Many companies, including mine, canceled Christmas (ok, "Holiday"..) parties this year. In our case we did it as part of a preemptive strike of frugality, just in case 2009 ends up being more difficult than we currently expect. We were open and honest with our employees in terms of why, and although disappointed they appreciated the fact that canceling a party could very literally save a job. We also knocked off a bunch of formal and informal perks. It felt good. Sometimes a recalibration back to basic business sense… reminds you that frugality is good business sense.
January is now filling in quite nicely, and there's reason for considerable optimism in 2009. At the same time I like rewarding employees, especially in ways that create informal rapprochement and teamwork… and that was one intangible benefit of the Christmas party. So I've started to float the idea of a party in April, if the rosy outlook comes to fruition.
I asked around if anyone knew of a holiday to celebrate in that timeframe, and I got one suggestion: Beltane. Say what, you ask? Ok, it's apparently an ancient celebration, originally Celtic, somewhat obfuscated by the Wiccans. Yes, this is going to be bizarre. Let's take a look at some of the rituals:
In the old Celtic times, young people would spend the entire night in the woods "A-Maying," and then dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning. Older married couples were allowed to remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night.
Now THAT's a holiday party that could really help people get to know each other and improve teamwork. Although "teamwork" may take on a whole new meaning.
Now to figure out how to get it approved by the HR department…