Christmas is approaching fast and once more the festive spirit will invade the office!
Here are our top tips to make sure your office Christmas plan is a memorable one
What to look for in Christmas party venues
As early as possible, start contacting potential venues most will offer site inspections with their in-house events manager. Things to consider when choosing a venue include:
Capacity – is it large enough or would you have to compromise your guest list?
Location — is it accessible, good for cabs and public transport? If not, you may need to consider hiring buses or even overnight accommodation.
Facilities — is the PA system modern and functioning? You may require equipment for speeches, presentations and live entertainment.
Choose a venue that can provide as many of your needs as possible such as catering (make sure you organise a tasting session), AV, cloakrooms, furniture and tableware – fewer suppliers will make the management of the event much easier. Choosing a venue that already has a theme is also more cost effective.
Get Feedback from Employees
Ask your guests where Christmas parties have been held in the past, find out what they like and dislike in Christmas party venues and ask for suggestions. This way you’ll get a much better understanding of what employees really want from the venue. Write some ideas down and make a list of the top likes and dislikes. In doing this, you’ll not only acquire great ideas, but also help promote the event.
Probably the most important aspect of planning your work Christmas party is to book the venue early. The earlier the better as places fill up, fast!
Set the Date
Start early and spread the word. Send out a mass email with some suggested dates and pick the date that fits with the majority. You’ll also want to ensure it’s a date that fits with the boss.
Know and Agree Your Budget
There is nothing worse than going out to find an event supplier without knowing what you have to spend. Especially if you have to report back to the purse string holder after you have spent a lot of wasted time discussing ideas in detail with a prospective supplier.
If you do choose to hire a venue or contract with another business for food, drink, or entertainment, make sure that you negotiate.
Office Christmas parties themes are a great idea for office parties, and Christmas time is perfect for injecting one theme or another. You could play it safe, saying that the best Christmas outfit wins a prize, or put a bit more humour into the situation and ask people to wear the ugliest Christmas jumper they can find.
Provide enough food
People coming to a party after work will always have one thing in common; they will be starving by 7pm! So, make sure they are greeted on arrival with canapés or nibbles, so that they are not drinking on a totally empty stomach. It’s better to serve plenty of nibbles and a smaller starter. This part is relatively easy if your venue is a restaurant, if not hire a caterer to plan the menu and always make sure you know everyone’s dietary needs, ensuring everyone has something to eat.
Tip: Ask some of your suppliers to sponsor the drinks or canapés – great way for them to build relationships and for you to save some pennies!
The Christmas party is one way of reminding staff they’re part of a common endeavour – Charles Cotton, adviser to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Popular options are a live band and DJ so that as the evening progresses the team can get up and have a boogie on the dance floor.
Games Are Fun!
Games are also fun for both you and your colleagues/employees. You can hold a trivia game, guess-the-movie game, and even bingo. For the winners, make sure you buy prizes that are desirable prizes.
Some company Christmas parties go entirely without alcohol these days, ensuring a happy Office Christmas safe environment, however if you’re planning on serving alcohol you’ll need to plan in advance what you’ll be serving and how you’ll be paying. Your budget will decide if you can open a free bar or cash only bar. It’s a great idea and a nice touch to offer taxi vouchers to those drinking to ensure everyone stays safe.
The morning after
If the party is mid-week and people are expected in work the next day, provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food. Before the party, ensure that all staff knows that disciplinary action could be taken if they fail to turn up for work because of over-indulging.
When you plan a Christmas party at office, it’s just like any other corporate party and needs to be organized the same way. There needs to be a balance between fun and work, which can be a bit tricky to achieve. The best way to make sure you can do this is to keep troublesome areas like alcohol and religious differences within bounds.
Tip: If all else fails and it’s just too much, why not move your Christmas Party to January? Venues are cheaper, the sales are on and people have more free time. It could certainly cheer up a bleak month! Do you have any more tips to add to our list? please share your comments below.