The winter holiday season can be a great opportunity for employees to share in the joy of the season. First, it’s important to note that there are several winter holidays, and focusing on one in particular may alienate or discriminate. It’s a good idea to include a variety of decorations and festivities that speak to winter in general, or that includes all winter holidays.
For decorations, a general winter theme can suit all winter holidays. Focus on snowflakes, icicles and snowmen to celebrate the winter season. Try color schemes like white and silver (Think “Winter Wonderland”) or the traditional red and green.
If decorating a Christmas or holiday tree, be sure to spray it with a flame retardant to keep within fire safety standards and make sure the tree is firmly secure and sturdy. Tinsel can be messy to clean up, and should not be near any source of heat, so it may be best to be avoided.
Wreaths or winter season plants may be a good idea, though artificial ones are much neater (no dropping needles), and can be safer in case any coworkers have allergies. Avoid glass decorations, particularly hanging ones.
A few other safety precautions include not hanging tinsel from computers or around any source of heat. Also, do not cover exit signs with any decorations or block pathways. Any holiday lights should be turned off while the office is unoccupied. Balloons are generally not a great idea, as many people are allergic to latex.
Gift exchanges are a great way to celebrate and spread cheer among office workers. Have interested people sign up, agreeing on a price limit. Exchange names and gifts. Be sure to explain that appropriate, inoffensive gifts are to be expected.
Holiday decorations and parties can be a great way to keep up morale during the winter season. Some safety tips for parties include keeping only fresh food in a fridge before the party, using paper cups and plastic utensils, and avoiding candles or smoking inside the office.
An important thing to note is to let each individual decorate in their own style, with their own beliefs in mind. Instead of stifling religion altogether, let each person decorate their own area to their own taste. It can be an opportunity to learn more about the people you work with. If the office puts up a communal holiday tree, let each person choose an ornament for the tree, or use a general non-religious theme.