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Goodbye Grinch

By Shelby Stanger
December 21, 2011 7:43 AM

It’s no secret action sports brands know how to throw a good party. And while holiday seasons of 2008 to 2010 saw a slowing in holiday festivities, some companies are celebrating, and managing to give back to those less fortunate, now that the economy seems to have stablized. 


We talked with a handful of action sports companies to find out how they celebrated internally and what they are doing to give back.



Steve Van Doren Vans storeSteve Van Doren, center, visits a Vans store.

Vans, which had scaled back on internal holiday parties and donated money to charity in years past, is going big on both this year.


On Monday, the company took the entire office to Park Avenue near its headquarters. It also held a coat drive, at The House of Vans in NYC and a canned food and gift drive for the Orange County Food Bank at its own office where participants entered into a “Van Doren” raffle.


One of the biggest traditions Vans has kept over the years is Steve Van Doren’s annual “Holiday Road Trip.” Steve and trade show director, Bob Provost hit the road every year to pass out swag, Ts, cookies and more to Vans' store employees as well as some key accounts.


This year, over three days, the crew is hitting more than 25 Vans stores and accounts in Southern California (they've visited other regions as well in past years) and are passing out more than 4,000 custom holiday hats and T-shirts as a way to thank all the “on the floor" folks for their year of hard work, especially during the busy holiday season.


PR Director Chris Overholser said the brand sent out T-shirts to all of its Vans stores and invited the employees to a team spirit photo challenge -- the most creative team photo will get a night out for dinner with Steve Van Doren in January.



Hurley, which has not hosted a holiday party off its own campus in a few years, is also going bigger this holiday season.


Zach HartleyHurley Employee of the Year Zach Hartley with his winning hot sauce label.


Evan Slater said the brand hosted a holiday bowling party with an ugly sweater contest. He said departments came up with some pretty hilarious and creative bowling team names (Irritable Bowel Syndrome and SPLIT Happens were two of his favorites).


Hurley’s biggest year-end tradition is its “Employee of the Year” Contest.


At the end of the year, anyone nominated for “Employee of the Month” gets to campaign for title of “Employee of the Year.” The shenanigans are reminiscent of high school student elections where participants post flyers saying, “Vote for Me,” and art guys get creative distributing items like bottled hot sauce around the office with their mug shot on the label. The winner takes home a substantial check that Evan said was over $1,000.


Hurley also does a lot of giving for its own foundation called “Living the Dream,” which grants wishes to kids with terminal illnesses. They are also doing an internal toy drive that benefits Children’s Hospital of Orange County.


On page 2, Sole Technology, 686, Quiksilver, La Jolla Group



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