Categories for Holidays

Should I Give Gifts to My Colleagues This Holiday Season?

Tips for Navigating Holiday Gift-Giving It’s the time of year when many of us are starting to think: “I’d like to get my colleagues (or boss) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m just trying to ‘look good.’ But I don’t want to give them some trinket that will come across as schmaltzy. What should I get them… if anything?” I’m going to give you some advice to consider, some of which may surprise you. Unfortunately, in most work settings, the way gifts are given (as well as what is given and when they are given) reinforce our negative... Continue reading...

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November 29, 2021 9:00 am
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Your Thanksgiving Celebrations Poll Results

Holiday Football, the 5-Second Rule, and the Popularity of Pumpkin Anything We recently asked you to share about your Thanksgiving celebrations and experiences and over 200 of you responded! Our staff enjoyed reading about your traditions and dishes – from the familiar to the ‘new to us.’ Your comments ranged from the common frustrations surrounding who hosts, what is served and dealing with annoying relatives to the anticipation of spending time with college-aged children who will return home, finally getting to meet new family members born during quarantine, games, laughter and spending time together in person. Eighty-three people answered our... Continue reading...

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November 22, 2021 6:13 pm
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Heads or Tail (Feathers)? Successes and Failures – Tell Us About Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

Recently, I wrote about humor in the workplace and thought it would be good to put some of the principles in action. And Thanksgiving seemed like a good time to ask about and share some successes and “fails” people have experienced over the years. While the Thanksgiving holiday and giving gratitude at work are important, I personally have become a little worn down by all of the reminders to “be sure and tell your colleagues you are thankful for them.” (If you do want something in that vein, read this past entry from our blog.) Let’s agree that is a... Continue reading...

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November 8, 2021 9:00 am
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The Most Important (Countercultural) Steps for Making 2021 a Success

Individuals who do well in life commonly utilize four key skills to help their lives move forward in a healthy direction. That is, people who achieve healthy personal goals tend to incorporate the same tools to assist them in moving toward their aspirations.  Unfortunately, some of these tools are not valued or embraced in our culture, which makes consistently utilizing them more difficult. Yes, believe it or not, we need to acknowledge that some of the beliefs and values of the majority Western culture are actually not helpful to us in living our lives well. Four Important (but often Countercultural)... Continue reading...

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January 4, 2021 9:00 am
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The Grinch Who Hated Appreciation at Work

This year’s holiday season will be different in many ways. But we thought you might enjoy a look back at what employees love and hate about celebrating the holidays in the workplace. There’s an even a link in the post sharing readers’ stories of their best and worst memories.

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December 14, 2020 9:00 am
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How To Give Thoughtful Employee Gifts This Holiday Season

One of the more anxiety-inducing activities around the holiday season is trying to determine if you should give a gift to those with whom you work—colleagues, supervisors, managers, and direct reports. If you do decide that you want to give an employee gift, the practical issue becomes: “What should I give them?”  While some may think giving employees’ gifts isn’t valued in the workplace, many find these small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Businesses spend billions of dollars on recognition rewards every year in hopes of creating a better employee experience and even increasing their bottom line, but... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2020 9:00 am
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Thinking Ahead: Ways to Avoid a Thanksgiving “Downer”

Thanksgiving is coming up next week and the holiday has been in the news due to the impact the COVID-19 virus is having on our lives. I will leave the practical suggestions on how to make a holiday gathering safe to the medical experts (for those of you who choose to get together with family and friends). I want to present some thoughts and suggestions that you should consider before planning your holiday celebration — in hopes of helping you think clearly about the options you are considering and giving you ways to avoid experiencing a depressing Thanksgiving Day. First,... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2020 9:00 am
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Reflections: What Is the United States of America?

As a country, we are in the midst of a number of events which have upset our (until recently) normal, daily life activities. This unsettledness has created the opportunity to rethink “who we are” as a country – and who we want to become. I’m not the most reflective person, but I have been thinking about the United States – our history (good and bad), our current status, what makes us the country we have become, and how we are similar to and different from other countries (either current, or those in the past.) What is a Country? Countries are... Continue reading...

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June 29, 2020 8:52 am
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Memorial Day in the Time of COVID-19

A typical Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies This year has already brought substantial changes in our daily lives and this weekend will be no exception. Sporting events and parades are cancelled. BBQs and travel, if they happen at all, will look markedly different. I usually take time over the Memorial Day weekend to gather with my family and... Continue reading...

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May 22, 2020 8:27 am
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Setting Goals for the New Year? Consider Finishing Some of Last Year’s Instead

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 30, 2019 10:06 am
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Happy Thanksgiving from Appreciation at Work

Dr. Paul White and the staff at Appreciation at Work would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. As we draw nearer the holiday this year, we wanted to share an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. ********** “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to... Continue reading...

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November 25, 2019 9:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work This Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 18, 2019 9:00 am
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Making Your Vacation Work for You: The 4 R’s

Labor Day is often seen as the unofficial end of summer, a last chance to spend time with family and friends before school shifts into full gear and autumn sweeps in. While the three-day weekend doesn’t afford as much time as a full summer vacation, it can still provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally. Getting away from your home and your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary to rejuvenate and re-energize. The Four R’s Rest. Try to schedule your vacation activities in a way that allows... Continue reading...

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August 26, 2019 8:55 am
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Revisiting the Meaning of Vacation

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and what it has come to mean in our culture. Vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities. We get a different perspective on life when we get away from our daily routines. Fortunately, the growing popularity of the stay-cation has allowed even those in a tight financial situation to enjoy the benefits of ‘getting away.’ Vacation implies that you aren’t working. You are taking a vacation from work. At times, I... Continue reading...

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July 22, 2019 9:00 am
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Reflections on the Fourth of July: Our Freedoms and Rights

I love the 4th of July holiday largely because we have a legacy of wonderful family get togethers that are a lot of fun (and we have done so for several years, which evoke a large number of fond memories for me). And our family celebrations have involved several traditions that I enjoy: being outside playing games, shooting fireworks, barbecuing with great grilled meat, swimming and boating, and watching a large firework show. So, almost always, the Fourth is a fun time. Celebrating the anniversary of our country’s Independence Day is also a great time to reflect on the numerous freedoms... Continue reading...

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July 1, 2019 9:00 am
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Memorial Day: What Are We Remembering and Why?

Memorial Day in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies For me, especially when getting together with children, teenagers & young adults, I start to wonder — what does Memorial Day mean to them? In some ways, maybe it doesn’t matter — “it is what it is” and it is their life. But, in other ways, I believe gathering together is important — for if we are not... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2019 10:23 am
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How to Avoid Holiday Burnout: Tips for Managing Stress

“The holidays.”  Those two words are packed with memories, fleeting media images and mixed emotional reactions.  The Hannukah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season has begun, and if you are like me, with them comes a rapid succession of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, and a sense of tiredness (and I haven’t even done anything yet). Family gatherings, shopping, managing our finances, holiday parties and concerts to attend, traveling, and so forth — the Christmas season and New Year’s tend to create more stress for us. Practical advice and some you (probably) don’t usually hear. Stress is essentially the experience of having more demands... Continue reading...

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December 17, 2018 9:00 am
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To Give or Not to Give? That Is the Question

Many of us are (belatedly) starting to think:           “I’d like to get my boss (or colleague) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m trying to gain my boss’ favor.  But I don’t want just to give her some token ‘something’ that will look schmaltzy.           What could I get her?” I’m going to give you some things to think about, some of which may surprise you. First, consider not giving a gift now. Wait, and give them a meaningful gift later, after you have taken time to consider and explore.  Thoughtless... Continue reading...

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December 10, 2018 9:00 am
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What Employees Love & Hate about the Holidays

There are many factors to how holidays are handled in the workplace. Work schedules and demands, time off, decorations, and holiday parties all factor into how the season is incorporated into an office space and received by the employees who work there. Last year, we polled our readers to find out what they loved and hated about holidays in the workplace. We received nearly 3,000 responses! We explored both the good AND the bad because, well, that’s life! While we attempt to focus on the positive and provide hope for improving workplaces, we are also committed to being reality-based. So,... Continue reading...

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December 3, 2018 8:55 am
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Thanksgiving Is Actually Healthy For You: The Benefits of Gratitude

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, there are numerous columns and articles discussing various aspects of the holiday (almost too many!)  But we would like to take the opportunity to bring attention to the overall benefits to our lives of having a thankful attitude.  (This information may be some you want to share with others.) In his bestselling book, What Happy People Know¹, Dr. Dan Baker (who is the director of the well-known wellness program at Canyon Ranch in Arizona) states that appreciation is the single most important tool in developing an enjoyable life. Additionally, social scientists who have studied the impact... Continue reading...

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November 19, 2018 9:00 am
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How the Grinch Stole Appreciation at Work (and how to get it back)

It’s a Christmas classic. Every year we enjoy the journey of the Grinch — from ninja-level curmudgeon, to repenting of his ways and then saving the day. The Grinch remains an interesting character. He’s so filled with anger and resentment that it clouds his vision and certainly his judgment. He embarks on a journey that he thinks will fill the hole in his small and fragile heart. Yet, as we know, the results of his mayhem left him cold and wondering why there was no joy or satisfaction. It was not until his ‘ah ha’ moment that things changed for... Continue reading...

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December 21, 2017 10:05 am
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What Employees LOVE about the Holidays

  THE RESULTS ARE IN!! Over 1,325 of you responded to our poll on “What I LOVE about the Holidays” (with 777 submitting stories of a favorite positive holiday experience at work).  Thank you for your input.  As you will see, the results provide interesting feedback, and the stories are both fun and heart-warming.   Poll Results  On each of the first two questions, you were given a list of 20 items to choose from (more than one could be chosen.) Here are the results:     Q1. What aspects of the holiday season do you ENJOY the most?  1.... Continue reading...

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December 18, 2017 1:42 pm
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What Employees Hate About the Holidays (Poll Results)

Two years ago (2015), in response to a number of negative comments we had received from people regarding the upcoming holidays, we sent out a survey to our e-newsletter subscribers to find out what employees don’t like about the holidays. That year over 1,200 of our readers completed our survey. The results were interesting and found their way into a number of media articles (TV, radio, print). Given that we now have significantly more newsletter subscribers (over 100,000!), and it is two years later, we thought it would be good to revisit the issue. Just before Thanksgiving (2017) we asked... Continue reading...

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November 30, 2017 11:01 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2017 10:16 am
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Personal Losses Make Memorial Day More Poignant

Memorial Day in the U.S. is a holiday that seems to be slipping in its meaningfulness to many in our country.  As the distance in time grows from recent military conflicts, and even further from the major wars of the past, the desire to pay honor to those who fought to protect our freedoms wanes.  This is a normal process of life – past losses and pain fade as time goes on. But a common life event brings the significance of Memorial Day back into focus quickly.  That event, the death of someone close, was an experience I had multiple... Continue reading...

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May 24, 2017 6:38 pm
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Creating New Family Traditions Around the Holidays

A “new tradition” is sort of an oxymoron. By definition, (“a long-established, inherited way of thinking or acting”), a tradition is some action that you have been doing for a while. But I believe it is both possible and helpful to intentionally create new traditions for your family. We need to recognize that families go through a variety of life stages, with different needs at each stage. And the demands and parameters of daily life vary significantly. It is hard to imagine a family tradition that could survive and be really appropriate for family members across all life stages (with the possible exception... Continue reading...

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December 16, 2016 7:00 am
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What Employees Don’t Like About the Holidays

Some people love the holiday season, while others really don’t. In fact, it seems that a growing number of people make comments like: “I hate the holidays!” (Maybe they are just more vocal about it.) To find out more specifics, last year we sent out a survey to find out what about the holiday season employees don’t like – partly for our own education, but also to see if there were practical ideas that when implemented could reduce employees’ irritation. And there are. Over 1,200 of our readers completed our survey (within 24 hours of it being sent out!) On... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2016 11:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 15, 2016 8:00 am
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Revisiting the Meaning of “Vacation”

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and often what it has come to mean in our culture. First, vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities.  As my wife has commented, she gets a different perspective on life when she gets away from the daily routine.  Even if you are in a tight financial situation, getting away for a few days to a cheap cabin close-by can be sufficient. Next, vacation implies that you aren’t working.  You... Continue reading...

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August 7, 2016 3:42 pm
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