Planning your office Christmas party can be a big challenge – a lot goes into ensuring the event is properly organised, so it goes without a hitch. There are plenty of handy tips to make sure you give your team a night to remember.
The closer you get to Christmas, the busier everyone’s schedules are going to be, so find out the date of the last “official” day at work before the festive break and organise the party for that day. It should signify the end of the working year, as nobody wants to go back to the office the day after the Christmas party.
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When you’re working out what the staff are looking forward to at the Christmas party, the simplest thing to do is ask them! Get feedback on last year’s party by drafting a simple questionnaire. Ask people what they enjoyed most and what they didn’t like.
Find out if there’s anything they would particularly like to see included this year. This will give you a good idea of how to plan your party, full of the elements that people will enjoy. Although you’ll never be able to take everyone’s suggestions on board, try to include the things that most people enjoyed. This could include the types of food, music and games.
If you want to do something a bit different from the traditional office Christmas party, why not try a theme? Ideas can include a Roaring Twenties party, where guests can dress up as glamorous “flappers” and gangsters, while enjoying some forbidden prohibition cocktails; or a tropical party with plenty of palm trees, sandpits, sunny bright lights, exotic drinks and colourful clothes.
Host some light-hearted seasonal competitions, such as the worst Christmas jumper, where guests can bring along those terrible sweaters with the sparkly Christmas trees and musical reindeer. It can all add to the fun Christmas vibe.
Most companies will set aside a budget for a Christmas party, as they realise the importance of keeping employees’ morale high and showing them how much they matter. As the organiser, it’s your job to make the money go as far as possible.
This doesn’t mean doing everything “on the cheap” – it means shopping around and getting cost-effective rates for the catering, the entertainment and any decorations. Check whether people expect a live band, a DJ, or simple pre-recorded music. Just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t mean everyone will want a constant background of carols.
Look around for all-in-one service providers, rather than hiring a number of different companies to provide goods and services, as this can work out cheaper. Set aside enough money to ensure there’s music and plenty of food and drink, as these are the important elements of any successful office Christmas party.
It’s also important to jazz up your surroundings to lift them out of their normal office association. Turn them into a sparkling palace of festive fun, dedicated to socialising, wining, dining and dancing.
Never scrimp on the food and drink – while some staff might be there because they feel they have to, you can be sure a large percentage are looking forward to letting their hair down at the company’s expense as a thank you for their hard work.
Make sure it’s not remembered as the party where the buffet ran out halfway through the evening because you didn’t order sufficient catering!
What not to do
While it’s important to have a budget big enough for everyone to have a good time, don’t go overboard with the spending and turn it into a circus! If you saw the 2016 comedy movie, Office Christmas Party, you can pick up a few tips on what NOT to do!
Sending a text out telling staff, “Let’s get drunk!” isn’t a great idea. Don’t fill the water coolers with an unlimited supply of undiluted strong spirits and never allow staff to swing off the Christmas lights, Tarzan-style.
It’s also not advisable to have a member of staff dressed as Father Christmas arriving on a home-made sleigh down a flight of stairs, as an inevitable trip to A&E will surely follow!
Finally, don’t encourage staff to send out an open invitation on social media to anyone who wants to come, as it will end up filled with gate crashers and this could well turn nasty!
If you stick to the basic guidelines, you should be able to give your staff a night to remember, for all the right reasons.
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