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spike bullet December 2005 - Lightening the Load

Suggestions and Tips:
Help Someone Else
Enjoy Your Co-Workers
Celebrate Achievements
Make Personal Connections
Share Diversity
Holiday Blessing
Resources (links, books, articles, software/multi-media, the lighter side)

color bulletLightening the Load

Our December newsletter is about making the workplace a lighter place to be, a place where people can have fun, enjoy their job and so something different.  Many companies (*) have winter holiday events or encourage workers to do something a bit unusual at this time of year.  

Following the month of November when activities surrounding thanksgiving and abundance are major themes (at least in the United States), December is an opportunity  to celebrate and enjoy the many holidays as well as create sparkle and light to offset the shorter darker winter days.  [For our readers in the Southern Hemisphere, you might want to re-read this article in June.] 

This newsletter offers some suggestions for ways to lighten your workload and your workplace, this month or any month of the year.  

Help someone else

People who get involved in holiday endeavors report they feel so much better about themselves through doing this that their overall attitude is improved.   They realize how fortunate they are and feel blessed to be able to share their abundance with others.  There are many, many ways to help others.  Here are only a few examples:

  • Some companies and many religious organizations sponsor gift exchanges for those less fortunate.  That could mean providing gifts for people at local hospitals, children's homes or anyone identified as needing extra help.  
  • One example we have seen is a "Critter Tree" where a pine large tree is decorated with stuffed animals, huggable toys and other warm, soft items that are donated to children in hospitals.  
  • Another of our favorite projects gives gifts to local families who have been identified as needing help.  Everything on their wish list is provided along with an entire holiday meal, delivered by Santa's "Elves" a few days before Christmas. 
  • It could mean supplying holiday meals of turkey and all the fixings, helping to serve meals to the homeless or helping survivors of natural disasters.  
  • It could mean visits to retirement homes to sing carols or provide gifts of hope and personal connection.  
  • It could mean collecting money to be donated to others through organized charity drives.  
  • It could mean collecting gifts or personal items of any kind to be shared with those who are suffering hardship at this time of year.  

Enjoy your co-workers

The month of December is often the time that groups get together for holiday lunches, dinners or parties.

  • The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, CA offers a special "High Tea" in December that is extra special with all the seasonal decorations inside and an enchanting view from the high cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Other luxury hotels offer similar events.  
  • A holiday gift exchange is practiced by many work groups.  It could be that everyone exchanges holiday ornaments or draws names out of a bowl to determine gifts.  
  • Other groups simply get together for a meal just to enjoy each other, possibly recognizing or acknowledging the accomplishments of the year.
  • Some companies sponsor a special lunch or dinner event.
  • A group might sponsor a department-wide potluck lunch where people can share their cooking talents with co-workers.  Those not gifted in the culinary arts, can supply plates, drinks, silverware or other necessities.  
  • On a smaller scale, a few people who are friends might get together just for the fun of it, with or without any gift exchange.  

Celebrate achievements

The end of the calendar year is often a time to recognize the year's accomplishments and get ready for the new year ahead. 

  • Many people choose to retire at the end of the year, so this is a natural time to look back on the many achievements of the person retiring.  
  • Other companies celebrate their financial results of the year with bonuses and acknowledgement of the many contributions of the employees who have worked hard to achieve the business results.
  • Non-profit groups may celebrate their fund-raising efforts with special recognition events.  
  • We were introduced recently to a nifty Microsoft Word template/software product, Our Shared Times, that creates a newsletter-type timeline page for each year, showing significant events.  It comes pre-loaded with several news events for each of the past 100 years (with pictures) plus top songs, books and movies.  It has the ability to add customized text and pictures of your own.  It can even do a running slide show of pictures.  We are using it this month to create a personal event book for someone retiring. 

Make personal connections

The many holidays in December provide many opportunities to get together with friends or acquaintances. 

  • Many people open their homes and share their special decorations with people they know or care about.  
  • Individual homes or entire neighborhoods may decorate their homes and allow them to be viewed as part of a "parade of lights" during December.  
  • Neighborhood caroling, sharing a hot drink or participating in a progressive neighborhood dinner are cherished events in some communities. 
  • Some companies do auctions of holiday baskets with the proceeds going to charity.  For example, a work group might create a "family movie basket" or a "sports basket" or a "puzzle basket."  Baskets are then bid on by employees with the highest bidder winning the basket.  These events provide a way for employees to work together in a different way to create their basket, then know that the person who wins has something special and the money is going to a good cause. 
  • Others create holiday wreaths that are decorated in a particular theme.  Again, the proceeds go to charity.  Events like this allow individual talents to be displayed in a way that the day-to-day workplace does not.  
  • Teachers often participate by helping children create special hand made gifts for their family members.  

Share diversity

Another rich way to connect with others is to share the diversity of culture that exists in our country.

  • Companies may sponsor highlights of a particular natural heritage each month throughout the year as part of a diversity education program.
  • People of a particular ethnic background might share recipes for an international lunch event.  
  • They might display native costumes and photographs of historical events or people.
  • They might share the spoken language through story telling.
  • They might share the culture through dancing, music, drumming or singing events.
  • Employees might offer their personal services at an auction where the proceeds go to charity.  For example, employees in the accounting department might offer to teach basic financial planning.  Employees in the computer department might offer to help someone with their home computer.  Some one might be a creative bow-maker offering to help wrap presents.  Or a talented cook might offer their services for a holiday party.   

The list goes on 

With those ideas to get you started, what ideas do you have for lightening up your workplace?

How about getting your work group or management team together for a brain-storming session?

May your holidays be blessed with light and laughter this year.

World Wide Web graphic  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books  -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

  • Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season, James Finn Garner.   Hungry Minds Inc , 1995.  ISBN: 0028604202
  • Christmas's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book Of Kris Kringles, Merry Jingles And Holiday Cheer, Kevin Cuddihy, Phillip Metcalfe . Potomac Books, 2005.  ISBN: 1574889680
  • Fun Works: Creating Places Where People Love to Work, Leslie YerkesBerrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001.  ISBN: 1576751546

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter articles: Most December articles

  Software / Multi-Media Products

  • Our Shared Times - a great tool for creating customized newsletter timelines for special events.  The website explains how it works.  Subscribers to our monthly newsletter can purchase this for 1/2 price for a limited time.  Details are being sent with this month's newsletter notice.  

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

* Note: we use the word "company" to mean any business organization or group, including government and non-profit entities.  

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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Page updated: October 16, 2023      
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