A holiday office party is all well and good, but if you're looking for additional ways to celebrate the season, you've come to the right place. We asked four small-business owners what they do to hail the end of the year and to show their employees and clients some appreciation. Here's what they had to say.
1. Share the spoils.
Lisa Chu, owner of Los Angeles-based children's formal wear boutique Black N Bianco (@BlackNBianco), doesn't miss a beat in acknowledging that her employees are one of the driving forces behind the success of her business. And so, when the end of the year approaches, the holidays are a way to share the rewards of a profitable business with her staff.
"I give a $500 gift card so my employees have some extra cash to use it for the holidays," Chu says. But she takes the bonus up a notch by including a handwritten note, thanking them for their hard work and noting their success throughout the year. She says, "It's a great way to show my employees how much I appreciate their dedication and hard work."
2. Take some time off (and eat pancakes).
Mark Baldino and Ben Ihnchak, co-founders of Chicago-based design and strategy firm Fuzzy Math (@fuzzymath), reward employees by closing the office for the last two weeks of December. They note Fuzzy Math is a small business with a big client base, so its 13 employees deserve and appreciate the break to spend time with their families.
But that's not all. To kick off the last in-office Friday each year, the Fuzzy Math team gets treated to a pancake breakfast (complete with chocolate chips, strawberries, and all the fixings) and mimosas or bloody marys. The team enjoys the change of pace from the dinner-centric menus that abound this time of year.
3. Do some good.
Medical coding and compliance software company YEI Healthcare (@YEIHealthcare) kicks off the holidays with a turkey potluck the week before Thanksgiving, but that's not the most standout tradition for this Ohio-based business. It spreads cheer around the community by donating to local causes in clients' names.
"Last year, we donated to the Red Cross; this year, it's the animal shelter and an at-risk kids food program," YEI CEO Francesca Hartop (@francescahartop) says.
It's a tradition where everyone wins: YEI helps support community-based nonprofits, and clients feel good about doing business with a company that gives back.
4. Save some celebrating for later.
Matt Gore, CEO of Georgia-based media production company NightGlass Media Group (@NightGlassMedia), notes that giving back is also a cornerstone of the business's holiday traditions. But instead of trying to squeeze in volunteer time when employees already have packed social schedules, NightGlass Media slates its annual charity event for February each year. The team closes up shop early and joins in the annual Feed My Starving Children food-packing event at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.
Gore says the event trumps wrapped presents, if his employees' enthusiasm is any indication. "The weeks leading up to the food-packing event are easily as joy-filled as the weeks leading up to Christmas," he says. "Our team receives so much from being able to give than we could ever have imagined."
What does your business do to celebrate the holidays? Tell us about it on Twitter.