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Project Management Etiquette During the Holiday Season

written by: RobinRaven • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 12/14/2012

The holiday season brings cooler weather, decorations adoring your commute and a cesspool of decisions regarding how certain aspects of the holiday season should be handled in the diverse environment of the modern work space. Get a grasp on proper etiquette for this festive time of year.

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    Decor

    Holidays at the Office A festive office space often helps the environment at work because holiday decorations inevitably perk up even the most bland of work spaces. To address celebrating all the winter holidays and being inclusive, ask for feedback from all workers. If you are afraid of singling someone out who may be the only one celebrating a particular holiday, you may opt for anonymous feedback, passing out an envelope in which everybody can give a suggestion. If you find a strong call for diversity in your decor, add in other choices alongside the Christmas tree.

    Allow individuals to decorate their own cubicle, desk or office in order to further encourage how everybody can join in during the month of giving. Aside from setting certain rules of decency and non-offensive conditions, workers should be given free reign in their celebration decor.

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    Gift Giving

    Giving your superiors expensive gifts is always considered a no-go. While your peers may consider it brown-nosing, your superiors may look at it with veiled contempt. Depending on company policy, some may accept it in order to avoid hurt feelings, but it makes the situation awkward for everybody. Instead, opt for a card. If you feel obliged to give a gift, make it something personal and inexpensive, a little something that caters to their interests.

    When it comes to planning gift giving for those working on a project that you manage, organize a Secret Santa. However, the best way to do this is White Elephant Gift Exchange. How that works is simple. All workers get a gift that must be within a certain price range, usually between $10 to $20. The worker does not know who the gift will ultimately be for so it must be a unisex gift. Some office spaces opt to make the gifts funny, but most people are usually satisfied with genuine presents. All co-workers then bring the gifts to work, and they are exchanged anonymously or through the White Elephant Gift Exchange. In this, everyone takes turn picking a gift. The first person picks any present. The next person can choose any present that's already been chosen or a new one from the pile. This creates a fun, no-pressure gift environment.

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    Holiday Party

    When it comes to the holiday party, ordering a simple batch of pepperoni pizzas used to work for everybody. However, that will never fly if you want to be considerate in the modern work place. Many people are vegetarians; some are vegans. Some people are on special diets, and others have allergies. In order to be considerate and still throw a fun Christmas shin dig, order lots of catering options. It's best to err on the side of inclusiveness. While non-vegeterians can easily enjoy vegetarian fare (especially when it's junk food and party items), vegetarians cannot partake of meat dishes. That's an important thing to consider while catering. The same is true for pre-dominant allergies, such as items containing nuts.

    It's typically an individual manager's call regarding whether to allow alcohol at a company party. If this is allowed, it's not only proper etiquette, but a responsibility, to enforce no drinking and driving. Have a cab number on hand and force all inebriated individuals to take a cab.

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