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7 last-minute ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving in the office

Thanksgiving is most likely an important holiday for your employees, and rightly so. It’s a day to celebrate by giving thanks and typically involves spending time with family and friends. Thanksgiving is also the perfect time for leaders to remind their employees just how vital they are to the success of the business, and how much their contributions are valued. 

There are many ways to show your team you are grateful for the work that they put in all year round, but if you’ve caught the holiday spirit and want to share some last-minute festivities with your team, here are a few ideas for office celebrations that can be pulled off with little planning.  

 7 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Office:  

No. 1 — Foster a Culture of Gratitude

Several articles in the Harvard Business Review have pointed out the importance of saying “thank you” and giving specific praise to employees when earned in genuine, honest and heartfelt ways. Mark Gaston’s blog on How to Give a Meaningful Thank-You is full of great advice. Some includes sharing with employees how their contributions had personal significance for the leader and team. According to a survey of 2,000 Americans by the John Templeton Foundation, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anywhere else. Give your employees a way to show their gratitude to you. This could be a contest with a prize. Ask employees to share one thing they appreciate about their jobs and send it in. They can remain anonymous. Think of all that you could do with the notes. They would be great for recruitment.

No. 2 — Swap Recipes in a Group Chat or Email Thread

Without creating overwhelming communication for your team, invite them to share their favorite recipe for the holidays with one another. Those still looking for last-minute recipe ideas to make for the holidays will appreciate having new, team-tested recipes to try!

No. 3 — Give Thanks Via Email, Recognition Platform or Handwritten Thank-You Note

Everyone likes to receive recognition, praise and thanks in different ways. Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best and work towards achieving the company’s goals. A handwritten thank-you note can go a long way toward making someone feel appreciated. Get ideas on how to write effective thank-you notes to your team or co-workers, find some nice stationery, practice your penmanship and get to writing! 

No. 4 — Give Back as a Group

There’s still time to arrange opportunities to give back as a group — even if you’re only announcing an opportunity that will take place after the Thanksgiving holiday. Employees will be surrounded by loved ones for the holidays, so they may enjoy the opportunity to share their volunteer opportunities with friends and family. Give them that opportunity. Organize a community service event or help provide holiday meals for families in need. Teaming up with a local charity is a wonderful way to show your holiday spirit and demonstrate that you’re socially responsible and care about your community. 

No. 5 — Give Your Employees Time

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can cause a lot of stress. There are so many things to plan and it may seem like your employees are a bit sidetracked right now. Release employees an hour or two early on the last day of work before Thanksgiving break. This can boost spirits and brighten the start of their holiday weekend or day off.  

No. 6 — Potluck, Potluck, Potluck

Enough said? Thanksgiving leftovers can overwhelm even an empty freezer for anyone hosting the holiday in their home. Invite your team to share leftovers in a lunch feast, with opportunities to recap newly made, special holiday memories. You could also host a potluck at your office the week before Thanksgiving. Combine the office potluck with No. 2 above, and you have a recipe for success (and grateful employees). 

No. 7 — Show Your Thanksgiving Spirit Online

If you have a website and/or social media accounts, use them to post Thanksgiving greetings and thoughtful quotes and images. Digitize the holiday with Thanksgiving-themed posts and a special message. This shows that your company is thankful for your clients, employees, stakeholders, partners, website visitors and social media followers. Giving thanks via your website and social media accounts demonstrates your commitment to fostering a strong corporate culture.   

What are you doing to foster a culture of appreciation within your team? 

What does your company do to celebrate the holiday and foster a culture of gratitude at work? Can you think of other ways to bring Thanksgiving to the office? Share your ideas below!  

Jessi Brawley

Jessi Brawley is the social media marketing specialist for Maritz Motivation Solutions. She has ten years of experience in digital marketing and social media management.

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