Helping the help this holiday season

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2014 10:57 AM | Updated as of Dec 23 2014 02:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Christmas is a great time to show your appreciation for those who have helped make your life easier throughout the year.

For many Filipinos, that would always include our trusty household staff, especially kasambahays and drivers. What nicer way to show this than to hold a party for them? A party conveys the message to your help that they are considered as members of the family, and brings them the spirit of generosity that pervades the holiday season.

Here are some tips to help you plan a house-staff party that will be both fun and meaningful yet at the same time, easy on your pocket.

Find a date when everyone is available.

Get everyone to agree on a date—and this should include you. You wouldn’t want to interfere with their own holiday plans, but neither would you want to spread yourself thin over the Christmas season. Don’t limit yourself to the days before Christmas. Consider also the days after New Year’s Day, when you have relaxed significantly from attending to your own family’s holiday plans. Your help will enjoy the party more if they see that their “ma’am” is also having fun. If they are friends with your neighbor’s helpers, and so are you, maybe you can host one party for everyone.

Set a budget.

As with all parties, think of how much you would allocate for this one so that you don’t overspend. In truth, it does not take a lot to make your house help happy, and you can use this fact to your advantage. With all the expenses that come with the holidays, it is natural to want to keep the costs for this type of get-togethers at a minimum, but there is a way to let your staff know of this without making them feel that you are pinching pennies when it comes to them. Tell them you are holding a simpleng salu-salo in their honor for all their hard work, and this will already manage their expectations.

Get your staff involved in the planning.

What do they want to eat? What beverages do they prefer? What time should you hold the party? Do they want some games and if yes, what kind? It is not a good time to play hit-or-miss when you are operating on a tight budget. Get your staff’s input to make sure that everything you will have and do will add to everyone’s enjoyment and that nothing goes to waste.

Keep the menu simple.

For most Filipinos, a party is never truly a party without spaghetti, cake, ice cream, or soft drinks. Maybe these are all you need! Five years down the road, your help will not remember how sophisticated the menu was, but they would always remember that you sat down and had some laughs with them and showed how much you appreciate them during Christmastime.

Think of fun games and activities.

Let your staff think of parlor games that they can participate in. Of course, karaoke is always popular and so is dancing. How about treating them to a spa-rty? Others, though, may simply want to chat away and grab the chance to relax and take a break from duties.

Choose practical prizes.

Vying for a prize, whether through a game or through a raffle, adds excitement to any party. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to give exciting prizes that your help will really appreciate. Think of what really counts for them. For example, a “gift certificate” to use your Skype account to call an OFW loved one for five minutes will bring so much happiness to them—and this will come at no charge to you. A “voucher” for an extra day off also comes with no cost but is invaluable to yaya. If you think along these lines, you will be able to give the best prizes they have ever known—and you don’t have to spend for a single thing.

End with gift-giving.

Do not pressure them to hold a monito-monita if they do not warm up to the idea. Remember, they have relatives in the provinces who may have better use for the P100 that you intend to declare as the minimum gift price. No one’s stopping you, however, from giving them gifts to serve as a token of your gratitude. As you hand your gift to each one, tell them—and make sure that everyone hears—the things that you most appreciate about them. This energy of gratefulness is all you need to put the party to a close.

Help clean up.

It won’t cost you anything to help in cleaning up after the party. Your staff will appreciate that this time, you stayed behind and helped them.

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