SURVEY SAYS: Workplace Holiday Practices

With Thanksgiving only two weeks away, many of you may be getting into the holiday spirit.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers about holiday practices at their workplace. What holidays are they given? Is there a meal or party? Are gifts exchanged?

Sixty-five percent of responding readers work in a plan sponsor capacity, 14% work as advisers/consultants, 18% work in a TPA/recordkeeper/investment manager capacity, and 2% are attorneys.

When asked what time off their company offers for Thanksgiving, 25.9% said Thanksgiving Day only, 51.7% replied Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after and 1.7% chose “none.” Nearly two percent said they close early the day before Thanksgiving and are off Thanksgiving Day, and 19% indicated they close early the day before Thanksgiving and are off Thanksgiving and the day after.

Thanksgiving meals are hosted by 10.3% of responding readers’ companies.

For Christmas, 1.7% of respondents said their companies offer no time off, 24.1% get Christmas Day off only and 12.1% get Christmas Day and the day after. Nearly 21% are offered time off  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 5.2% get Christmas Eve, Christmas and the day after, and 3.4% of lucky readers are off the whole week of Christmas.  Twenty-four percent indicated their company closes early the day before Christmas and Christmas Day, while 8.6% close early the day before Christmas and are off Christmas and the day after.

More than 27% of respondents’ companies host a meal as a Christmas celebration, 10.3% host a party, and 19% host a meal and a party. Forty-three percent of responding readers indicated their companies do not host a Christmas celebration.

More than 34% said there is a gift exchange among employees at their workplace for the holidays, and 32.8% said their companies give a gift or bonus to employees for the holidays?

In verbatim responses, it seems some company holiday practices have been discontinued; however, there are also several commenters who work for very generous employers. And, in some companies, the gift-giving is to a charity. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “As part of our team building, we take a few hours the day before Thanksgiving to assist the homeless shelter in serving a Thanksgiving dinner and reflect on how truly blessed we are. It is more worthy to give and help the less fortunate than to receive or give a gift that you may never be used.”

A big thank you to all who participated in our survey!



Management gives each employee a $100 bill for Christmas.

We don't officially have a company party but our VP hosts one for our team at his house. Little gifts are given within subteams but nothing big, nor expected.

To clarify question #5, we have a luncheon/party and baking contest but it's no longer called a Christmas party. They call it a "Holiday" party.

We used to have great Xmas parties, with a golf tournament in the morning, followed by an open bar with hors d'oeuvres, then a sit down dinner, dancing to a DJ and then the company put up everyone in the hotel for the night. Now nothing.

Everyone is invited to our President's Holiday Celebration from 3-5 in the afternoon. We are all given a raffle ticket when we enter the room. Five tickets are drawn for prizes at every half hour. Prizes include anything from an extra personal day off with pay, gift certificates to great local restaurants, and gift certificates to Best Buy. Food and (non-alcoholic) beverages abound! This is an awesome place to work!

We're lucky we get two days for each holiday off; management would never do anything else for the rank and file. I have a feeling though that the main corporate office "celebrates" on behalf of all of us.

It is to the point where company does not even want to send out cards due to politically correct not offending anyone over the holiday. Sad!

For Christmas, we have a floating holiday that they usually tack on to Christmas or Independence Day. This year it's Christmas. We still get only 8 holidays total!

I am very happy to be with an employer who is generous with vacation and holiday time off. I have worked for many years and know what it is like to work the day after Thanksgiving or have not been able to take a day off because someone has already requested it. Because of those experiences, I am very grateful for my employer as well as my bosses who have made it possible to work and have a family.

Among ourselves we host a white elephant gift exchange. Externally we adopt a charity and collect purchased gifts for the charity.

We usually get a half day on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and the other half employees use their own time. We always had to use our own time for the day after Thanksgiving but this year it is a holiday thanks to the Union.

any gift exchange or snack day is done among the employees and not company sponsored.

We have a "Secret Santa" tradition that involves each participating employee randomly drawing another employee's name. The original $5 maximum has grown over the years! Individual gifts between employees are not discouraged. The company hosts a catered luncheon the day before Christmas, family invited, with paid early release, plus a formal holiday dinner party with spouses or a date on an evening in December. I love it; no one is forced to join in, and they still get the paid time off.

Verbatim (cont.) 

We do pay our annual employee bonus in December that we used to pay in February based on results of the prior year. 

We have the huge holiday party, with guests and food and music and special rates at the hotel. The Chair gives a talk and the CEO announces any new Managing Directors. 

What's the middle of open enrollment for the welfare plans and the beginning of open enrollment for the DC plans. It sure as heck isn't wrapping paper flying in & out of this office. 

Vary from year to year depending on when the holiday falls. 

Instead of the employees exchanging Christmas gifts, we ask each employee to bring a gift/donation for a local charity which the organization has chosen to support such as a homeless shelter 

We get a turkey at Thanksgiving. We host an employee pot luck luncheon around the Christmas holidays. 

Several years ago, we stopped giving turkeys and started giving the extra day off (this year it is the day after Christmas, to bridge the weekend). 

The company has a holiday party on a Saturday night for all employees and a guest. Each location holds their own luncheon that is held on the day that all of our directors go offsite for their meeting. That's also the day that the remaining staff (at least in my building) hold a Yankee Swap. There may be other non-hosted gift giving among the employees/supervisors. 

We have a non-company sponsored Christmas party after work each year. It consists of grab bag gifts, drinks and appetizers and is a lot more fun than the company sponsored party! 

Time off is specific to departments as we are a health care facility. 

As part of our team building, we take a few hours the day before Thanksgiving to assist the homeless shelter in serving a Thanksgiving dinner and reflect on how truly blessed we are. It is more worthy to give and help the less fortunate than to receive or give a gift that you may never be used. 

We get an email from CEO as they head out for their "two week holiday to enjoy time with the family". They seem oblivious to the fact that the worker bees are working their tails off for those same two weeks to make sure the year end work is done. 


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.