Over the Halloween weekend, Instagram was flooded with people already decorating for the Holidays. They threw away their Pumpkins, decked the halls in their plaid pajamas and sipped hot cocoa out of their “Merry and Bright” mugs. Influencers posted stories and shared that because of COVID-19 there are no rules. Decorating for the Holidays brings them joy, so they decided to do it even earlier this year.
Now, I am no Grinch and absolutely love the Holiday Season (Before Netflix and streaming, I would sit down with a calendar to make sure I was able to watch each 25-Days-of-Christmas movie at least once). However, I am hopeful that we don’t fast-forward through the important season that is upon us now.
The Season of Gratitude...
With Thanksgiving a few short weeks away, it is an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on the teams around us...especially this year...
Throughout COVID, members of your team have likely put in extra hours. They have likely been playing multiple roles of parent, teacher and employee. Some may have lost loved ones due to COVID-19, and this may be their first big Holiday without them.
Don’t rush ahead to the Holiday celebrations. Take a moment to pause and share in this Season of Gratitude with your staff.
Now, I know many of us are still behind screens. Office potlucks and sharing words of gratitude around a conference table may be on pause this year. Don't worry, there are still plenty of ways to share in the season virtually. To get you started, I have put together four festive ways to share in the Season of Gratitude with your remote staff (In order from Free to $$$).
Free: Virtual Potluck
One of my favorite parts of office Thanksgiving celebrations were tasting different foods and learning about the different traditions that my team members had with their families. Each year, I would pack up my two Pyrex with cornbread casserole, load them into my travel bag and commute an hour and 45 minutes on the bus and subway. When lunch time came, we’d huddle around the two microwaves and warm our dishes. The fragrance from our dishes blended together and made the hallways smell and feel like “home.”
While we can’t taste and smell through the screen, we can still share.
Ask each team member to send you their favorite recipe or tradition. Once everything is collected, combine the PDFs to create a virtual “booklet” that can be shared with the team.
You can even encourage staff members to participate in a recipe swap. They can pair up and trade recipes and add something new to their Thanksgiving table.
Budget Friendly: Send a Hand Written 'Thank You'
In a world where we are flooded by emails, Snail Mail is an unexpected treat. I don’t know about you, but I am always pleasantly surprised when I find something other than advertisements and bills in my mail pile. Yes, you can always send a “Thank You” email, but there is something special about a handwritten note. Harvard Business Review states:
Handwritten notes are unusual. They take minutes (or hours) to draft, each word carefully chosen with no “undo” or “autocorrect” to fall back on. Drafting one involves selecting stationery, paying for stamps, and visiting a mailbox. They indicate investment, and that very costliness indicates value...Handwritten notes have permanence. We don’t print emails and display them on our desks, refrigerators, and mantles the way we do with letters and notes from friends. The physical notes are more memorable.
In the Austin area?
These are two of my favorite places to find meaningful, and more personal, card selections:
Have a meal sent to each of your team members and take a collective break together. Gather around your Zoom “table,” share sentiments of gratitude with your team, and allow them to share their gratitude with each other. According to Forbes:
The data suggested that there was a correlation between whether employees ate together and their effectiveness as a team, with those who ate together most often, the most effective.
In the Austin area?
A Feast Fit for a Team
Easy Tiger is delivering a Chef Prepared Turkey Feast, Grazing Platters, Pies, and 'Fixins' for leftovers from November 21st to November 29th
Staying Healthy for the Holidays
Lucky Lime can still ensure your whole team feels connected, healthy and energized with their single serve meals. Make it a one time gathering, or they can customize a meal plan that works for your company. They'll create, cook and deliver weekly meals to each address.
$$$: Shared Activity
If your budget allows, gather your team together for a shared activity. Many small businesses have shifted their in-person workshops to DIY kits. Boxes of supplies needed for the activities are delivered to each door step. You can have the team do the activity individually, and share about it over Zoom, or you can complete the tasks step-by-step together. Other companies have transitioned their workshops to virtual experiences.
In the Austin area?:
Here are some of my favorite DIY Workshop Kits and Virtual Workshops:
DIY Workshop Kits:
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop: Classes focused around cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie (a few of my favorite things). An event perfect for Virtual Team Building, Holiday Parties, or Just Seeing Friends. Group sizes from 12-150. Hosted by 1-2 cheese educators/teachers
Cathedral ATX: 2-hour classes designed for those that want to get crafty for a couple
of hours, try or practice a skill, and walk away with a finished piece of art! All workshops are led by local female artists & include a kit with supplies needed for the class.
Whether it’s sending a personal note, sharing recipes and traditions, or an activity, don’t let this season pass you by without taking time to reflect and share your gratitude.
(I am thankful and appreciate you for taking the time to read through this post. If you have any questions, or need further recommendations, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
With gratitude :),