With the holiday season coming soon, it’s time for plenty of fun festivities. If you’re planning a company holiday party for your workplace, you need to have a solid plan to make it a party that all your guests will enjoy. Not sure where to start? This guide is for you! Here are 18 clever company holiday party planning hacks for you to enjoy.
1. Decide on the Type of Company Holiday Party
Choosing what sort of holiday party you will have is vitally important. Envisioning what you want your party to be like and the goal for the party should be the first step while planning. First, decide how big this party will be. Is your company party inclusive of all employees? Are you planning a small party for only the upper management? Should each department have their own party?
Parties are a way for people to unwind. But you can still decide how casual or formal your party is. If your party is more formal, make sure the decor and atmosphere and other elements reflect this tone. Make specifications about a dress code in the invitation to also reflect the atmosphere you desire.
2. Make a Budget
You need to make sure that you are staying within your budget for throwing your company holiday party. Make sure to make an event budget including everything that you may need. Check with your boss to see what budget they have in mind. The number they give you may be based on past holiday parties they’ve thrown. Take a look at it and consider how it compares to your estimated costs. If there’s disagreement, try working together to come to a compromise explaining why you may need more. Be sure setting your budget is one of the first things you address during planning. This will give you plenty of time for finalizing arrangements for the party.
3. Create a Guest List
There needs to be a detailed list of everyone who is to be invited to the party. Thanks to technology, there are great ways to keep track of everyone who will be attending. Make sure that you have the supplies necessary to properly accommodate everyone on the list.
You should also be clear to your employees about how many guests they’ll be able to invite. If space is particularly tight, you might need to stipulate that only employees and their spouses, or another plus one, can be accommodated. If your holiday party is not for the whole family, make sure that everyone is aware so they can get sitters in time. If you have clients who you want to thank for their business in the past year, you should consider inviting them as well.
4. Set a Date and Make Your Event Timeline
There’s no perfect day to plan a company holiday party, but some days are bound to work better than others. Since people tend to be busy during this time of year with other obligations, you’ll want to ask your employees what days do or don’t work for them when possible.
A weekday party could work, provided you accommodate it within the schedule of the work week. However, we recommend having the party on a Friday night, commencing after the workday has ended. You can plan the party a few hours after work, to give your employees time to change clothes. Make your employees day by allowing your employees to leave early giving them plenty of time to get ready and into the holiday spirit.
An event timeline can be a godsend for managing stress and planning a great party. Each aspect of the party should be carefully planned with its own milestones and deadlines. Knowing how far out to book the venue, schedule site visits, researching any conflicts, and managing those conflicts will ensure your party goes off without a glitch. The same is true for each aspect of the party such as booking caterers, the bar, any staff needed to manage the event. Have a master document that clearly outlines when each aspect of the party is occurring to limit stress. A timeline will also limit any surprises that may arise.
5. Select a Venue
While you might think to hold your Christmas party at your office, this might not be feasible depending upon the space limitations of your office. It also may leave a lot to be desired in terms of atmosphere. If you know that you don’t have enough space or want to make your event memorable, you need to rent an event venue. Having your party outside the office also allows employees to connect on a more personal level. It also encourages them to not talk only about business but rather get to know each other.
Whenever possible, always tour the venue in person. Even if you find a seemingly-perfect venue online or through a reference, you should still check it out before you commit to it. Venues will boast about their best qualities in marketing. So, you don’t know how good a venue truly is until you see it for yourself.
When choosing your venue, map out how things will work out. For instance, if you envision the catering tables in a certain formation, you can use this time to confirm that plan will fit within this space. Take as many photos as possible to refer back to while planning.
Keep in mind, venues are likely to be in high demand during the holiday season, you need to reserve it as early as possible. When you have your date, vision, and budget locked down, you should reserve your venue.
6. Book Your AV Company
Your AV Company should be booked at or around the same time as your venue. If you book your AV company first they can often help you save money on venue contracts showing you how to remove in-house AV restrictions. A great AV team will help you create your vision using lighting, sound, power, and other entertainment. Let them know what specific needs you have for your event such as staging if you are giving a presentation, etc. Also, you will want to connect your AV company to all other vendors at your event so they can ensure your vision is a success.
7. Rent Equipment
When arranging a venue, you should ask the venue owner if they’ll provide you with tables and chairs. If not, you should look into a party rental vendor that has these materials. You should also look into any lighting or heating concerns, especially if there is an outdoor component to your party.
If there aren’t enough lights for guests or only boring overhead lights, your AV company can help design lighting for your event ranging in style and decor. Rent decorations to lend a festive feeling to your holiday party.
8. Choose a Caterer
Pick a caterer that fits your theme. Some venues may have in-house or preferred caterers you can work with. You should also make sure that the catering menu is suitable for all the dining needs of your guests such as allergies or particular diets. If your event is formal consider a sit-down dinner, if you are encouraging guests to mingle you may want to start your party later and serve appetizers instead.
9. Choose Hosts and/or Speakers
A great host or speaker can really add life to your company holiday party. They can guide the night ensuring that everything goes smoothly from beginning to end. Hosts can help organize the party events and expedite the flow of everything happening.
Having someone who works in the office who is well-respected host the party can be a great option. Consider people who are charismatic leaders that you believe would do a great job. Don’t assume that the first person you have in mind will be able to or want to do this, some people do not want the spotlight. You might also host the party yourself if you’re up to the task.
A riveting speech can really bring things together at a party. Ask people around the office if they would like to speak at the party. Should they accept, give general guidelines for the speech, such as length, topics and ask for them to give you an outline prior to the engagement.
10. Pick a Theme
The default theme of a holiday will be, of course, holiday decor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it and stretch your imagination a bit. For instance, you can have a theme such as ugly holiday sweaters, or white Christmas where everything is white like snow and ice. Creating scenes of a winter wonderland can provide a nice escape for a few hours.
Your decorations need to be properly chosen to accommodate your theme. If your theme is too extravagant to fit comfortably within your budget, then you need to adjust it accordingly. You should also survey your employees to see what kind of theme they would like. While you might not be able to answer all of these requests, you should at least be able to answer some of them.
11. Find Your Entertainment
Parties aren’t fun just because they’re parties. They’re fun because of what takes place and the people involved. To make a holiday party worth remembering, you want to provide your guests with entertainment and activities that keep them engaged and feeling relaxed.
Music is a must-have for any quality party. A live band or DJ performing can get people dancing and in the holiday spirit. You should also plan smaller interactive activities, like a gift swap, photo booth or other games. You want to make your party as fun as possible, and this is a great way to do just that.
12. Set the Dress Code
While you don’t want to be too stringent with what your guests can and can’t wear, some regulations can create a comfortable setting for all involved. You want people to feel relaxed, both in terms of their own clothing as well as others.
For formal occasions, you might have requirements such as a jacket and tie or no jeans. Make sure your employees are aware of the dress code well in advance of the party and listen to any concerns they might have.
13. Pick Your Menu
A proper menu is needed to make your party a success. Work with your caterers to develop a menu that isn’t just well-prepared and delicious, but also suited to the season. Since your caterers likely have experience with serving food for holiday parties, they can offer you strong advice for what to serve.
Be sure to tell your caterer your budget when choosing the menu. They will be able to make suggestions based on what you can do within your budget. Make sure the amount of food is enough for the number of people at your party.
14. Plan the Bar
Drinks can be just as important as food when it comes to your company holiday party. Think about how many wonderful holiday drinks there are, from eggnog to hot chocolate and more. If you have space, set up a spectacular bar. Work with the caterers and see if they have any bartenders to staff and suggestions for your bar.
If you’re serving alcohol, you should make sure there are limitations on how much guests can drink to avoid any embarrassing company holiday party stories and ensure guests get home safely. We recommend setting up a token system of some sort to keep track of this. When guests check in you can give them the desired amount of tokens for complimentary drinks throughout the night. You should also make sure that there are taxis nearby to make sure that people can get home from the party safely if needed.
15. Book a Photographer
A great company holiday party needs to be properly memorialized. While smartphones come with decent cameras, a professional photographer can make a huge difference. For added fun you could have a photo booth, allowing guests to bring home something to remember the event by. You can also use these photos and videos for marketing your company, to attract prospective clients and new employees.
16. Recognizing Individuals
A company holiday party is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate not only the season but also the accomplishments of your employees in the past year. This can be individuals, teams of employees who worked on important assignments, and even the company as a whole. Your employees will appreciate you recognizing them for specific actions that they undertook, and it is likely to encourage them to do great work in the New Year as well. You want to do all you can to company boost morale. Even if morale is high at your company, it could always be strengthened.
17. Give Away Prizes
The holidays are a time of giving. So why not give your employees a chance to win great prizes? Look into setting up a raffle that your employees can enter. The prizes should be enticing. So, you should make some room in your budget for them! You might also look to asking other organizations and businesses in your community to donate goods for raffling and auctioning.
18. Promote Your Party
When it comes to promoting your company holiday party, you need to do all you can to tell people about it. To ensure the party is a success it needs to be on everyone’s radar. Send regular email updates and notices via social media. Post flyers where they’ll be seen in places like the break room and various other corridors of your office. There’s no such thing as raising too much awareness. After all, you want this party to be a success.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these clever holiday party planning hacks. Think of any great holiday parties you’ve attended in the past, and think about how you could incorporate what you loved about them into your own party. The holiday season is well known for being full of joy and excitement. With these tips, you will surely be off to a great company holiday party.