Christmas party at the store this year

Ways to liven up your Christmas party at the store this year

The annual Christmas part for many a jewelry store is a nice night
out for the staff-dinner and maybe too many drinks. I just wanted to
share some of the ways we rewarded the employees at Christmas time,
particularly during the Christmas Party and during December.

Being a custom store (doing over 1.8 million-3/4 of it coming from
our price book) we always worked late into the night during December.
Although the sales staff didn’t stay late like the jewelers did,
everyone worked hard. So we rewarded them.

We arranged with a local masseuse to have all employees receive a
massage at their office. The jewelers especially enjoyed and NEEDED
this. There were a few folks who never had one and were uncomfortable
with trying something new. If these were females we opted for a
manicure instead, which is still a great stress reliever.

It’s also a good idea to plan into your schedule TIME OFF for
everyone during the week so employees can go shopping for the
holidays too, without asking you when it’s convenient for them rather
than the store. Plan ahead.

The Christmas party was a PARTY. With 16 employees, almost all
bringing spouses and dates, we wanted to bring friendship to those
who never met. So Renie devised a get acquainted game.

She met everyone at the door when they came to the restaurant. In
her hand she had 3x5 cards and a roll of scotch tape. Each card had
the name of a famous person. Could be a politician, singer, movie
star, actor-dead or alive. Without you seeing who it was she taped
the card to your back. Everyone had one.

Your goal was to go to SOMEONE ELSE in the room and ask 3 questions.
You can ask 100 questions, but only 3 at a time to one person at a

Questions that can only give a YES or NO answer, like:

“Is this person a male?”
“Is this person in movies?”

We had gift certificates for movies, dinners, manicures, etc. The
first 5 people who could guess what was on their backs got the
prizes. Great fun way to get to “smooze” with everyone.

After dessert we had games. One game we had was “Last person
standing”. This is where I started a story and had 6 employees stand
in the front of the crowd. You’ve played this I know. I’d start the

“Once upon a time there was this jeweler who had a small rabbit. One
day the rabbit escaped from his pen and was running when all of a

Then I’d point a finger at someone and they had to flawlessly pickup
from there

“.he fell into a mighty whole where he saw thus huge.”

And at that point I pointed to another employee who had to instantly
pickup the story from there and carry on.

Anyone who couldn’t carry on or floundered was OUT! leaving five
people. It continued on and the winner received a nice prize too.

The end of the evening we awarded TWO trophies with $300 in cash
attached to the bottom.

The first trophy was HIGHEST SALES YEAR TO DATE. This was awarded to
a sales person with the highest total sales.

The second trophy took prior work. We had the 1st week of December
for all employees by secret ballot to vote for whomever they thought
was the most valuable employee in the company. Some years it was a
sales person, some times it was a jeweler, and a few times it was an
office staff. It let one person be recognized for being a team
player. I tallied them up and got the trophy engraved in advance of
the Christmas dinner.

The next day back to work both employees proudly displayed their

Christmas bonuses were given out separately, closer to Christmas

Have a great season.

David Geller
Director of Profit
JewelerProfit, Inc.
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565 Voice
(404) 252-9835 Fax


Great ideas. I’m sure everyone appreciated you sharing. You’re
absolutely right, make it fun. Employers too often expect a lot and
return very little, and in the end employ disgruntled individuals.
I’m sure your work environment was much different. To be successful,
everyone has to be a part of the “team” and work hard, but there is
always room for some fun and the feeling of being appreciated, and it
sounds like you definitely understand that part.


Vic Davis

Vic Davis & Associates, Inc.
Springfield, MO
866-650-6400 (toll-free)

Hello Vic, David, and others;

I’m not expert, but I worked in retail as a bench jeweler for over
30 years, so I have some observations. Perks are great, some people
really love that. But bench people are a slightly different lot. I
remember one Christmas my employer did the manicure/massage thing. I
didn’t really want some young stranger kneading and pummeling my
lumpy, baggy, middle aged body. And have you ever seen a real bench
jeweler’s hand around Christmas? A manicure would be like putting
lipstick on a pig. I had to keep my fingers taped up to keep the
cracking calluses from bleeding, and the black won’t come off unless
you simply stop working for a coupe of weeks. So I partook of some of
the canapes, told everyone to have fun, and went home. Time off to
do some Christmas shopping would have been great, and a couple C
notes with a card or a fruit basked is right up my alley. But I

Getting and keeping good bench people takes a shift in thinking most
retailers can’t wrap their minds around. First, if you are pouring
money into inventory, new computers for the office, new store
fixtures, while the jeweler sits in a little cupboard, burning
himself on the steamer every time he turns around, wishing he had a
window he could open when it got stifling, poking around for a sharp
bur, etc., you’re going to be looking for a new jeweler before too
long, and each time you will pay more and get less for your money.
This, of course, will make employers feel even less inclined to
invest in their bench staff. The rule of thumb here is this: you
will eventually get the jewelers you deserve. Just there for the
paycheck, watching the clock for the last half hour of the day.
Unless you respect that what they contribute to your business is just
as important as what those people on the showroom floor with the nice
manicures give you. Facilitate them doing their job, period. Don’t
make them glean the fields for the straw to make the bricks.

The other thing is that you have to find people who will match your
investment with “pride of workplace”. You don’t get that by busting
a jeweler’s chops over minutiae. If they feel they are constantly
trying to get their work to pass muster with you, they will
eventually recognize this as an old world game to keep them on the
defensive. If you really think they need to be doing a better job,
you are going to have to work with them to solve the problem. This is
really hard to address if you don’t know as much or more about good
jewelry as your bench jeweler. Better investigate classes in
techniques that you can send them to. If you’ve tried to save on
wages by hiring somebody who is less skilled than you really need,
where do you expect them to learn? Most jewelers want to be proud of
the business they work for, as well as proud of their own work.
Sometimes that involves defending the jeweler over the customer. I
believe that any business should put their priorities in this order:

Employees first
Customers second
Stockholders (owners) third

If this seem radical to you and completely wrong, you aren’t getting
my point and probably won’t. You are also going to be replaced
eventually by a competitor who gets it. Think of Southwest Airlines.
Think of this too: the jeweler chose his or her job not as just a way
to make a paycheck. They picked a career. They have invested in their
skills just as you have invested in your facility and inventory. If
they don’t see that the growth and fulfillment of this career choice
is going to be facilitated by you, they will eventually leave. They
may find that the best way to be all that they can be is to set up
shop across the street from you and go it on their own. And don’t get
any bright ideas about non-compete contracts, they usually don’t hold
up in court.

So, to sum it up, perks and presents are fine, but this is frosting
on the cake. Make sure the job is supported. It’s not about wages,
it’s not about “recognition”. Those won’t make up for anyone feeling
they have to struggle to justify their existence in the workplace the
rest of the year.

David L. Huffman

I was filling in as an “in-shop” diamond setter at a local large
jewellery company, I have done this for many years. A few weeks ago
an announcement came around that they are having a Christmas
luncheon…all kinds of food and noshes.

So far nice, then came another announcement for an ‘extra’ bonus, a
free large frozen Turkey for each of ‘us’…I thought why me? I don’t
need this, but somewhere someone else could use this for their
religious Christmas dinner…I am giving this Turkey away to a local
church and let them give to a family who deserves it much more than
I. It’s the ‘proper’ thing to do, why? Tomorrow I will make the
proper instructions for this local church to see who needs this plump
bird! In our Jewish religion, second highest level of the 13 credos
of giving charity is… To give without asking, to give to an unknown
stranger or family, and then not knowing who that recipient is. Of
course number one, is to teach a person a new skill so he can feed
HIS family!

During this time we will be celebrating our own festivities of
Channukah, with our own close family members…:>) Gerry!


I loved what you wrote, lipstick on a pig had me laughing and
looking at my own blackened hands. My hands look like yours then and
all the rest of ours this time of year; like we constantly change the
oil in our cars! I was at a Christmas Boutique this weekend here in
town and next to the pretty Mary Kay lady who wondered about finger
nail polish colors for me…for my toes maybe, certainly won’t
enhance my fingers this time of year. Delicate and feminine they are

I also have a gallery wanting my services for a day or two a week so
I printed your writing on the treatment of bench jewelers and
employees in general. Good thoughts. Take care and don’t wear
yourself out working too hard. 'Tis the season I know…


About the cracked fingers covered in bandaids, in case some of you
haven’t heard about this yet - I sported bandaids on most fingers
every winter until a Dr. friend told me about super glue - just glue
the cracks with a drop of super glue, it doesn’t even sting! The
cracks will heal and be pain free much quicker than the bandaid
method. Jan - in cold dry Eastern Oregon (only its snowing today and
finally a smidge above freezing)

the pretty Mary Kay lady who wondered about finger nail polish
colors for me

Aint it the truth! The irony for many of us lady jewelry people, is
that we should have hands where we can display pretty rings we make.
Ha! Between polishing, grinding, filing, even setting up at shows, my
nails won’t hold up to the chore! And since I do lampworking, I don’t
dare do the fake nails eith er! (I also have a fat neck… kinda
takes away from nice necklaces, too, unless they are on a long chain,

CeltCraft Beads & Jewelry

Be careful using super glue to heal your cracked fingers. I’ve also
heard about this, but my Dr. said it can cause toxicity in your

I sported bandaids on most fingers every winter until a Dr. friend
told me about super glue - just glue the cracks with a drop of
super glue 

If I may take this a step farther-- the thicker super glues such a
Zapagap ™ work best for first aid, IMO. I rely on my Zapagar
every time I nick, gouge or cut myself, since I discovered it. No
pain, no worrying about water or dirt getting in-- next best thing
to being careful!


Even better than super glue, is New Skin. It is a combination
antiseptic and liquid bandage that will keep the cut or split closed
for a day or two, then you can reapply if necessary. Great stuff and
certainly better than super glue! Call 800-443-4908 if you can’t
locate it.

Susan Ronan
Coronado, CA

Hi Gang,

Maybe this is a good excuse to get the boss to buy some of the new
3M grinding/polishing wheels, no more (or lots less) polishing

Maybe 3M missed the biggest selling point, cleaner hands & fingers!


Jan, another fix is to stop by Fred Meyers (dept store) and get
O’Keeffe’s Working Hands creme. My hands wouldn’t heal until a friend
gave me a sample - now I’m never without it. For the rest of the
world, without a Fred Meyers store, call 800-275-2718 and ask for a
sample or surf to They’ll send a small jar
that’s perfect for a back pack or purse. Usual disclaimer, no
affiliation, just a very happy customer.

Rex in Portland, Oregon

Re super glue for fingers – apply glue, then quickly smooth it over
with a piece of Saran Wrap. You may require an assistant for this
step. An experienced jeweler friend sometimes adds bits of cotton to
the glue…to build up a layer of thickness if I remember correctly.

If you’re squeamish about super glue, they now sell a “liquid band
aid” product that works the same way.


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay