A task that strikes fear into the heart of the most unflappable PA. So many factors to consider – and then that all important question: How can you please everyone?
The answer is simple; you can’t. But don’t give up just yet. There are some things I have learned over the years to assist you in making your arrangements for a fun and entertaining Christmas party.
This makes the job of hunting for a venue much easier. There is no point contacting a Michelin starred celebrity-frequented restaurant if you only have a small budget.
Ideally, about 5-10 colleagues whose opinions you trust, and preferably have been to other Christmas parties with your company. Ask them what worked, what they would change and what their ideal (but realistic) party would involve.
This refers to the above point; if you know that most of your office would much rather go to the local pub or have snacks and refreshments at a relaxed, informal venue – then that is what you should organise. The majority wins in these kind of situations! It makes your job easier too.
If you work in a big company, or one that doesn’t integrate or encourage staff to socialise with each other often, it could be that some people don’t know each other well. Sometimes organizing a fun game, or Secret Santa, can break down the barriers a bit and encourage people to chat to new faces. Even something as simple as giving the event a dress code or fancy dress theme can be a good ice breaker!
Make sure that you have booked somewhere that is either close to public transport links so everyone can get home easily – or make sure that you have arranged transportation to/from the nearest tube, train or bus station. You will need to factor this into your budget (and be aware that coaches etc may charge more at this time of year). You might have chosen the most perfect location and organized a fantastic party – but it will all be ruined if people can’t get home without spending a fortune on taxis.
When you are organising a party for a group of people at differing levels of authority who may not socialise together throughout the year, there may be some differences in opinion as to what constitutes a great party. Some people might complain or not enjoy themselves as much as others. This doesn’t mean that you should give up before you have even started… it just means that you need to keep cool, calm and collected. Everyone’s opinion and experience matters – all you can do is your best.