Some of the best holiday memories are not about the gifts that were given or received. Rather, it’s about the experience of being together and capturing some Kodak moments. So, instead of getting caught up in the stress of a holiday budget, think of your holiday as a celebration that requires two things: your imagination and your project management skills.
Here's how to get started:
- Create a "Project Holiday" board that can go in the break room or in your office.
- Gather your employees and create a plan for the holiday together.
- Brainstorm ideas of all the things you can do as a team to make this holiday unique and to create an experience, while staying within budget.
- Assign roles and responsibilities.
- Set deadlines.
- Agree upon a couple of milestone meetings to see how everyone is doing.
And just in case you need a few ideas to get you going...
Ten Ways to Make Your Holiday Memorable
1. Get your employees on board. Involve your staff in the holiday planning, and share with them your goal to create a different kind of holiday. If you involve them in the planning, not only will you have "elves" at your disposal, you’ll have a motivated team that is working toward a goal that they were part of developing.
2. Use the power of potluck and food prep. If your team normally gathers for a large dinner, consider making it a potluck and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish. Better yet, turn the meal into an event itself, where everyone cooks together and has a role in prepping, preparing and cleaning up after the dinner.
3. Give the gift of your time. During the time that you would normally be "off the clock," give the gift of your time. Go as a group and work together at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for a few hours.
4. Pick a charity. Choose a charity and make a donation as a department to that charity or ask everyone in your group to choose a charity and make a donation in whatever amount each person can afford. Then, everyone can tell a story about that charity and why he or she chose it.
5. Share stories. If you have a team of storytellers, ask each person to write a holiday story, and host a lunch-time reading over hot cocoa or hot apple cider.
6. Create a gift-giving game. Have a "Yankee Swap." Each person brings one gift that can be for either gender, within an agreed upon spending amount, say $25. The gifts are in the center of the room and there is a drawing to determine who goes first. The first person gets to choose a gift. The next person can choose a gift or "steal" the gift that the first person chose. After a gift has been "stolen" three times, then it is safe.This game usually gets a lot of laughs and focuses the fun on the game itself instead of the gifts.You can also make up your own rules, and do your own variation on this, which makes it even more fun.
7. Create workplace gift certificates. The best gift certificates are the ones that are created by the people who know us best. A gift certificate for one month of sorting the mail or a coupon for no hassles about tardiness can be really funny and last for a few months after the holiday is over.
8. Design a group holiday card. Take a group photo and make that your holiday eCard to send to your clients. No mailing or stamps needed. Just a photo that captures a great moment of the year.
9. Get some exercise. Depending on where you are in the world, and what the climate is, plan an outdoor activity that everyone can enjoy. Could be as simple as a walk together or even a 5K run if you have athletes in your clan.
10. Get a jump on your New Year's resolutions. Have everyone state a goal that they want to accomplish in '09, anything from productivity, to performance, to organization, etc. There's nothing like saying it out loud and taking accountability. It's a powerful motivator.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.