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If you’ve followed our blogs in the past then you know we have a reputation for discouraging the standard holiday party routine. (Sorry, Halloween.)

But our push for non-conventional celebrations isn’t because we have a Grinch-sized heart, we promise!

The fall and winter seasons are stuffed full of treats, turkeys, and tremendous gatherings, causing many people to feel overwhelmed and burnt out by the start of the new year.

When your team members attend five or ten (yikes!) festivities within just a few short weeks, it’s no wonder that the good cheer and holiday spirit starts to dwindle before your seasonal company party.

Instead of cramming one more secret Santa onto everyone’s plates, embrace the “season of giving” in a new way and host a company volunteer event instead!

Developing a volunteer program for your business has the potential to yield impactful and beneficial results for your team and your community that you wouldn’t achieve with a standard holiday party.

Research has shown that employee volunteer programs positively impact team dynamics, leadership skills, and job satisfaction.

Let’s consider these statistics:

64% of employees who volunteer with their colleagues strengthen their relationships through volunteering.
90% of HR professionals believe that sharing talents with non-profit organizations can help to develop leadership skills.
88% of Millennials are more fulfilled by their job when they have opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues.

The holiday season is a time to give back to those in need, but clearly, it’s not just the external community who benefits when businesses invest in volunteer service.

Adopt one of the volunteer projects below to create a memorable, meaningful holiday season for your team and your community!

5 Ways To Give Back During Your Company Holiday Party

1. Sponsor a Family in Need

The holiday season is ideally full of family gatherings and happy traditions, but for many families the holidays are wrought with difficulty. Whether due to financial, physical, or emotional disparity, not being able to provide a joyful holiday experience can be a burden for a number of families.

By sponsoring a family, your team can physically provide gifts like a holiday meal, children’s toys, and winter clothing, or can fundraise the money to donate to an organization that will provide these items on your behalf.

Many non-profit organizations offer family sponsorship programs locally and nationally. Some organizations even specialize in providing for certain demographics, like military or refugee families. (Check out USA Cares.)

A quick Internet search will generate hundreds of options for family sponsorship programs, but we encourage you to select a local organization that helps families in your business’s community.

2. Cook a Meal Together

It’s common knowledge that food is a staple for successful bonding, so why not come together as a team to make some to share!

If you’re looking for a hands-on, team-building service project, cooking food for those in need can be a fun experience with tangible results.

Local soup kitchens and homeless shelters are wonderful places to start, but they tend to be overwrought with volunteers during the holiday season. Don’t forget about other organizations that depend on volunteer help, but may not be obvious choices like The Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, or local churches.

Many people even know a family in their own community that would benefit from the donation of a home-cooked meal. Ask your employees if they know any families that could use some extra assistance this holiday season and create a meal-train for them as a team.

3. Donate Children’s Gifts

If cooking isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Maybe your team can work together to supply children with holiday gifts instead.

Giving and receiving presents is often a staple of the holiday season in our culture, but families in financial or interpersonal distress struggle to provide gifts for their children.

Contact your local children’s hospital, foster home, or orphanage to see how your team can help to share gifts with the children and teens in these facilities. Your team could also collect supplies to donate to children in need around the world through programs like Operation Christmas Child. Or donate a Care Card through Family and Children’s Place to help families going through a tough time.

Your company could even partner with your local Post Office to help answer children’s letters to Santa. Talk about a happy holiday!

4. Visit a Nursing Home

Unfortunately, many residents of nursing homes lack frequent visitors. The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for those residents who do not receive regular company.

Join together as a team to develop an activity you can do with the elderly in your community. Not feeling creative? Ask your local nursing home if they have any events you can help with!

If your team members have a variety of skills, consider putting on a talent show for the residents. Or, wrangle someone to plunk out “jingle bells” on a piano while the rest of the group carols along.

Other activity ideas outside of the “caroling box” include: throwing a holiday dance for seniors, helping residents create holiday cards, or hosting a gingerbread house decorating party.

5. Host a Blood Drive

We’ve shared a few ideas of ways to physically serve members of your community through hands-on activities or monetary giving. Hosting a blood drive is a unique way to support your community by helping those in need of life-saving, medical assistance.

Consider partnering with an organization like the American Red Cross to plan and administer a blood drive sponsored by your company.

Your team could participate in the blood drive by advertising, recruiting, or donating. As an organization, set participant goals and celebrate your success with a “thank-you” lunch for the team.

Hosting a blood drive in-house is a creative, convenient option for your team to give-back this holiday season.

Celebrating the Holidays with Intention

Just to be clear – we aren’t telling you to abandon your company’s holiday plans if they’re a hit with your team!

We repeat – don’t cancel your annual holiday dinner if your team looks forward to it all year long!

But, sometimes businesses end up doing the same-old holiday party simply out of obligation or tradition, not because it benefits the team.

If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate the holiday season and build a stronger team for your business, then consider planning one of the volunteer events we mentioned in this blog!

Do you need help developing great team building events for your company? We can help! Give us a call at 877-753-0970 or check out our website to learn about outsourcing your employee issues to Integrity HR here.

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about the author: Integrity HR

Integrity HR's human resources blog is filled with expert advice (and sassy commentary) on those everyday employment issues that give business owners and managers HR headaches. From tips on how to retain key employees to how to write your dress code policy, our blog has all the HR resources you need.