Christmas parties and end of year celebrations: is it all worthwhile or just another added cost?

19 December 2017 Alex McDonald

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As the end of year is approach and Christmas party season begins, organisations begin to question the need to have a Christmas party as the costs of these parties can be excessive. This is particularly relevant this year as aged care organisations nationally have been under increased financial pressure, and with many mergers taking place. However, I would argue this is the best time for Christmas parties to occur!


Christmas parties foster a team approach and also provide a tangible ‘thank you’ message to your employees for the past 12 months. They hold great importance to staff and are often the only time that staff see anyone from corporate attend their workplace. They are also an important signpost for frontline staff to know that ‘corporate’ recognises their achievements and thanks them for their services. They should also be accompanied by a Christmas card from the CEO and executive team, which may or may not come with a small present to say thank you (depending on the budget).  While this may seem trivial, the importance of the party, cards and presents to staff are critical to reaffirm their commitment to you in the future. This is even more important in organisations who have undergone significant transformational change activities this year as it provides a simple, yet effective, way to connect your workforce as one new workforce and reinforce their value to your organisation as they move into the New Year.


Literature around the importance of tangible rewards and staff performance has found direct positive correlations, which means that performance and productivity improves when staff are provided with a tangible reward for their performance (Andersen,Boye, Laursen, 2017; Kelly, Presslee, Webb, 2017). While Christmas cards and gifts may be a direct cost to an organisation, the indirect and direct benefits that follow these acts far outweigh the costs. This is particularly important to consider as funding tightens within the sector, yet the demands on the workforce increase significantly. In other words, providing small rewards to employees who we ask to do more work under tougher conditions, is important to maintaining their motivation and commitment. Thus, while the provision of both Christmas parties and Christmas cards may seem trivial to some, the value that employees place on these can be significant and should always be considered when reviewing workplace retention activities. 



Andersen, L. B., Boye, S., & Laursen, R. (2017). Building Support? the Importance of Verbal Rewards for Employee Perceptions of Governance Initiatives. International Public Management Journal, (just-accepted).


Kelly, K., Presslee, A., & Webb, R. A. (2017). The Effects of Tangible Rewards Versus Cash Rewards in Consecutive Sales Tournaments: A Field Experiment. The Accounting Review.