The holidays are exciting but expensive for small businesses, whether you plan to throw a holiday party or give out the traditional 13th month’s pay. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts to avoid disaster and make the holidays enjoyable for everyone.


Throw your holiday parties in the office, preferably a lunch that won’t cut into employees’ personal time. You could also choose to give them the rest of the day off afterwards as a special surprise.

Add a little extra to holiday bonuses to compensate for any taxes that may be removed.

Give employees and/or coworkers practical gifts, not something extravagantly useless.

Decorate the office! It’s great for morale and makes the office a fun place to work.

Look for creative ways to reward employees, especially if you can’t afford big cash bonuses. Consider giving better job titles, a small raise, or even a parking spot.

Think about the long run when giving holiday bonuses. If employees receive large bonuses one year, and small ones the next, it may lower morale. Implement a sustainable holiday giving structure that won’t fluctuate greatly from year to year.


Make holiday party attendance mandatory. A party is a party, and being present is not part of your employees’ job description.

Make your parties or bonuses exclusive. Treat employees equally, and don’t exclude anyone.

Give tiny amounts of cash. If you only have a small budget for your holiday bonuses, spend that money on thoughtful gifts, instead of making employees feel like they are worth a minuscule amount.

Serve alcohol at your parties, unless your company is directly involved in the alcoholic beverages industry. Professional relationships are at risk when one or both parties have too much to drink with each other.

Assume that holiday bonuses are rewards. They are gifts, not something employees earn. This means that employees shouldn’t feel entitled to them, and you should make it clear that a holiday gift is not indicative of performance.

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