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Favorite Five: Office Holiday Traditions

The weather is getting colder and Christmas songs are playing on the radio, but the ongoing pandemic is keeping most of Boston homebound this December. As we enter the holiday season, our celebrations are going to look a bit different. While we won’t be lighting the tree and menorah in our offices this year, that doesn’t mean we have to do away with the holiday spirit. Below are five festive ways that our firms typically celebrate the holidays in the office, as well as some unique ways we’ll be celebrating this unconventional holiday season!

1. Secret Santa/Yankee Swap: Whether your office enjoys the personal touch of the “Secret Santa” or the chaotic and competitive atmosphere of the Yankee Swap, it’s always entertaining to watch your coworkers unwrap their gifts – and receive your own! Will it be a thoughtful, personalized present? The gag gift that shows up in the swap every year? Or the ever-present bottle of wine? And who will be the coworker that forgets wrapping paper and uses old construction drawings to wrap their present?

2. Festive Food: Isn’t the best part of any holiday the food? Well, the December holidays take the cake (no pun intended). Just when you thought you’d seen the end of the long line of cookies, candy, and other sweet treats, you return to the office after New Year’s Day to find that a handful of coworkers, still drowning in snowman-shaped sugar cookies, have brought their leftover goodies into the office to share in the breakroom. That New Year’s resolution to cut down on sugar will have to wait! This year, multiple firms are compiling holiday cookbooks so that they can still indulge in their favorite holiday meals and desserts, as well as learn some new recipes. GPI is also holding a “ginger-bridge” building contest – a perfect engineering-focused twist on a holiday classic.

3. Holiday Party: Office parties are a welcome break from the day to day routine – especially holiday parties. They have all the fun of a normal party, but with the added bonus of upcoming vacation days and further celebrations with family and friends. At NV5, our three Massachusetts offices come together once a year for our holiday party, where awards are presented to those who did exceptional work that year. This year, many offices will be bringing the holiday spirit to Zoom or Microsoft Teams for virtual gatherings. While these “parties” may not be quite as exciting, the silver lining is being able to swap your dress shoes for slippers!

4. Ugly Sweater Contests: The undisputed office fashion event of the year. Who can rock the most outlandish holiday ensemble? The looks have evolved over the years – from something you may have seen your grandmother wearing when you were a kid to sweaters that light up, hold your beer bottle, or even play a song! Check out some holiday fashions past from VHB and NV5!

VHB xmas     NV5 xmas

5. Charitable Donations: There are so many ways to give back to the community around the holidays. VHB works charitable giving into their holiday celebrations by donating their Ugly Sweater Contest proceeds every year.  GPI usually has a giving tree in their office – paper ornaments list the needs of families, and employees use them to make donations. If you’re missing your office’s usual toy donation box this season, check out the Toys for Tots virtual donation box that allows everyone to safely donate. Nitsch Engineering will be making their donations virtually this year – click this link if you’d like to join them!

Nitsch toys for totsThanks to my Communications Committee teammates for sharing their firm’s holiday celebrations:

Sabrina Bauer, VHB

Virginia Steigerwald, Nitsch Engineering

Kristie Norris, GPI


Jenn Robertson is a Marketing Coordinator at Sasaki, member of the SMPS Boston Communications Committee, and the SMPS Boston Blog Manager.

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