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Close of Business: Work Hard, Play Hard

by Lindsey Getz

Feel like your office holiday party plans aren’t taking shape? For inspiration, check out how other South Jersey businesses do the holidays.

Brad Tornberg, principal, E3 Consulting in Voorhees
“One year we rented the room upstairs in Cuba Libre and did an entire Cuban Christmas theme. We served mojitos and Cuban food, and encouraged everyone to dress festively. A lot of people even added a little Spanish flair. It’s a fun theme, and you can use that Spanish motif throughout the party. I found that people really got into it and had a good time.”

Merrick Rosenberg, president and chief learning officer, Team Builders Plus in Marlton
“We have a fun tradition that takes place all year long and culminates at our holiday party. Throughout the year, we collect what we call ‘Memorable Moments.’ These represent all of the funny, interesting or just plain memorable things that happened throughout the year. Nobody is immune from the list, and if someone captures an event, you are free to comment about it at the party. The best entries are the ones that people don’t even realize are there. Then, when they are read, we get to hear an even more colorful version of the events that transpired. We look forward to it all year and we laugh our way through the list.”

Michael Giletto, executive chef and co-owner/operator, Cater 2U in Mount Laurel
“The best tip I have for the organizers is to get the staff involved and make sure they’re all happy to be there. You don’t have to do a big theme—in fact you already have a theme by just doing the seasonal party. But you want to have a big turnout and make it something fun where employees will want to attend. Achieve this with great food and maybe even an employee gift. Just make sure you give your caterer an upfront idea of the budget so they can work with you to get the best bang for your buck.”

Debbie Orel, director of membership and marketing, Katz JCC in Cherry Hill
“As the JCC, our holiday party for staff of all denominations is Hanukkah-themed with a menorah lighting. The party is held at the JCC during work hours and includes entertainment that has ranged from karaoke to trivia contests and game shows with prizes. Food typically includes traditional dishes like potato latkes, chocolate gelt and other favorites. In lieu of gifts, the staff bring gift cards to be donated to local charities.”

Dana Monitzer, chief of staff, Smarter Agent in Camden
“Instead of lining up entertainment, we decided to organize a talent show for our holiday party last year. We invited anyone that wanted to perform and ended up having an employee sing and several others play guitar. It was all done at a local restaurant. We’re a start-up company and wanted to keep it simple, fun and stay local so that we’re putting money back into the city we’re located.”

Bill Emerson, president and CEO, Emerson Personnel Group in Cherry Hill
“We have invited staff to my parents’ house, as they started the business, and more recently have also had them to my home for the holiday party. We’ve also gone to some local restaurants. We do a Pollyanna gift exchange and may also buy each staff member a little something extra. Around the holidays we also donate to a local charity in our clients’ names.”

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 1, Issue 10 (October, 2011).
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