The holiday season is upon us, and that can only mean one thing – let the office holiday parties commence. And, of course, many employees can expect office gift-giving festivities, such as secret Santa and white elephant.

How Employees Feel About Office Holiday Parties

Let go of your wallets, employers: The majority of people enjoy their holiday party. When we say most, we mean it – 61% of introverts in our study reported enjoying their office shindig, compared to 82% of extroverts.

The fun doesn't have to happen in the physical workplace, either. In fact, 56.8% of people said they felt most comfortable when the holiday party was at an alternate location rather than on-site or at the office. Partygoers spent nearly three hours at their holiday party, on average; They're not just hanging out next to Adam in accounting's desk the whole time.

As much as we all love a great get-down from our employers, not all employees reported enjoying their workplace holiday parties. Nearly 25% didn't find the office holiday party enjoyable because it meant having to spend extra time at work – another reason to move things off-site. For 18.2% of respondents, partying doesn't mix well with co-worker interactions.

Millennials make up most of the labor force, which means a lot of people at the office might be just starting off financially. Finding the right party attire can be costly, especially without an end-of-the-year bonus. Rather than attending a holiday party with clothes already in the closet, 13.2% of people said they didn't always enjoy celebrating with their co-workers because of the extra costs associated with the gathering.

Should You Spend That Holiday Party Cash Elsewhere?

The coffee machine breaks every Wednesday. Rudolph is complaining about making less than Dasher, although we all know he's the face of the sleigh team. Should you still host the annual holiday party?

A small number of employees said to spend the money elsewhere. However, 64.8% of workplace partygoers said don't spend the money on something else – give the people what they want: a holiday party.

Of 35.2% of employees who preferred their companies to use that party cash elsewhere, 74.9% said individual bonuses were an alternative. People also desired more time off and subsidized meals. Less than 2% would have rather their boss spent the money on office supplies and equipment.

When it comes to holiday parties, employers aren't the only ones feeling a deficit. Our study found that those typically attending a workplace gathering spent nearly $40 on their attire and an additional $12.98 on transportation. Unless the boss is handing out bonuses, that's nearly half a day's worth of pay for most Americans.

Gift-Giving Traditions at the Office

Our findings show that 7 in 10 people reported having a holiday gift-giving tradition at work. Although 67% of introverts and 83% of extroverts said they look forward to workplace gift exchanges, co-workers spent a median of $25 on gifts for one another. However, they went the extra mile for their leaders – our respondents reported spending a median of $30 on gifts for their bosses or supervisors.

When it comes to gift-giving, employees believed the thought behind the gift matters more than the price tag. Eighty-one percent said the thought behind the gift was very or moderately important, while only 27% thought it was very or moderately important that the gift should meet the maximum spending limit.

How Holiday Happenings Affect Workplace Morale

Companies are often concerned with increasing employee morale because a dissatisfied workforce can turn minor office hindrances into human resources nightmares. According to our study, both gift-giving traditions and holiday parties increased workplace morale. Making the office more festive is also likely to have a positive effect on employees' relationships with co-workers and higher-ups.

Unfortunately, when it came to workplace satisfaction, the impact wasn't as large for a modest portion of employees. Only 65% of people said a workplace gift-giving tradition positively affected their job satisfaction, while 66.8% said the same of a holiday party.

Party and Give Till 2020

While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to celebrating with your team, our findings suggest that upping the holiday spirit around the office with a party and/or gift-giving tradition may do a lot of good. Contrary to recent developments, the majority of your workforce is looking forward to letting loose.

Is gift-giving your favorite tradition? Nearly 53% of the participants in our study reported being mostly or very satisfied with the gifts they received from co-workers. Visit Office Depot for holiday gift exchange ideas – we've got gifts under $25 that will surely raise any office's morale.

Methodology and Limitations

The data used in this project was curated via survey on November 1, 2019 using the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform. To qualify for the survey, participants needed to be currently employed and work at a company that had workplace holiday gift-giving events and/or parties. There were a total of 1,005 participants. 696 participants had a holiday gift-giving tradition at work. 922 reported receiving a holiday gift from a co-worker at least once. 922 reported attending their workplace holiday parties at least once.

For this survey, the term "holiday" was defined to participants as referring to the end-of-year holiday period.

For the graphics titled, "All About Workplace Holiday Parties" and "All About Workplace Gift-Giving," enjoyment included people reporting they moderately or very much enjoy workplace holiday parties and/or gift-giving.

The data was not statistically tested. Also, as the data rely on self-reporting, there is the potential to introduce issues such as exaggeration and selective memory.

Fair Use Statement

We're big fans of holiday cheer, and we know there's no better gift than good content. Feel free to share these findings for noncommercial purposes with your co-workers and friends, but don't forget to cite this study and link back to this page.