He work a job that needs to be staffed 365/24/7. For Thanksgiving, he received a smoked turkey, smoked chicken, several smoked sausages and cheese… all from a local butcher. Then, he worked Thanksgiving Day; got paid time and a half, plus received an extra vacation day. The team manager showed up with dinner for everyone working. (While the food wasn’t particularly inclusive, I think the overall benefits of the day were pretty sweet. There may have been food options, I’m not sure, I just know what he got.) I’m waiting to see what he gets for Christmas…

    I took my team to Top Golf. I suck. They had fun.

  105. Dumpster Fire*

    High school teacher here. We’re working through tomorrow, but today we received the annual “we appreciate you” email from the superintendent.

    With the number of tasks that have been piled on this year, I don’t really feel appreciated.

    1. Not a Vorpatril*

      Fellow HS teacher here. We’re getting hot chocolate and Donuts for our half-day tomorrow, which is nice. I plan to finish grading and spend most of that hald-day playing board games, too, so I can’t completely complain.

      But, yeah. Superintendent email got archived pretty quickly, and the students got surprisingly unruly this week…

  106. Agile Phalanges*

    Nothing too exciting for me. Last year, we had a holiday party in our own warehouse, catered by Olive Garden, and this year they gave us an extra holiday day (the 29th, which we weren’t originally scheduled to have off) in lieu of the party. Haven’t heard any complaints. :-) We did get a small bonus, despite revenues being down. We’re having a potluck today. That’s it. Pretty low-key.

  107. Anne Elliot*

    I work for the government, which provides no festive assistance at any time, so I took my staff to lunch out of my own pocket (as I do every year), where as usual more than one person ordered far more food than they could eat so that they could take extra home at my expense. (To which I say “bah” and also “humbug,” but only in the privacy of my tiny black heart.) We did a white elephant gift exchange at the restaurant, value limit $10. I think everyone had a moderate amount of midday work-related semi-compulsive fun, but who knows.

    1. allathian*

      I hope your employees know that you’re feeding them at your own expense rather than the company’s. Not that I’d fleece my employer to eat for free, either. But your reports have some cheek if they know that you’re paying for all of it out of your own pocket…

      Are there any “eat all you want for a fixed price” buffets in your area? Maybe not as festive as a sit-down restaurant, but at least you’d know in advance how much it’d cost you. And those generally have very strict policies about banning doggie bags.

      1. Anne Elliot*

        Yeah, they knew I was buying. As they say here in the South (Southern U.S.), some people don’t get enough home training. It’s once a year and I can afford it but I don’t understand it. ::Shrug::

  108. thatoneoverthere*

    I work for a really large company, so we celebrate by team. We went out for lunch one day, got a gift card from our boss and company gift as well. This year you could choose between several options, one being a gift card. It was nice and low key!

  109. Not a holiday bonus*

    Got laid off right before Thanksgiving. Weeeeeee! At least I didn’t have to negotiate my time off to travel home for the holidays.

  110. Irish Teacher.*

    We went to a restaurant at 6pm on the 8th of December, then on to a pub afterwards, about 8pm. Anybody going to the meal paid €40 for it.

    Some people just came to the pub.

  111. NerdyKris*

    We went to a virtual golf place like last year. Last year’s was last minute due to a scheduling snafu, so we had one of the separated ones in the main room and just mingled around a table a few feet away. The place was former sports bar that added the simulators without changing much else.

    This year we had a “private room”. It was very clearly a cigar lounge type place that just had the screen and projector on one wall and astroturf in the middle of the room. There were 14 people there. I can imagine the room fitting 14 people when it was a regular sitting room, but now it was one person swinging a club and taking up the entire floor, with everyone else crammed shoulder to shoulder along the wall. The golf guys loved it. I did not. You couldn’t mingle because moving required stopping the golf and moving everyone down one spot. There wasn’t space for enough tables. Any movement risked getting whacked in the head with a club. Just awful.

    And they all want to do it again next year.

  112. Managercanuck*

    2/3rds of our team work remotely so we had lunch over Zoom – everyone ordered in, and work’s reimbursing us for it. We’re also given an amount to spend on ourselves and be reimbursed for.

  113. Popchickaboom*

    My husband’s company had theirs the first weekend in December. Everyone got a half day Friday and they paid for everyone to have rooms Fri and Sat at a nice resort (it’s off season here.) Breakfast was included and they had a nice holiday dinner on Saturday night. The company bought 45 yankee swap gifts (each worth about $35) and it turned out really fun with lots of stealing for the one coveted gift. The food was really good and there were two drink tickets to the bar. The rest of the weekend was totally free to do what you wanted. Most employees brought their kids. It was all very low key and fun.

  114. Casey*

    Forcing people to work on the morning of Christmas Eve for “critical operations”! I loooove it here, the workload is sooooo sustainable /s

  115. goddessoftransitory*

    Our company had a party back on the 12th but I never bother attending–it’s usually hella far away and bowling, which I suck at. Plus, since it’s a bunch of different stores and us (phone center) everybody hangs with their coworkers since they don’t really know anyone else anyway.

    The owner puts a lot into making it fun, with really good raffle prizes and such (I’m talking Apple watches and that level of gear) but since I don’t even have a cell phone it doesn’t tempt me. Luckily there’s nothing political in either attending or skipping.

  116. Al*

    We’re remote, so everything has been virtual:
    – a holiday Slack channel where people post photos, recipes, stories
    – Zoom social hangouts (one for the whole company and smaller departmental ones)
    – Online giftcards sent to all employees via Gifted.co, so people can choose the store they want

  117. Just a Manager*

    We’re a consulting firm with plenty of money. We had a department (around 15 people) dinner at a nice restaurant and a corporate leaders’ dinner at an even nicer restaurant. The whole company received two more floating holidays to use before 1/6.

  118. Violin squeaks*

    I’m at a public university. The college did an end of workday holiday gathering with hors d’oeuvres and free beer/wine a couple weeks ago, the department did the same thing on Tuesday, our lab had fancy donuts and coffee at our lab meeting last Thursday, and the state gave all state employees an extra day off next week so we have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off paid. My officemates gave out little gifts and I didn’t get them anything (I’m their supervisor and this is our first winter together). I am not reciprocating because while it’s nice that they did this, I don’t want to establish gift giving. We traded a very regional type of holiday cookie using our different family recipes, that was more up my alley.

  119. LuckyClover*

    We booked a private show on our university campus’ planetarium. Inviting families to visit somewhere we see but don’t get to enter every day was fun. A plus was we also got to use the center’s telescope to see the moon and Saturn after the show. This is probably the first work party I have had that I didn’t mind lasted a little later than a regular work day.

  120. Cruciatus*

    It’s my first holiday season here and they don’t do as much as I would have thought for a Fortune 500 company. They had a new year event last week where we could get a cookies, gift certificate prize winners were announced, photos of departments over the year were displayed, and the president gave a short speech, then people could mingle. Leaders were asked to let people attend. And that was about it.

  121. Marmiter*

    We had a cash bar holiday party, but I couldn’t go because they initially told me the wrong date and I booked a unrescheduleable work event with a different team for the actual date.

    And lots and lots of “do before the holidays” assignments that are making my brain hurt in these last two days before I take next week off.


  122. KTbrd*

    we’ve always done an ugly sweater potluck party. Last year it was snowed out and we had to delay it to January; this year we decided that worked so well with people’s out of office time and December being so busy that we’d schedule it in January to start! We’re also thinking of catering instead based on comments I’ve seen here on AAM. Just a lunch & optional white elephant exchange, with a contest for best ugly sweater.

  123. Look User! Even the Shop is for sale!*

    My company itself gifted everyone a braided yeast bun in the form of Santa Claus and a pack of coffee with a lottery ticket (the lottery is one of those charity things) and a few coworkers organized a get together during lunch break where everyone brought cookies. But the group my company belongs to holds a huge party every year with live music, an open bar and a rather fancy buffet. I personally think that it’s not necessary that the company itself holds a celebration on top of that.

  124. Former Red and Khaki*

    My office does a few things – for the whole office, the supervisors set up different activities each Thursday in December, which are all optional. So for the first Thursday it was Bingo (which is a cherished tradition in our office culture and we all get very competitive); second Thursday was gingerbread house competition; today is music trivia; and next Thursday is a mocktail creation contest. Our EPC (event planning committee) also organizes a secret snowman weeklong activity that’s optional, and we do a Toys for Tots drive. We also do a New Year’s chili potluck, where we give away gift cards or bottles of wine. In addition to all of that, the team I’m a part of does a private ornament exchange and potluck. I actually love the holidays around here – it always seems like we have something fun going on, and we try to be inclusive of everyone. The only activities that really read as CHRISTMAS are the gingerbread house contest and the secret snowman (the ornament exchange as I said is a private activity for just our team, and even that is optional).

  125. Cake Diva*

    Not company wide, but the store I work at will feed us for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. a lot of times it’s catered in, sometimes they have some managers cook. Most of the other stores in the company don’t do much, but our GM is awesome.

    it’s a nice touch when you’re stuck in retail.

    1. Ellis Chumsfanleigh*

      Oooh, that’s nice!

      When I worked retail in high school and college, management never did anything special.

      When I worked retail again during the Great Recession, management at the home improvement big box store I worked at catered a “dinner” in the back of the garden center one year. The dinner happened during store hours, so if you were scheduled to work, you had to grab your food, eat, and socialize within your 30-minute break. Whee. Much fun.

      Another year they held the end of year celebration before the store opened. To make sure everyone got fed and speeches were given and everything got cleaned up on time, the festivities started at 4:30 in the morning. And it was all done in the dim light of the overnight lighting schedule because management didn’t want a higher electric bill dinging their expenses that month. Because it was a home improvement store, a lot of the employees carried flashlights on their key chains or on their belts, and those came in handy when we were trying to figure out what the food on the buffet tables was. (“Are those yeast rolls?” “No, I think it’s some kind of dessert. Hey, Sam, can you bring your flashlight over here?”) Whee. Much fun.

    2. allathian*

      That’s great! And no doubt you deserve it too, working the busiest time of the year.

      When I worked in a bookstore as a student, the store manager brought in gingerbread cookies. Much appreciated when the checkout queue was more than 50 customers long.

  126. Silicon Valley Girl*

    This was the first in-person end of year party since 2019 (it’s always an “end of year” party in either December or even January). It was last weekend at a local museum with a live band & food & drink stations. It was nice & felt a lot like the last one I went to.

  127. Cyndi*

    My boss is taking me out to lunch this afternoon! And his husband is joining us, which will put the company festivities at 150% employee attendance.

  128. Slartibartfast*

    Lunchtime potluck and $20 Secret Santa gifts. Everyone can cook and can be trusted with basic food hygiene, so it’s good. During working hours, which is also good.

  129. Serial Secret Snowflake*

    We are doing a secret snowflake. We are expected to give one small gift a day with a big gift at the end in a $30 budget. It’s impossible! I spent like $75 on my snowflake and I cheaped out by some standards.

    One coworker in particular 1) put some designer things on her form to be given to whoever drew her name like a Gucci perfume 2) demanded a redraw when she picked a name of someone she didn’t want 3) refused to accept her gift on day one of coffee and a donut and 4) sent a gift BACK because it didn’t meet her standards.

    The kicker? We are elementary school teachers and she made a child say the dis she prepared to her secret snowflake.

  130. Ellis Chumsfanleigh*

    Ours will happen in January and it’s an afternoon of bowling, pool, food, and whatever beverages an employee prefers. The invitation stressed the optionality of the event saying, essentially, “We, of course, would love to see everyone there but if you have pressing work matters or this kind of event just isn’t your thing, there is no pressure to attend.”

    I’m new at the company and 90% of us work remotely, so it will be good to get to know some of my co-workers from other divisions.

    Bonus: The location is only 10 minutes from my house and the dress is our usual “super casual”. The only thing special I’ll need to do is put on makeup. At past companies, the locations have always been at least an hour from my house and the dress code was “fancy”, so I never went to any of them.

  131. Desk Dragon*

    We had an optional, themed Secret Santa exchange (each year the organizers pick a specific type of item—think pen holders or mouse pads), with a hybrid “party” during the work day to open them (conference room booked for the folks in-office, hooked up to Teams for those of us who are fully remote or were WFH that day). It lasted about 45 minutes, and I think the in-person folks went out for a beer afterward. Honestly, a lot more fun and chill than the more structured “virtual holiday parties” we’ve had the last few years.

  132. RedinSC*

    I work for a local government agency, so there’s no budgeted money for things like staff parties.
    So we had a party at a local restaurant, the supervisors all threw in money for the food and there was a no host bar.

    Staff decorated the restaurant, it looks great, but there was barely any food (I’m really wondering what the restaurant did with all our money!). So my partner and I mingled for a few hours and then ran across the street to get Mexican food because we were soooo hungry.

  133. Dr Wizard, PhD*

    Company as a whole did a Zoom livestream with prize draws.

    The division I work in did a potluck in the office and took us out doing bowling in the afternoon on work time. (We’re normally all remote so this is more fun than it might normally be.)

    And the team had a fully optional, pay for it yourself, group dinner at a local restaurant.

    Not so bad!

  134. Excel-sior*

    Departmental Christmas dinners with a few drinks afterwards, no pressure on anyone to attend either. lovely.

  135. Sincerely Raymond Holt*

    I took my team of 5 out to happy hour. We left an hour early and paid on my company CC for drinks and snacks. The company provided $100 cash bonuses to all employees that the executives handed out yesterday.

    I’ve been to some pretty amazing company Christmas parties with wild stuff. Worked for one of the largest companies in the world in their trading/financial hedging business and wow, that was a party. Also my functional team had a pretty epic party where there was way too little food and way too much drinking, combined with taxi rides to/from, and me getting kicked out of the bar at 10:30 was the least of the incidents that evening.

  136. bookwisp*

    We had a holiday party at the local Mexican place and a white elephant gift exchange which was fun. Work paid for the food which was also nice. Not everyone could come because of sickness and travel plans but we still had most of the staff there.

  137. Government drone*

    I took my team to lunch at a local restaurant. (I paid.)
    We are government employees, so we cannot expense it.
    Our division will have a potluck in January.
    Nothing epic, but I think people had a nice time.

  138. A Minion*

    A friend’s company is remote. They had a virtual painting party where they followed along with Bob Ross, used software to ‘paint’, and shared their progress/results with each other

  139. David Rose*

    We’re a government building that has to reopen on the 26th, but people have been baking the most delicious sweets all week, including an honest to goodness fruitcake!

  140. Oof and Ouch*

    As far as I can tell nothing. It’s a new company for me this year, so it’s a little disappointing since at my last company we went all out for the holidays and you also got your year end bonus during this week. I guess there’s usually a company Christmas party which got cancelled/postponed this year, and bonuses don’t come out until Q1 the following year.

    I’m also just waiting to see how gifty people get, so I’ve bought a gift card for my direct report that’s just kind of sitting in my desk until I know if that’s appropriate here.

  141. Avery*

    We’re having a holiday dinner at a fancy restaurant in January. I’m WFH and have yet to meet anyone from work, including the man who’s been my boss for over a year now, so I’m looking forward to it for that reason if nothing else!

  142. Construction Safety*

    Lunch today. Nice Restaurant. Division level. Only issue is that my direct boss is elsewhere & scheduled a TEAMS meeting for noon.

    I’m sitting in literally an empty office building, the lights are on, the computers are on. It seems like the rapture happened & I got left behind.

  143. Fledge Mulholland*

    Had a party at a restaurant in the afternoon on the day before the biggest event of the year run by my department, which is a very visible and important event for the entire organization. My teammates and I were so busy making final preparations that could not be done ahead of time that we missed it. This has happened multiple years in a row. I know scheduling is a nightmare this time of year, and my department is very small so it only affected a handful of people, but it certainly doesn’t have a great impact on our morale that we have to miss something intended to build morale and show appreciation for hard work.

  144. I edit everything*

    We have a lunch with meh food, except for the homemade, hand-cranked ice cream. No program or anything–it’s a drop in, grab some pizza or chili and head back to work type of event. But it’s free food. I don’t know most people, so I don’t stay long. The whole thing is kind of *shrug.*

  145. Angrytreespirit*

    Packed 700+ employees into one huge room for 4 hours, breathing all over each other.
    I didn’t go… curiously had a surgery scheduled for the week before and just couldn’t make it.
    About a quarter of the folks I work closely with now have covid again.

  146. Sorcyress*

    “Holiday” PD complete with the chorus singing Christmas Carols. Like, not even plausible deniability “oh Frosty the Snowman is just about a snowman” ones, straight up “on the first day of Christmas”.

    We did get a very nice email from the district equity director a couple weeks ago about how “please don’t put up Christmas trees in your classroom, we are a public school and that’s not welcoming also btw Hannukah is not a big deal Jewish holiday and many Jewish people find it othering to have it celebrated like it is”. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped the holiday party in any way.

    (The chorus kids did a lovely job musically, and as a big ol’ out queer teacher I appreciated a couple of the sly glances I saw between students any time lyrics referenced being “Merry and Gay”, but it’s still weird that they had to sing those songs specifically.)

  147. spcepickle*

    I manage a team that manages construction sites. As all of our contractors are off Christmas to New Years so it is a really slow week. I told everyone to “work from home” i.e. be reachable if there is a fire (sometime literal sometimes figurative) but otherwise enjoy the downtime without having to take leave. They all get Christmas and New Years days as paid holidays.

    But we do not have parties or gift exchanges because it is really hard for end of year “holiday” parties to not turn into Christmas parties and at least a third of my team does not celebrate Christmas. So we will have a big potluck / slow session party in February.

  148. Sciencegirl*

    My team is fully remote, so we are having some sort of cooking together by Teams thing. Essentially you can pay a company to send a cooking kit to each member of your team and then a chef from the company walks you through how to make the food. Last year was ramen with tea or sake. This year I’m unsure about what it is-we voted on it but haven’t been told the winner. I voted for homemade cannoli, which comes with a half bottle of wine.

  149. Eeb18*

    I like how my company does holiday parties! They’re always 2-5, so during work time. They rent out a local restaurant and provide good food (heavy apps and dessert type things). Everyone gets two drink tickets, so no one’s getting crazy drunk. The place we went to this year had great mocktail options that you could use your drink tickets on. Some people get slightly more dressed up than they would on a normal day, some people wear exactly what they normally wear to work, and some people wear Christmas sweaters/reindeer antler/other festive attire. It’s all very low-key and enjoyable. I’d say people are generally expected to attend, but if you had a conflict or didn’t feel comfortable being at an in-person event, that would be respected and it wouldn’t be a big deal to not come. People who work remotely are sent a Grubhub gift card in lieu of being at the party. I haven’t heard any complaints :-)

  150. puzzled*

    Whole company – we always do a big lunch and celebrate people with milestone work anniversaries (5, 10, 15 years, etc).
    Our department – went out to a nice restaurant and then a local holiday market.

  151. Erinwithans*

    We moved our holiday party (an hour on zoom) to be Thursday morning so that our new colleagues in India could join us (it’s their Thursday night). And then the party proceeded to be almost entirely quizzes about Christmas songs and American Christmas movies.

    I feel it sums up a lot of corporate DEI attempts right there.

  152. Amber Rose*

    We had a party in a swanky downtown hotel with live entertainment that basically nobody showed for, and the Chaos Potluck which turned out pretty good.

    We also decorated the absolute heck out of the lunch room. It’s so glittery and full of twinkly lights it’s unbelievable. We found some massive tablecloths with like wood planks and fireplaces and stapled them to the walls so it feels like a cabin. xD

    And we are closed all of next week.

  153. Lainey L. L-C*

    The entire building did door decorating and a cookie exchange. My team did a lunch out and a gift exchange.

  154. dot*

    Last year our IT guys started Dipsmas, so we had the second one this year and it turned out even better. I feel like it’s the perfect work potluck; it can be relatively low cost and effort while still being delicious (I will never turn down something like a storebought buffalo chicken dip). All good fun.

    1. Wem*

      Oh, I like that idea. We had a dip day at work just for funsies, and I made pizza dip and a brownie dip. But I am going for Dipmas from now on!

  155. Kristin*

    Due to budget cuts, our holiday party was a more modest affair than previous years, as it went from being in a restaurant/event space to being in the lobby of one of our buildings (a very nice space frequently used for receptions, but definitely a step down). There was a catered lunch and alcohol…however, since HR were now running the wine table instead of professional bartenders, there were absolutely no restrictions on how many drinks you could have!

    Fortunately I work with a bunch of staid middle-aged people, so no one took off their pants or danced on a table – we all just drank a glass or two more of wine than we should have and gossiped a bit more indiscreetly than usual.

    1. Phony Genius*

      When I saw “HR were now running the wine table,” I was expecting to be more restrictive, not less.

  156. SoCal Kate*

    Our department had a “holiday brunch” that consisted of donuts and tamales. It wasn’t bad, but last year was a full lunch where the department provided ham and turkey and people brought in sides, so some people were disappointed.

    The organization party was better. They brought in a taco cart with all-you-can-eat tacos. There was also a mariachi band, which was so loud you couldn’t talk. I didn’t like that part as much.

  157. JCI*

    Exactly nothing, which is precisely the same every year. No gifts, no party, no acknowledgement except the annual shakedown for a “donation” for the head honcho’s gift. It’s a terrible. soul sucking company, but since it’s unionized it pays better than nearly anyplace else in our rural area.

  158. PepperVL*

    We got small but not insignificant bonuses in November. We had a meal (at lunchtime, in the office) catered by a nice restaurant and had leftovers for days. in February, we’re having a fancy “winter event” party, which works so much better than anything outside of work in December.

  159. kendall^2*

    I work at a large university; the president sent a video with holiday greetings, and everyone (except skeleton staff, I assume) is off next week with pay.

    Otherwise, it depends on what different level of work groups decide to do. One of the larger ones I’m in had a festive breakfast Monday (a huge buffet, plus boxed kosher meals that turned out to be wholly uninspired in contrast, though I still really appreciated that they bothered), while my little group hosted an afternoon social for the volunteer mentors who give us a lot of their time (I could eat nothing at that, but the food was really nice looking). And the part of the building I’m in hosted a big meal before Thanksgiving, rather than anything in December, which I really appreciate.

  160. Kali*

    My division has a new supervisor – it’s an internal transfer, so we all know this guy and widely dislike him for a variety of well-founded reasons. The division used to have large potlucks for Christmas, with our old supervisor (also far from beloved, but generous with food, at least) providing the centerpiece of the meal. In a job where we’re paid by the hour, being allowed a long, free lunch without it dinging our timesheet was quite the perk.

    New supervisor clearly doesn’t even want to aim for “tolerable, but at least will act like we’re his team” – he ordered a few pizzas from a chain (we have amazing pizzerias in town!) and dropped them on our conference table without notice and on a day when half the office was out on vacation. I returned from my day off to hear about how I missed barely warm pizza and a lot of side-eye.

  161. Eowyn*

    Nothing, and on top of the nothing, my employer (large state university) took away the extra days off they gave us the past couple of years between Christmas and New Years so now I have to work next week.

  162. Past Lurker*

    Employees got a sandwich lunch (nice sandwiches though) with a couple of sides at work. No drinks provided. The bosses each got a very fancy gift basket full of edible goodies. I don’t think any of them shared with employees. There’s only about 15 of us so would be nice if they shared LOL.
    We only get the 25th and 1st off, anything else is from PTO due to need to stay open for valid reasons.

  163. Dark Macadamia*

    I’m a teacher so the biggest perk is winter break! Our PTSA puts together cookie boxes with a big variety of treats and sends out a questionnaire about dietary needs in advance so there can be GF/vegan/etc boxes available. Most of the teachers wear pajamas or other festive cozy wear on the last day, and most of our classes are just “do a fun, possibly subject-related thing and try to keep the chaos at a dull roar” lol

    1. carcinization*

      My campus had 12 different dress-up days (that’s actually less than the campus I was at for the last 3 years, where we had dress-up days every day between Thanksgiving Break and Christmas Break), and Pajama Day (which was last Monday, I’m already off this week) was the only one I didn’t participate in. Last Friday, which was the last day before our break, was Ugly Sweater Day, of course, and I wore my holiday “They Live” sweatshirt which includes the “CONSUME” directive from the film.

  164. Michelle Smith*

    Allegedly we’re getting emailed a $20 gift card. I will already be on vacation by the time it’s sent so I guess I won’t be using it to buy anything during the sales lol.

  165. Ginger NP*

    We (the provider group) are taking the clinic staff and their significant others out for dinner/gathering some time after the holiday, aiming for January. Fingers crossed for only low-level shenanigans.

  166. Dinwar*

    Nothing. My jobsite is shutting down for two weeks, for a much-needed break, but other than that not a thing. Which is fine by me. Gives my family a chance to celebrate Yule (technically today, but there are traditions where it’s a season, not a day). Then it’s back to the grindstone. In the past there have been office parties and the like, but due to politics and Covid there may not be an office soon. Which sucks, I for one enjoy meeting my coworkers as people rather than as merely coworkers.

    The management team (there are a few of us) at the jobsite had a get-together, where we each brought a bottle of good bourbon, but that was more a private thing, not a company thing. Really good bourbon, though!

  167. Elizabeth West*

    My department had a regular meeting yesterday afternoon and the entire thing was Christmas movie/holiday trivia games. It was surprisingly fun. I won a $15 Amazon gift card! My boss is a blast, haha.

    Our office location’s holiday party is in January, downtown on a weeknight. I don’t plan on drinking; I don’t want to make an impression as that new employee, lol.

  168. Remote required*

    My company announced that we’ll be going back to the office in the spring! They gave me the gift of encouraging me to update my LinkedIn profile

  169. Displaced Cactus*

    We’re going to have a luncheon on a Sunday in January. I was hired mid-January this year, so I just missed it, and I have heard occasional comments throughout the year about how good the food was. Although it will be early afternoon, the restaurant is going to do dinner-style entrees and a spread of apps and desserts. I expect it will be pretty tame and won’t inspire any AaM stories, but I am looking forward to a nice meal and hopefully meeting a few co-workers who weren’t at the other event I attended in the summer (we’re fully remote).

  170. Ugh*

    We had a mandatory team reflection day that included an hour-long work themed (ish) Amazing Race in 35°C / 95°F, followed by a drink. I had sprained my ankle in the weeks before, was sweaty and out of sorts and did not stay for the drink.

    Mmm, mandatory fun!

  171. Late Bloomer*

    My division of about 70 people had a scheduled hourlong Teams meeting (we all work remotely) for holiday festivities. After the sharing of photoshopped team group photos and an off-key top 10 list of holiday gifts appropriate to those working in our particular niche job, no one else had anything to say. The meeting ended at 25 minutes. I guess the 35 minutes back to continue working on our endless series of tasks was our gift.

  172. Statler von Waldorf*

    I started a new job in March of this year, so this is my first holiday season with them. There’s no party or potlucks for Christmas. I just get all of next week off, and the best part is that I’m still getting paid for it.

    It’s officially my favorite company Christmas tradition ever. I may have my complaints about my job, but this definitely isn’t one of them.

  173. Bird Lady*

    I work remote these days, so I will be taking myself to a late lunch and maybe I’ll treat myself to something bubbly and boozy at around 4PM. Good chance I will be full of cheese at some pint in the day tomorrow.

  174. Caz*

    Asking the staff what they want to see in terms of appreciation, if budget were no object. Salaries and time off are fixed (UK public sector) but I suggested providing lunch or vouchers for the canteen on a regular basis would be a nice start. The budget might even stretch to it…

  175. WillowSunstar*

    Nothing I’m aware of, other than that they gave us our free turkeys for Thanksgiving. My parents didn’t want it, so I opted out since I live alone. It went to charity.

  176. Anon Analyst*

    Yesterday we got a mandatory team meeting put on our calendar with one hour notice and no agenda. At that meeting they announced they were laying off 30 people now and another 250 early next year. Then they told us we would get an email in the next hour if we were on the layoff list. That was a long hour! Our company was recently acquired and I think the layoffs are about 25% of those brought over. My immediate team didn’t have any layoffs but it sure put a damper on our end of year spirits.

  177. lime*

    My company does an annual party in the summer instead of during the holidays which is nice because this is a busy time of year. They do have some in office snacks for various holidays and my department had a small outing to a local restaurant, but there wasn’t anything company-wide.

    I will say though I experienced my first summer party after starting this year, and it was one of the most over the top things I’ve ever seen. They rented out a nearby club, had a large food spread and an open bar, and the entertainment was both a DJ and a live concert from a Grammy winner. They also flew in any employees from their foreign offices who wanted to come. We have around 1000 employees and the party cost about a million dollars. My work experience prior to this was in nonprofits, so I’m still a bit in shock over it.

  178. postscript*

    Covid superspreader lunch/awards ceremony with optional Zoom. Looked like about half and half in person vs online.

  179. AnonORama*

    Team lunch at a delicious and low-key restaurant, gift-stealing game (everyone brought something inexpensive they actually liked, and at least half of us wound up with our own thing), extra time off and a small raise. Usually the full company party is in late January and is pretty chill as well.

    The office is pretty Christmassy, which isn’t my thing as a non-Christmas-celebrater, but I’m choosing to work in a company with a Christian background. I don’t mind the trees, as I am not Christian but am apparently part magpie given my love of shiny and sparkly things. But the music! I know my carol-hatred is off the charts, but does anyone really mind if they go to ONE place without blaring Christmas music?

  180. M*

    I’m so glad you asked!

    My boss let us know that our holiday party would cost $20 to attend and required a mandatory $25 gift for the gift exchange. She requested 100% staff attendance.

    We work at an elementary school. $45 all in to attend an after school party in the school library. I’m a paraprofessional. I make less than $30,000 a year. Needless to say, I did not attend the party.

    1. carcinization*

      Wow, that’s just wrong! I’ve been working in the (US) public school system since 2007 (and I have no idea how many districts I’ve worked for, but it’s quite a few) and the closest I’ve come to that sort of thing is optional parties where one pays for ones own meal and/or drinks, and those were off site, not in the freaking library. I don’t blame you for not wanting to attend, for sure!

  181. JustaTech*

    So far we’ve had a Christmas Tree lighting (with office kitchen cocoa packets and cookies), a Holiday lunch (catered from the usual place) with a White Elephant (yay!) and a “snowball shake” (boo! It’s a “game” where you have to get ping pong balls out of a tissue box that’s tied to your butt.)
    Then in January our site is having our Holiday party at an art museum with a buffet. Don’t know about gifts or bonuses (we did get some nice department branded swag, so that might be everything).

  182. allswellthatendswell*

    We had a buffet dinner with an open bar. The person in charge of planning set up karaoke as the entertainment. Now, this might sound like a set up for a horror story, but the selection of karaoke was a reminder to make good choices, as it was inspired by a good number of our directors and VPs enjoying last year’s open bar a bit too much and crashing a different company’s party in the same venue last year…where they all did karaoke after most of their more responsible subordinates had already departed. While I don’t think we’ll choose that form of entertainment again, the food was good and no one abused the open bar.

  183. Momma Bear*

    As a company? Nothing. It’s been a tough year and I didn’t expect anything. Some departments went ahead and had a pot luck lunch or small gift exchange, but no big to-do as in years past. I think we’re all just grateful to be employed.

  184. Nelly*

    As a holiday treat, the boss has said we DON’T have to go to Christmas drinks after work. He’s cancelled it due to the utter indifference and mutual enmity amongst the team. We cheered.

  185. Inkhorn*

    My company traditionally closes at 12pm on the last workday before Christmas, then heads out to a restaurant for lunch at the boss’s expense. It’s a tradition which has persisted unchanged in defiance of covid; the one concession was getting an outdoor table in 2020 (ironically, the one covid year in which there was next to no covid in our state).

    Persisted until this week, that is, when the 2023 celebration had to be rescheduled to January after a third of the office went down with covid in the space of three days.

  186. Cactus_Song*

    We had a holiday dinner party and a White Elephant gift exchange, and all of us are working from home next week (we get two 4 day weekends with Christmas & New Years) and a good portion are working from home this week and NY’s week too. We got our bonuses, my boss gave everyone a nice bottle of champagne and gave me a very generous amount on a gift card to one of my favorite stores. No complaints on my end.

  187. Kayem*

    Ours has a potluck holiday party where we play loteria for gifts. If we win a round, we get to pick from the wrapped gifts on the table. There’s always ample food as well. It’s a pretty chill night.

  188. Llama Llama*

    They had a party in the break room. I didn’t go and had no pushback. Apparently it was a sit-down dinner which was weird because we have 600 employees and like maybe 50 chairs. There were prizes and a very contentious trivia game (the director had to step in and there was strong disagreement with his ruling…).

  189. CC*

    Layoffs! How exciting and christmas-spirit-inducing.

    On the plus side I get a really long December break.

  190. Maotseduck*

    My building (City Hall) has a 4ft tall creepy Santa communications tried to get people to take selfies with. He ended up in the Fire department with a knife.

    We had an employee appreciation lunch with cash back from our city cards.

    But the best part is we have the 22nd-26th off and I’m utilizing my extra PTO I get for my birthday on the 27th so I don’t have to return on birthday. All in all a good time.

  191. Mademoiselle Sugar Lump*

    We had an ugly sweater party during work hours with a charcuterie tray / table that was literally 8 feet long. There were cookies and wine and a keg. Santa showed up and (literally) threw cheap presents to everybody because people were shy about coming up to get them. It was low pressure and fun. Leftover food was put out the next day and there weren’t any stories of drunken post party antics.

  192. Kentucky Teacher*

    Work Potluck- no biggie right. Except someone brought bourbon balls, very strong bourbon balls. Oh, and I work at an elementary school! Good news is most teachers grabbed a few to take home later instead of partaking during the school day. I do know the two large trays were empty by the end of the day!

  193. Steve for Work Purposes*

    We had our Christmas party 2 weeks ago at a local pub, and the Secret Santa went really well – I got my person an ugly Christmas sweater coloring book and some colored pencils, and I got a Star Wars coffee mug from my person.

    Today (the 22nd) we all get to leave at noon and the office is closed all next week (usually we have enough misc leave that no one has to take it as PTO, but I moved earlier this year and used it for that, so I have to use PTO, but I’m okay with that as I need the break and we get plenty of PTO). I plan on using my week off to relax and play video games and work on crafting!

    Happy holidays everyone!

  194. roisin54*

    We had our annual cookie crawl. Departments volunteer to decorate their space and bring in cookies (or any other type of food), and during a designated 2-hour period staff are encouraged to go from place to place to gather goodies. I, as usual, could not go because it was once again scheduled for the week when I had long planned PTO and was out of town. Which is a bummer because it’s lots of fun.

  195. Bruce*

    We had a nice group lunch where most people who were in the office came out, and we get the week between Xmas and New Years off. Looking forward to it. I’m normally remote but combined a visit to the office with spending time with family next week.

  196. BillFromIT_*

    My company gives all of the team members in India a Diwali gift, but everyone in Canada and US get nothing. No party. No gift cards. Nothing!

    1. ICodeForFood*

      But the best thing was that a manager whose team I used to be on contacted a bunch of us in plenty of time before December, saying she would be in our location (she works in another location now) on a specific date, and would anyone like to get together? And we talked online about where we could go for dinner, and one of the guys called the owner of one of the possible restaurants, and arranged a lovely meal! We each paid for our own food, but it was GREAT to get together with them again!

  197. Remote and Forgotten*

    Nothing for those of us who work remote. The company seems to feel that working remotely is gift enough. I could have commuted 1.5 hours each way to the closest local office but I didn’t receive an invite so I didn’t even know when the holiday party was.

    Also, our bonuses don’t show up until February or March and we won’t find out what we’re getting until just before they get paid out.

  198. Andi*

    I work with a lot of engineers. This year we’re having a hot chocolate bar (vegan options included) and a huge pile of board games in the big conference room.
    It actually sounds wonderful.

  199. Sled dog mama*

    The company I work for does year end bonuses, a greeting card and some type of gift. Last year our gift was a subscription to Master class.
    The site I provide services for does an after work party with food, alcohol and small gifts. There is talk about combining this party with the staff retreat next year so we would hold it on a Friday and have no patients in the afternoon.

  200. stratospherica*

    My department already had an end of year party, dinner and drinks and activities at a little pub-like setting. We then did karaoke as a round 2, and anyone still up for drinking after that went for round 3 at a chain restaurant. One of my work friends got into an argument with me and another work friend and made me cry. He bought me coffee to apologise the following week. 10/10, no notes.

  201. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    My division does a Winter Luncheon in January rather than a Holiday Whatever in December, which I think is great. December is busy enough and, since we have a pretty culturally diverse staff, it’s nice not to have an “it’s Holiday not Christmas but all the decorations are suspiciously red and green” party. It’s nothing fancy or exciting, just a catered lunch during business hours with some optional low-key activities, but given the horror stories I hear here I’m very happy with a free lunch and some time away from my keyboard. Also, we get tomorrow and next week off!

  202. Ann Onymous*

    I think my department got it right this year. We had a year end lunch last Thursday. No drunken antics, no weird gifts, no Christmas activities masquerading as secular. Just lots of free tacos and a nice “thanks for a great year” from the department head.

  203. Trippedamean*

    The whole office had a white elephant gift exchange with snacks and Taboo. Except me – it was my turn to be out on a work trip. I’m only bitter because I got all of the emails about it but none of the fun. At least I got to come home early.

  204. Iwanttobeanonymous*

    Well….My company’s executive team sent out a letter asking us to donate our PTO to a bank that they can then use to help out other employees in extenuating circumstances, “in keeping with the spirit of gratefulness and gift giving.”

      1. Iwanttobeanonymous*

        No, haha, it just was a request to volunteer to give what you could. I think it was a unanimous “no” from our department.

  205. DTC*

    I had a good one today! My team (5 people) had a shorter-than-usual meeting, followed by a group clean-and-reorganize-the-lab and a mini-potluck. It feels good to have a tidier workspace and I enjoyed hanging out with my coworkers, who are all pleasant and interesting.

  206. CorporateDrone*

    My company had a super spreader Covid event. 600 attendees and everyone I know is ill.

    My grand boss was one of them and lamenting how she couldn’t understand how it happened, but the week before another manager was berating his staff for not going into the office (newly hybrid). Said staff member was sick as a dog and said he wasn’t sharing germs. Response: “Oh, the pandemic is over. We don’t stay home when we are sick anymore.”

  207. Nonprofit celebration*

    My nonprofit serves visitors at a popular national park and with a few hundred employees, there are always some employees working every day of the year. What we enjoy most is being able to get together as a big group since lots of us don’t overlap otherwise.

    We’ve typically had a staff appreciation event in January–after our big fundraising season–with great catered food and a fun band. It’s scheduled for an evening so most people can attend. However, with Covid challenges making an indoor event unsafe, our leadership this year decided to just move it to April every year when we can have it outdoors. Being in a park, that’s great.

    Instead, for the holidays this year we had a cookie and cocoa party at our headquarters that ran for several hours, so people could stop in at whatever time during their shift they were free. It was spread out over several rooms and we had soooo many cookies, some purchased and some home-baked, with plenty to take home afterward. Everyone loved it.

  208. Chirpy*

    We got our usual “bonus” of a $25 gift card to the store I work at. I assume there’s some kind of cookie exchange that about 4 people participate in, and the store closes slightly earlier on Christmas Eve, but I’m burning two days of vacation to get the weekend off so I can actually see my parents and, you know, celebrate the holiday.

    All I want for Christmas is a better job where I don’t have to use up all my vacation to get holidays on weekends off…

  209. amoeba*

    Nothing, because cost saving measures. And of course the Christmas dinners are the first thing to go. Which is a shame, because apparently people generally enjoyed them. The one we tried to plan my second year that got cancelled due to covid sounded really nice! But still waiting for the first one for me to actually happen.

    My boss did organise a small apero in the cafeteria yesterday – think a small amount of finger food and cookies and some non-alcoholic beverages, with roughly 10-20 people in a large, non-festive cafeteria. I didn’t go this year because I was already out of town, working from home – about half the group was already on holiday, anyway.

  210. DayDreamBeliever*

    We had a hybrid event, as not everyone works in the main office. Played some “this or that” and trivia games, and then the in-office staff enjoyed a catered gathering (and the menu sounded amazing!) after the remote staff signed off. Remote staff did get a gift card to get treats for the festivities. Not ideal, but nice to do something for everyone!

  211. Makare*

    My office did a “trashy” White Elephant (Trashgiving, if you will—the idea being that all the gifts are rubbish for maximum hilarity) last week, which I didn’t end up going to, and will do a dinner and party in January. Not sure yet what it will entail, but last year’s was awesome and they gave everyone an e-reader as a holiday gift (relevant to the industry we’re in, which by definition attracts a lot of language-obsessed people and readers). I had been planning to replace my old e-reader in 2023 anyway, so that worked out great for me! We have a new office manager this year, so we’ll see what she comes up with, but I’m looking forward to it. I expect there will be a lot of dancing, based on our usual parties. I like my company and coworkers :)

  212. WantonSeedStitch*

    Our entire university has a week off between 12/25 and 12/29, which is the best. My department had a Zoom party where we made gingerbread houses (they sent us all kits at our homes as we work remotely for the most part), which was a blast.

  213. Anna Crusis*

    Party at a nice location early in the month. There was a band, hors d’oeuvres, a basic buffet dinner, and a photo booth. The floral arrangements were gorgeous. Apparently there was an open bar in the other room, which we didn’t find out about until we were leaving. They were not carding anyone and the 19-yr old intern was able to imbibe. My plus-1 and I left early, partly because we were thirsty (if you wanted water or a soda it was at the bar, which in hindsight kinda makes sense but we are out of practice going to events). This was probably also a super-spreader event, since 7-10 or so days after a lot of people started calling out sick with some mystery illness that knocked them flat for a week and had odd symptoms (but they “knew” it wasn’t the plague, even though they refused to test even tho at least 6 people did and it was Covid). Plus-1 and I managed to avoid that, fortunately.

    Apparently the company has had a very good year, if how they celebrated last year is a basis for comparison. I am looking for another job, and maybe it will be ok if it takes a few months so I can get the annual profit-sharing $ they distribute after Q1.

  214. RobareOwl*

    We had a one-hour end-of-year Zoom meeting, mostly devoted to employee awards, and then everyone got the afternoon off and a small bonus. I feel like more time and more money is what we all want for the holidays!

  215. Lizzianna*

    Our work group had a small potluck, and our regional director hosted an open house in her office suite and provided breakfast burritos, coffee, and some other treats, then arranged for an after-hours optional happy hour. Pretty low-key, but still nice to get together with some of the other groups. We’re government, so if we want to go all out, the employees have to find a way to pay for it.

    Our national office gave us 4 hours of admin leave (2 to use before Christmas, and 2 to use before New Years).

  216. dryakumo*

    My company does our annual party in the fall so we can be partly outside and to avoid conflicts with everyone’s end of year PTO. But we had a chili cook-off after our Q4 meeting and an appetizer/dessert potluck combined with a little holiday market in the break area.

  217. HowdyHelp*

    I think ours is actually good! We’re remote, so for those in hubs, a fully paid for nice dinner, and for those not in hubs, they could take themselves out to a nice dinner ($100 each).

    We all got a mini massage gun as a gift, and we have next week off.

    Many holiday joys to you all!

  218. Wem*

    I work at a community college, we don’t get anything, and we are closed the last week of the year, and don’t get paid for it. It sucks.

  219. Scrubjay*

    Normally (excepting the Covid years), we get a catered lunch from the campus catering service. It’s usually alright, the desserts and sides are good. This year they instead did a department-wide potluck with management very thoughtfully providing tables. Like all the recent parties, it was held on a day I don’t work (which I’m only slightly salty about) so I don’t know how well attended it was but all the emails about it were embarrassingly excited in tone.
    Oh and we had token “gatherings” for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa despite the breakrooms being festooned with Christmas trees.

  220. SUPER Anon (jic)*

    My boss recently accepted a different job with the intention of working two jobs. It did not work out how he had planned, and while he’s understandably disappointed at losing a job he didn’t intend to leave, he’s also SUPER checked out. So we are celebrating the holidays by doing the bare minimum (all of us), and waiting for him to leave so we can move on (me, at least).

    It’s better than the year we had a Christmas party with a gift exchange where the example of an appropriate gift was a pair of used socks.

  221. Heather*

    My department hosted a picnic in a local county park on a Friday afternoon. When I first heard, I thought it sounded like a lot of work grilling food, carrying groceries, etc, but it ended up being a really nice time. Nice weather (Southern California), plenty of food (someone even contributed their own smoked brisket), some tossed around a frisbee, they even rented an inflatable obstacle course. It was nice to have a little get together outside the office during work hours. Kids were welcome but the timing and location weren’t convenient for me to bring mine, so it was nice not to have to find child care or manage my child’s behavior at my work holiday party.

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