Better to Give Than to Receive

Holiday Team-Building – 3 Twists

Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Years Day. Each of these holidays is unique. The first is primarily celebrated in the U.S.–though similar holidays are found around the world. The second began as a Christian holiday, but is now celebrated by people of many faiths. The last one is pretty universal, assuming you follow the gregorian calendar (my favorite calendar by the way).

So for workers across the world, this series of holidays–and others in between–presents the  perfect opportunity to take a break. But time away from the office doesn’t mean that team-building must cease. On the contrary, now is the perfect time to strengthen bonds between co-workers!

Team-Building, Nicely Wrapped

The Gift Exchange

Gift exchanges can go one of two ways. Co-workers are ecstatic at receiving just what they wanted for under $30, or they are disappointed by a less than useful/exciting/thoughtful gift. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Try this variation on the exchange: ask each co-worker to purchase a gift under a certain value that will be placed into a silent auction. Place all these gifts on a large table with a bid sheet and provide each person with “auction dollars” for bidding. These dollars could also be earned/won through another activity like holiday bingo or office trivia.

Caution: Always carefully consider whether re-gifting is a good plan. If it wasn’t good enough for you, make sure you’re not just paying forward that disappointment.

Sweet Team-Building

The Holiday Party

This year, bring the party into the office. A good ‘ol fashion pitch-in lunch on a workday ensures that everyone can participate. Our company plans several of these throughout the year, but for the “Holiday Potluck” we include an optional “Sweet Treat Exchange” as well. Some socializing, a full belly, and a variety of take-home sweets makes for a fantastic team-building day.

Caution: If it’s an after-work party, be careful with holiday cocktails: one too many cups of eggnog could lead to a not-so-happy New Year.

Team-Building to Make a Difference

The Charitable Donation

“‘Tis better to give, than to receive.” Directing dollars away from gift buying and parties, and instead, investing it in a local charity is a powerful way to impact the community. This also underlines the “reason for the season”.

For an even more effective approach, your team can focus on working with one charity throughout the year. Pair the holiday donation with a service day that occurs earlier in the year. This makes for a richer experience and a greater impact than just a one-off donation.

Caution: Be sure that this activity is optional, anonymous, and provides co-workers with an opportunity to vote on the receiving charity. Not all charities will be in alignment with the beliefs and values of all team members.


Providing opportunities for social interaction and team-building among co-workers strengthens company culture. A strong culture is also enhanced by hiring people who fit the job and the company. ExactHire provides hiring technology that helps to ensure job fit and supports a strong company culture. Learn more by contacting us today!


Image credit: Red Snowflake Gift Tag by tengrrl (contact)

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