During an already-busy holiday season, throwing your staff a great holiday party might not seem worth the trouble. After all, finding a night that works for everyone can be difficult and catering an event for a large staff can be costly. That being said, the holiday season in the service industry is stressful. Showing your employees how much you appreciate them can give them the morale boost they need to continue working hard throughout the season.

If you’ve decided to pull the trigger and throw your party, hoorah! Time to pull together the party plan. Be sure to keep things simple, so as not to add to-do’s in your busy holiday season as well.

First, we’ll think about food. Having your party catered can be a great way to alleviate the burden of hosting the party and make your staff feel extra appreciated. Frequently you can find low cost catering options with local grocery stores, ranging from sandwiches to heavy hors d’oeuvres. If catering isn’t an option, a pot luck can be a great alternative. Potlucks gives staff members an opportunity to share a dish that is special to them during the holidays. Be sure to make a sign up list for everyone to keep track of who’s bringing what so the menu is comprehensive.

Next, we’ll need to entertain during the party. Every team is different, so your entertainment will depend on how your team works together. If your staff is already well acquainted and works well with one another, your holiday party won’t need a structured agenda. If your team is still getting to know each other or experiences conflict from time to time, having a few teambuilding game ideas scheduled could be a fun way to break the ice. Regardless of the team, a White Elephant Gift Exchange is always a fun way to get everyone involved at a holiday party.

Finally, be sure to take the time to let your team know that their efforts are recognized and appreciated. The holidays are a time to show the people around you you’re grateful for them, and staff is no exception. Whether or not your restaurant decides to host a staff party, finding other small ways to show your employees how much you appreciate them can go a long way. Keep in mind that a grand gesture or expensive gift isn’t always necessary: sometimes the best gift you can give are kind words and good company.

Happy Holidays!