By Lyndsey Hall
Christmas is big business. According to the latest research, the average family will spend £796 on Christmas in 2015, with almost half saving up for it, and one in ten putting it all on a credit card. With the cost of presents, Christmas parties and the all-important food (and drink!), it’s no surprise that many Brits end up in debt come January.
According to the study, people in Yorkshire and the Humber are the best at keeping costs down on gifts, with the average spend at just £378. Those on lower incomes also manage their spending better than higher earners, with those on salaries under £20k spending £329 on average on gift-giving, compared to £1,608 by those earning over £80k.
The Money Advice Service revealed that we waste £2.4billion every Christmas on unwanted gifts and uneaten food, equating to £28 per person. That’s a lot of money to be thrown away. This year, we at Knowles Warwick have decided to forego the obligatory Christmas cards amongst the staff and make a donation to the Cash for Kids charity’s Mission Christmas.
December is a very busy time for any accountant, with tax deadlines fast approaching, so we try to help the teams get into the festive spirit with games and Christmas treats, while they beaver away on tax returns. This year, as well as the usual Christmas tree in the foyer, we organised a Christmas decoration competition where each team was given £20 to spend on decorating their room. The staff’s efforts were fantastic, with the winning team even incorporating photos of their pets dressed up in festive outfits! Each room won a prize, even the Wooden Spoon, as the idea was to boost morale at this busy time of year. We are also holding a Christmas Bake Off, with entries from mince pies to Christmas cupcakes, and next week we’ll be taking part in Mission Christmas’ Jumper Day, with prizes for the best/gaudiest!
As a small business, we are lucky to be able to close for a few days over the holiday period, allowing our staff to spend the time between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day with their families. We even close the office at midday on 23rd and start the festivities early with our staff Christmas party!
If you own a small business, it’s important to thank your employees for a job well done, and for keeping your business running smoothly for the past year. Time off during the Christmas period, over and above the official bank holidays, is a great way to show your appreciation. With remote working, anyone who wants to get a head start on January’s projects can, and your clients will either understand or be too busy enjoying the festive period themselves to mind! Just make sure that you advertise your Christmas opening hours early to clients and anticipate any deadlines that could be effected by your closure.
Secret Santa is another way to get your staff into the spirit of the season, with anonymous gift giving and receiving! At Knowles Warwick, we impose a £10 limit and draw names out of a hat to see who we will be buying for. It’s always fun to see who gets what, and even more fun to guess who each Santa was!
There are plenty of ways to boost morale and show your appreciation to your employees at Christmastime, and they don’t have to be expensive. Whether it’s a bottle of wine, a week off, or an all-expenses-paid Christmas party, you’ll boost engagement and give your employees a warm glow that will last well into the New Year!