The Twelve Days of Holiday “Gifts” You Can Give Your Office (that cost nothing!)

by Dr. Erica Brown

The holiday season can bring out all kinds of office grinches. It can also be a time to be more generous, more loving and more kind. Just like the old song The Twelve Days of Christmas, this is a list that keeps growing in purpose and difficulty. But you can do it. Give a real gift this year to your co-workers: a new and improved you.

1. Watch your moods: Emotions run high and low in the office during the holiday season. Moody employees are unpredictable employees. You can do better.

2. Take a vacation from office gossip. Toxic-free work spaces begin with a culture of compassion. The next time you’re tempted to hold forth, hold back.

3. Share good news. There’s so much bad news. Find a piece of good news and spread it.

4. Give a charitable donation. Honor someone who has helped you this year by making a contribution to a charity in his or her name.

5. Smile widely. Make a conscious effort to keep your body language open and happy. A smile is an invitation to have a better day.

6. Meet a stranger. You know that person you keep bumping into in the elevator? Introduce yourself. A little friendliness can make someone else’s day.

7. Walk the floors. If you rarely move from your office floor, try a nice slow amble on another floor. Grow the love.

8. Say thank you to someone who’s not expecting it. An attitude of gratitude helps others shine. That’s more than a thank you. It’s a good way to confront the world.

9. Praise more. Judge less. What your colleagues probably need most from you is a genuine, heartfelt compliment.

10. Rethink your time management. If you always eat lunch at your desk, give someone who needs it the gift of your time. Take a lunch break with company.

11. Give someone else a break. If you can, authorize someone under stress to take off a morning or an afternoon.

12. Do something kind for someone you usually don’t get along with. It’s easy to be nice to people who are nice. The real test of character is if we can stretch ourselves beyond that.

Happy Holidays — you can make them even happier.

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