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Practice Management Blog

Ideas for Celebrating the Holiday Season in Your Practice Whilst Under Restrictions

COVID has changed the business landscape dramatically, and even the year-end party is now under threat. You have already had to make so many changes to the way that you do business that you might be tempted to can the idea of year-end celebrations entirely.

But fear not, with a little bit of creativity, you can still host a memorable end-of-year event and finish what has been a challenging year on a high note.

You’ve got this!

So, with the safety of your staff as your top priority, along with the need to adhere to COVID regulations, here are a few ideas that will put the Merry back into Merry Christmas:

Plan a different kind of end-of-year party

There are different regulations (and they seem to change almost daily), so organising an in-person end-of-year party is a bit more complicated compared to previous years. Here are some creative ideas for both in-person and socially distanced celebrations.

An outdoor venue with single-serve food

If you are hosting an in-person event, there are a few logistical things to work through, and it’s best to err on the side of caution. In particular, to keep your team safe, you can consider:

Ensuring food and drink options are single-serve

For catering, there can be no shared utensils, and communal food and beverage service areas are a no-go (so no buffet this year, unfortunately!)

Planning an outdoor party

Venue capacities are limited, and the chance of spreading COVID increases in a closed room anyway. This makes hosting a physical event outdoors a better option, but it does mean that weather may play a role so you’ll need to have a back-up. There are many outdoor venues to choose from, and options range from luxury venues to a picnic in the park, a beach barbeque, or even a winery.

An online meetup with a twist

If you’re thinking of hosting an online end-of-year party, it’s essential to plan the event carefully to ensure that everyone is engaged and excited. The last thing you want is for your team to feel like they have to sit through another Zoom meeting.

Ideas to make an online party fun include:

  • A murder mystery evening organised by an outside company.
  • Cocktail making or wine tasting hosted by an expert.
  • A cupcake decorating to gingerbread house-making competition, with the ingredients delivered to each team member.
  • Making a meal together, but apart. Catering companies (like these in Australia, New Zealand and the UK) are offering packaged kits for people to create beautiful meals in the comfort of their own homes.

Show gratitude to your referrers

Now, more than ever, it’s important to acknowledge and thank the people that have helped keep your practice afloat. A quick search online will give you a list of companies that deliver bespoke gifts (and follow COVID-safety guidelines). We’re not talking about a generic bunch of flowers here; these gifts can be personalised and range from vouchers to goodie bags that reflect their individual tastes and preferences.

Make a list of your top referrers (you can use Power Diary to pull a report), then go through each person on the list to come up with a thoughtful gift. And, if you’re all out of ideas, remember that gift delivery companies specialise in offering personalised selections and recommendations based on your requirements.

Decorate!

There’s nothing that lifts the mood quite like the holiday season, so get cracking with Christmas decorations. You don’t need to spend a lot – a few metres of tinsel and a handful of shiny baubles will go a long way.

Three things to keep in mind

Keep celebrations appropriate

You know better than most what mood your employees are in. For many, there is a need for release, but a big party might not be the best forum. Plus, it adds in all the social distancing dynamics that become more difficult to manage after a few drinks.

On the other side of the spectrum, a lot of people may be feeling overwhelmed, and the thought of another to-do in the diary might be too much. However, it’s also important for your team to feel connected – for many, COVID has been a time of missing those personal connections.

These conflicting moods and emotions make planning more difficult so consider asking your employees how you could best support them. And, if you find out that they really don’t want a party, respect that. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year.

A better option might be to give your staff a half-day off that they can take before schools close and give them a massage voucher (depending on whether this is available in your area at the moment) so they can relax and enjoy some personal time.

If you’re on a small budget, get creative

It’s been a financially tight year for healthcare practices, so it’s understandable if you need to cut back on what you would normally spend. But a few small, individualised touches can help create a relaxed mood and show that you care. This could be something as simple as Secret Santa notes or small gifts where your team can acknowledge and celebrate one another. If you haven’t played Secret Santa before, here are some fun tips.

Don’t give in to the temptation to cancel

You’re not Scrooge, there’s no need to cancel Christmas. There has been precious little to celebrate on a professional front for many healthcare practices, and, for many of your staff, hitting the end of the year may be an overwhelming, stressful time.

Your team has been through a lot, and it’s important to acknowledge their commitment and the sacrifices everyone has had to make. But if hosting a party doesn’t feel right, take the money that you would have spent and use it to buy your staff something that they’d enjoy more.


So much has changed in a year. This time last year we were writing about how to prepare your health clinic for the holiday season – and while much holds true for 2020, there’s also a lot that’s different.

The most important thing to do is work out how you can end the year on a high. Whether that means massage vouchers for your team, a socially-distanced team building event, or a half-day off work, your employees more than deserve it.


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