Nov 12, 2018 How to Throw the Best Office Christmas Party Ever
Red alert! Christmas is only 6 weeks away!
While the vast majority of people look forward to the season of cheer, pine trees, and gifts, it seems like every year Christmas sneaks up on us. That sneaking up often leads to scrambling to throw together awesome office parties.
Whether you’re reading this article with plenty of time to spare between now and your holiday office extravaganza or you’re reading it to scrounge up some ideas because your party is right around the corner, our team at Perfect Imprints has you covered!
Below, we’ve created a guide on how to plan and throw the ultimate office Christmas party. Our hope is that the suggestions below will help you put together a bash people remember all year long!
1. Put Together a Team of Aces
We get it. Some people have a creative streak in them that makes it hard to work with others.
If you’re one of those people, our advice is to put your pride aside, take a deep breath, and put together a team to plan your office Christmas party.
Most Christmas parties at work get arranged by an employee on their spare time. Taking on that task alone while also keeping up with your workload can turn into a tremendous stressor.
Remember, planning an office party can be fun!
To make sure that you put together the best party possible and don’t end up regretting your decision to head up the party planning committee, find a team of people who you work well with and start delegating tasks!
2. Put Together a Calendar
It can be hard to make time at work for extra-circular events. To make sure that the team you put together is willing to budget out the time necessary to fulfill their Christmas party duties, you’ll want to have a schedule in mind prior to recruiting team members.
Your schedule should include times you’ll meet to strategize, the time you’ll meet to work on the party, and anything else you can think of.
Anybody you’re thinking of bringing on that can’t commit to your party planning calendar is better kept off of your committee.
3. Set a Date and Circulate
The first thing you’ll want to decide on once you have your team of party planners together is the date of your office party. The sooner you can get your date on the books, the less chance you’ll have of people missing your party due to prior arrangements.
Keep in mind that many people take vacation time the two weeks leading up to Christmas all the way through the week after new years. To make sure that you don’t end up with a date that most people will be out of town during, we recommend scheduling your party outside of that window.
Before circulating a date, run it by your department director or other relevant teams to get buy-in on it so you’re not left changing your date immediately after establishing it. While it can be hard to get everyone to agree on the perfect date, the more feedback you get the better chance you’ll have of not running into push-back.
4. Figure Out Your Budget
With your date in place, you’re almost ready to get into the nitty-gritty of planning your party. Before you dive in though, you’ll have to consider your budget. The amount of money you have to spend on your office Christmas party will set the tone for a lot of our next few tips.
It will inform how much you can spend on a venue, food, and more.
If your company’s Christmas party budget seems meager, consider crowdsourcing more money from your team. You can do this via outright asking or by holding a donations raffle where each donation gets tickets that can be redeemed for a prize during the evening of your event.
5. Decide on a Venue
Now that you know how much money you have to work with, it’s time to figure out where your office party is going to take place.
The cheapest venue will always be your office. Alternatively, you can host your party at a company executive’s home if it’s large and they’re willing.
If both of those options sound like impossibilities for you, you’ll have to direct your venue search towards private businesses.
Think about contacting restaurants or party halls. Ask if they offer any discounts to local businesses. Also, keep in mind that most venues will be open to negotiating price.
6. Debate Themes
Not every office Christmas party needs to have a theme but adding one can be an easy way to turn up the fun of your night.
Popular Christmas party themes include ugly sweater parties, masquerade balls, winter wonderland, Santa’s workshop, international Christmas, candy land, murder mystery and more!
Try and come up with some ideas among your team or better yet, send out a poll to your office through survey monkey and let people vote on your party’s theme!
7. Put Together a Menu
Food is at the heart of any good office Christmas party and why not? It’s delicious!
Your budget will obviously have a big impact on your food choices.
On the expensive end, you could purchase individual plates for each person attending your party giving them a choice of which meat would serve as their main course. For a cheaper option, consider buffet-style dining or just opt for good old fashion pizza.
Whatever you do on the food front, you’ll want to ask around to see if anybody has dietary concerns. You don’t want vegetarians on your team to be left with nothing to eat during the evening.
8. Alcohol or No Alcohol?
If you’re considering adding alcohol to your party, you’ll want to first check with your company to make sure it’s not against their policies to drink during corporate events.
Drinking policies may apply depending on whether or not your party is being hosted outside of your office. Also, keep in mind that adding alcohol to your party can significantly boost the total cost of your event.
9. Source Decorations
If you want your Christmas party to feel like a Christmas party, you’ll need to invest in decorations. Whether you go with professional grade pieces supplied by a party company or choose to DIY your decor, do your best to put a solid effort into dressing up your venue so it embodies the Christmas spirit (or whatever your theme is).
Note that some venues (a restaurant for instance) may not let you decorate. You’ll want to find out what your venue’s policy is on decor and make sure you’re okay with it before booking anything.
Pro Tip: Great lighting can make an event spectacular. Consider investing in the rental of colored party lights or just pick up some Hue Bulbs from Phillips to really punch up your evening.
10. Try Arranged Seating
While an office Christmas party is about having fun, it also offers companies an opportunity to get different departments interfacing with one another. This creates more inter-team camaraderie and can lead to productivity boosts during day-to-day business operations.
The only problem is that nobody is going to take it upon themselves to sit with people that they don’t know. That’s why we recommend leveraging arranged seating.
With arranged seating, you can mix and match guests and seat them at each other’s tables so you can nudge them into new social situations. While people might be hesitant about this arrangement at first, they’ll appreciate it by the end of the night since they’ll likely finish the evening with new friends!
11. Decide on Activities and Games
Is your party going to be 100% freestyle or will there be activities and games? We recommend, especially for an office party, structuring the night with a few activities.
Popular activities for an office party could include Pictionary, a bake-off, charades, company trivia, stocking guessing games, pin the nose on the Rudolph and a number of other fun things.
You could also arrange for a guest speaker to come in and give an inspirational presentation that your company might find valuable.
12. Make a Decision on Music
No Christmas party is complete without music. How will you be sourcing yours?
Are you going to hire a live band for the evening? Are you going to bring on a DJ? What about just playing Christmas tunes through Spotify?
Your budget will largely determine how much you’ll be able to invest in sourcing music. With that said, as long as you have some good Christmas tunes playing, you’ll be fine.
Pro Tip: Prepare for requests. It seems like every Christmas party will have people asking for you to change the music or put on their favorite song. Decide in advance with your team what the policy will be when it comes to music requests/complaints and stick to it.
13. Give Out Awards… Tastefully
It’s the end of the year so it could be a great time to hand out awards to people and teams that exceeded expectations. Awards can be a combination of real recognition and tastefully hilarious ones like, “Most Likely to Get a Lump of Coal for Christmas,” “Ugliest Sweater,” etc.
Our recommendation for awards is to not single too many people out. If too many people get awards, people who didn’t get one will feel dampened during the night.
Try primarily handing out department awards and just single a small handful of people out for individual honors.
14. Don’t Over Plan the Night
We’re all for adding structure to your office Christmas party. That being said, one of the best parts of partying is being able to simply enjoy the night.
Because of that, try not to plan everything that’s going to happen half hour by half hour for your office Christmas event. A tasteful balance of structure and improv is important to creating an awesome atmosphere.
15. Think About Inclusiveness
Remember, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Consider your office culture and try to find ways to incorporate elements of other major Christmas time holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more.
16. Ask For Feedback
After your party has taken place, you’ll probably be exhausted to the point of not wanting to think about next year’s party. Still, it’s important that you elicit feedback from your office on how they enjoyed things while the memories are still fresh in people’s heads.
You can use platforms like Survey Money to send out a quick poll on how people liked your event, what they would like to see improved, and any other insights you might deem valuable.
Staying hungry for feedback is the best way to keep improving your office Christmas party offerings for years to come!
Wrapping Up How to Throw the Best Office Christmas Party Ever
There you have it. A whopping 16 tips on how you can source opinions, create a team, and throw the best office Christmas party your company has ever seen.
Remember, no matter what you do, not everyone will like the party you come up with. What’s important is that you do your diligence to create an experience that as many people find enjoyable as possible and not let nay-sayers discourage your efforts.
Best of luck to you and happy holidays!
If you’re looking to source the best custom branded Christmas themed items for your corporate event, our team has you covered.
At Perfect Imprints, we have branded Santa hats, Christmas stockings, beanies and more. All of which would be right at home at your next event.