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It's Christmas!! Holiday Activities for Your Organization

let's party at the office!In addition to Take Your Child To Work Day in April, the holidays season provides a great reason to invite family to your office or company workplace.

The door is swung wide, and the mood is light and merry as companies and offices share the joy of the season.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, plan something special for your organization this holiday season besides, or in addition to, exchanging gifts.

Here are a several ideas for adults and their children:

Gift Exchange
Drawing names for a gift exchange is a traditional activity at Christmas. Add to the fun by making it a Secret Santa gift exchange. Keep the names secret and write only the recipient’s name on the tag, either with or without a description of the gift giver. Each person will have to figure out who brought the gift before they can open it. Another fun activity is to write a description of the gift on the card and have the recipient guess what is inside before opening the gift.

For children, play Musical Presents. Have each child bring a generic gift that they would like for themselves; for example, a boy brings a gift for a boy, and a girl brings a gift for a girl. Gather in circles of all boys and all girls and play Christmas music while the presents go around the circles. When the music stops, everyone opens the present they are holding.

Instead of exchanging gifts of any type, specify a specific kind of gift for an ornament party, a candle party, or a book party. Children particularly enjoy ornaments and books.

Cookie Exchange
office christmas cookie exchangeHost a cookie exchange. Ask everyone to bring their favorite homemade cookies, made 2-3 days in advance of the exchange; the number of cookies depends on the number of participants, but generally about 2-3 dozen per person. Either specify no chocolate chip cookies or assign each person a different type of cookie to bake, so you won't have everyone making the same kind.

In addition, everyone needs to make copies of their recipes, or send you the recipe in advance so you can create a little booklet of recipes for each guest.

During the exchange, everyone shares a story about their cookies, such as the origin of the recipe or a funny memory of baking them. As a result, guests leave the cookie exchange with dozens of different cookies to start the holiday season and nearly as many warm and funny stories!

Include the kids on the fun! Get the children or spouses to serve as taste testers and judges, and offer prizes for the most delicious, most beautiful and most unusual cookie.

also see -> Company Holiday Party Ideas | Decorating the Office for Christmas

Decorate Cookies
Kids love to decorate and eat Christmas cookies! Make 10 various Christmas shape sugar cookies or gingerbread men per child so there will be plenty to eat and take home. Set out containers of white frosting and various decorations for the cookies, such as colored sprinkles, mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips, M&Ms, jelly beans, and raisins. You can provide Popsicle sticks to spread the frosting. Each child will go home with a box of decorated cookies, if they don't eat them all!

For an alternative, make small gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, using icing to glue them together. Pre-assemble them for the kids to decorate. Ask the parents to bring something edible with them to use to decorate the houses, and you will have quite an assortment of decorations to use for decorating your gingerbread houses.

Christmas Potluck Dinner
Share an office potluck Christmas dinner during the last date before the holiday break and have everyone bring a covered dish. To prevent too many green bean casseroles, plan in advance what each person will bring. Chip in together on the cost of the meat, whether ham or turkey or some other choice. Use holiday paper plates, napkins and cups to make the meal festive.

office santaCaroling
Go Christmas caroling. Pick several neighbors' homes in advance, or a nursing home, homeless shelter or hospital ward. Prepare a sheet of paper with the lyrics to some favorite Christmas carols and make copies for everyone; if done in advance, everyone will have a chance to practice. Consider bringing goodies or small gifts to distribute after singing. Or, bring decorations made by the children and help decorate the Christmas tree.

Special Guest - SANTA!
Invite Santa or Mrs. Claus to read Twas the Night Before Christmas or other holiday stories to the children in your organization. The local librarian may be willing to dress up as Mrs. Claus. To make it even more fun for the children, ask them to bring a letter for Mrs. Claus to take home to Santa.

Hire someone or ask a friend to dress as Santa Claus. Give each child an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Parents can take pictures of their child with Santa, which is much less stressful than standing in line at the mall. Santa can end the visit by passing out little toys or gifts previously bought by the parents.

Christmas Games

candy cane
A variation on hot potato:
Pass the Candy Cane

Play games with the children.

Pin the Nose on Frosty
and Pin the Nose on the Reindeer are two variations of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Spin off other classic party games like Pass the Candy Cane which is played like hot potato, except the children pass a large candy cane until the music stops. The person with the candy cane at the end of the game gets to keep it.

Both children and adults would enjoy playing charades, Christmas trivia games, or Pictionary using the names of Christmas carols or Christmas movies.

Organize a scavenger hunt. Group participants into pairs or trios and have them find items in the house, office complex or in the neighborhood, weather permitting. Include items such as a red bow, candle, Christmas cookie, religious Christmas card, mistletoe, broken ornament, and burned-out tree light. Or include items in various holiday colors, such as red, green, gold, silver and white.

Using some of these ideas as a springboard, you may come up with other ideas on your own. Or combine several for a truly memorable holiday party!

About the Author...
Carren W. Joye is the author of A Stay-at-Home Mom's Complete Guide to Playgroups (ISBN 0-595-14684-8; $13.95)

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