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Veterinarian Technician December 2009 (Vol 30, No 12)

Making Happy Holidays Happen

by Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

    It's the holiday season—a time to be thankful and celebrate together. People typically gather with family members, but it is also nice to celebrate with your "practice family." This can be a perfect time for coworkers to express thanks and celebrate the season with fun activities.

    The Tree of Thanks

    During the holiday season, it is important to take some time to consider what you are thankful for, but it can be uplifting to know what others are thankful for as well. For the holidays, create a "Tree of Thanks" in the practice. The tree trunk can be made from construction paper and posted in an employee-only area, such as a lounge or break room. Provide different-colored construction paper "leaves" and pens and ask team members to write something they are thankful for. You can shift the focus to the practice by requesting that team members write something work-related, such as a policy, piece of equipment, person, or patient. After everyone has posted their "leaf," the team can take some time to see why everyone is thankful.

    Secret Santa Stockings

    As children, many of us enjoyed the surprises that Santa brought on his sleigh. As adults, much of that wonderment may have dissipated, but there are still ways to keep the holiday spirit alive. Secret Santa stockings are one way to share the joy with coworkers. Because participating will cost money, the event should be voluntary. First, count the participants and purchase a stocking for each one. Then, attach a nametag or write the name of the person on the stocking. Have everyone draw a name from a hat—they will then have to buy a present(s) for the person whose name they drew out of the hat. To help in the gift buying process, have each participant complete a simple questionnaire about his or her favorite things, such as color, sports team, candy, candle scents, type of socks, etc. and give the list to the person's secret Santa. Each secret Santa begins filling their person's stocking, and at a designated time everyone gets to open their stocking. The secret Santa's name can be revealed in person or written on a piece of paper and placed in the stocking. This is a fun, engaging way for the team to get to know each other better and enjoy a little bit of holiday spirit!

    Round-Robin Fun

    Giving a gift can be just as fun as receiving one, and the Round Robin is a great way to enjoy both with your teammates. First, participants should determine the monetary limit for gifts. Then, each person who participates needs to buy a gender-neutral gift, wrap it, and bring it to work. During the holiday party, participating team members put the presents in a pile and each person draws a number. The number drawn will indicate the order of gift selection. The first person will pick a gift and open it. The next person in line can either select a wrapped present or choose to take an unwrapped gift from a coworker who has already taken his or her turn. If a person has his or her unwrapped gift taken, he or she gets to select another gift to unwrap. This continues until all the numbers are used.

    For added fun, the practice can secretly buy one expensive gift, such as a camera, MP3 player, or gift certificate, and plant it in the pile. If this happens, change the rules so an item can only be stolen three times. Just make sure everyone plays fair and goes home happy!

    Have a Happy Holiday Season!

    NEXT: Management Matters — Follow the Leader: Are They Behind You?


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