by Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP | December 11, 2019

 During the holiday season, it is easy to get overwhelmed with finding and giving the perfect gifts for work colleagues. Instead of focusing on the commercial aspects of gifting, consider ways of giving that offer more positive benefits to everyone around you. The following tips will help you create more positive connections this holiday season.


1.  Hit the boards. Give a classic board game to adults or children with an accompanying certificate promising an amount of time you'll give to play the game with them.

2.  Find a foundation. Find a hospital, healthcare facility or worthy charitable foundation and learn what their foundation is doing. Often, they will thank donors with a unique gift item or memento when you contribute monies in someone's name.

3.  Create a carol choir. Round up groups of employees who, with a little noon-hour practice, can brighten the season by carrolling at homes of  former employees, residents of retirement or long-term care facilities or childrens' wards at local hospitals.

4.  Mail a card. Different charities create exceptionally well-designed and commissioned artwork to make holiday greeting cards. Purchase these cards, write personal notes and brighten everyone's mailbox.

5.  Food-for-thought giving. Create a food drive in the front lobby using plastic bins with food category labels. Work with your local schools to perhaps identify needy families or find out specific food items needed by your nearby foodbank.

6.  Organize a cookie exchange. Initiate a cookie exchange of festive sweets along with recipes for creating them. Provide instructions on how to freeze and pack them up the right way in containers or resealable bags.

7.  Volunteer time. Organize teams of employees to help out in your community with activities like gift-wrapping at a mall or taking shifts at local soup kitchens.

8.  Bake pies. Sign up staff to bake seasonal holiday pies. Invite a local chef to demonstrate how to decorate the pie toppings and have edible paints available to give your pies that extra-special touch.

9.  Encourage acts of kindness. Invite employees to perform random acts of kindness each day leading up to the holidays. Then organize a get-together where participants share their kindness experiences.

10.  Get personal. Create personal-interest profiles for the people on your gift list to ensure you pick unique gifts that are meaningful and special to them.

Roy Saunderson is the author of Practicing Recognition: How to give meaningful recognition to people every day. Saunderson is the chief learning officer at Rideau Recognition Solutions where he provides consulting, learning and thought-leadership services focused on helping leaders and managers give real recognition the right way. He can be reached at [email protected], followed on Twitter @RoySaunderson and through his blog.