Tying wellness activities into holiday themes is a strategy widely used to create interest and participation. Notwithstanding, be aware that offering holiday activities in the worksite can create issues.
Your workplace may have policies and guidelines already in place about issues such as appropriate decorations themes, work time, etc. Make sure to check with senior level management regarding all guidelines and policies.
Remember to include and acknowledge the holiday celebrations of the various cultures or groups represented in your workforce. It is generally safer to use graphics, themes, and wording that are not specific to one culture, as others might feel left out.
In fact, acknowledging diverse holidays, if done respectfully, can help familiarize your workforce with values and practices of different cultures and ethnic groups.
A few topical ideas for holiday themes include -
o Health Promotion committee members distribute “healthy heart valentines” to each worker for Valentine’s Day.
o Thanksgiving “turkey trot”. Employees who exercise three times a week for at least one-half hour between November 1 and 15 are entered into a drawing for a free turkey (can be purchased at the local supermarket or donated).
o Chinese New Year tai chi demonstration. Consider a follow-up workplace introductory tai chi class offering.
o Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/etc. holiday food potluck. Members of different cultural or ethnic groups bring in a dish reflective of their holiday traditions.
Each person can say several words about the origin and tradition behind the food. In this holiday theme, food does not have to be low fat or particularly healthy, since the purpose is enhancing cultural diversity, not counting calories.
Pre/Post Holiday Weigh In
Holiday weight gain can be a large health challenge. This wellness activity is fun, low-key, and helps workforce monitor their weight during the holiday season.
o Participants weigh-in with a “trusted” confident before Thanksgiving. The weigh-ins may be conducted on the honor system, but weight must be recorded on a weight-tracking card. You may invite a local nurse or Weight Watchers representative to monitor weigh-ins.
o Workers set a personal goal of maintaining their weight from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
o Weight cards are stored in a secure file location.
o Provide weekly weight control hints. These ought to be posted next to the wellness bulletin board, sent via email, or provided in brochure form.
o Or, alternate the weekly hints with healthful recipe options.
o Remind workers of the necessity to continue exercise during the busy holiday season.
o Weigh everybody the first work day following New Year’s Day. Record the weight on the tracking card.
o Employees who’ve maintained their weight or who’ve lost weight receive a prize and award certificate.
o Staff Members who gained weight receive a certificate of completion and an invitation to continue participation in a related health weight wellness activity.