Holiday Rituals

Posted by on Dec 1, 2007 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2007

As in your personal life, office families have holiday rituals too. Many are heartwarming and gratifying. Others have seen their day. Don’t be afraid to take a close look at your office rituals before repeating them this holiday season to make sure they’re really meeting your employee’s needs.

  • What is the Purpose of the Ritual?

Take a good look at why you’re continuing your office ritual. What is the purpose of having the gift grab bag or pot-luck dinner? Because you want your staff to get presents? Because you want them to have an opportunity to socialize with one another and to get to meet each others’ mates in a more fun situation? It’s important to re-examine the goal of your ritual to make sure it still accomplishes what you intended when it was first put in place.

  • Who Cares About It?

Once you succeed in confirming the purpose of the ritual, don’t stop there because it doesn’t matter much if no one cares about this ritual. You might feel it’s important for your staff to exchange gifts, but if they don’t really want to bother doing this then there isn’t much point to it. People will go through the motions and endure this practice but their hearts won’t be in it and it may engender resentment on top of that. Surely, this isn’t what you intend. With soaring fuel prices and housing costs currently, many more of your employees may feel this way this year simply because they’re more strapped for cash than usual. Best way to find out is to ask.

  • Revamp the Ritual

If you determine that the purpose or significance of your office ritual is in question, quickly mobilize a committee and redo it. Many of your current managers and staff may not have been onboard when the ritual was put in place and may jump for joy that they have an opportunity to do something else instead. But be prepared for the fact that some of the burden may fall on you. Often the unspoken resentment about these holiday rituals is the fact that the company isn’t providing very much — instead putting the financial burden on the employees themselves. You may find that you are asked to provide a simple lunch instead of hosting that evening pot luck social event. Or your planning committee may recommend that the company purchase small token gifts that are distributed to everyone. Staff often expect holiday office activities to be a time that they will be recognized and acknowledged for their hard work and accomplishments. If yours does not include a healthy dose of this component, it is likely being “tolerated” but not truly enjoyed.

Holiday rituals should be a time of fun and merriment for your staff and should strengthen the sense of company family spirit. Many fail to do this because they no longer meet the needs of the current staff, so take time to find out what matters to your people and revamp the ritual if it is not being looked forward to as an uplifting, gratifying, fun event.

About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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