Yep, we know it’s June, but you probably should be if you want to plan the perfect Christmas party!
If you're reading this, you’ve probably been tasked to organise the office Christmas party and are now under pressure from all your colleagues to make it an unforgettable night (in the best way possible!). Let’s be honest, it’s a night everyone looks forward to; the open bar, the festive food, socialising and showing the office your dance moves… what’s not to love?
The worst thing you can do is put the event to the bottom of your to do list! Because if you want the best venue, the best date and the best entertainment it’s wise to book in advance. On the other hand, if you’re already thinking of artificial snow, if you can fit an ice rink on the office carpark, or if it’s even possible to pre-book Santa Claus (we know where to get all this stuff by the way!), here are our tips to guide you through a Merry Christmas planning process.
1. Start planning now!
Ok, so June may seem way too early to be getting into the festive spirit (you’ve only just started wearing your open toed sandals!) but if you want your work celebration to run smoothly then organisation is key. Besides if you start planning now, you’ll be stress-free as you get closer to the crazy, busy month that is December.
You can be sure no matter how far away December 25th seems, there will always be someone who’s already started planning their own event. If you want to secure a great party venue on the night of your choice, we recommend you aim to get your venue booked ASAP, as unsurprisingly dates sell out fast. After all many other businesses are wanting to plan their Christmas party, more than likely on the same night as yours.
2. Choose the right venue & date
The first step is finding out what your budget is, then you can start researching the best suited venues for your Christmas party.
Some great options include hiring an exclusive venue, a nightclub or even purchasing tickets to a join-a-party (these are pre-packaged Christmas events at venues all around the country where you book how many seats/tables you want and the rest is taken care of)! Join-a-parties can be a great way to take some of the pressure off you, but it could mean celebrating with other companies.
Another idea (subject to space) is to hold a Christmas Party in your office. Everything can be brought to you from catering, drinks, decorations, entertainment, AV and music.
If you start planning early, you’ll have a great amount of choice for your party date. Thursday’s and Friday’s are of course the most popular dates for Christmas parties, but you could save money if you decide to hold your party earlier on in the week. However, don’t expect much productivity the following morning! Alternately, you could wait until January and hold a ‘New Year’s Party’ when rates should be even cheaper and availability aplenty.
Planning tip: Make sure your guests receive a ‘save the date’ well in advance, as people always have hundreds of invites during this time and then send your official invitations out at least 6 - 8 weeks prior.
3. Consider decorations, entertainment and catering
Seeing as it’s a Christmas party, don’t forget the essential hats, crackers and Christmas tree! Why not choose a theme for the party and make it look pretty, by setting the ambience with lighting and props to create a really special evening.
Consider memorable entertainment! Table hoppers and roaming entertainment are fantastic, but there’s a whole world of unique entertainment to consider from winter wonderland photo booths, wandering Christmas trees, life size polar bears and Christmas themed vodka ice luges! Get creative and you’ll guarantee a memorable night for everyone.
Great music and plenty of food and drink is so important! Make sure you have a great DJ or a live band. Food doesn’t need to include a sit-down meal. Food stalls make a great addition to a party letting your guests choose from several different style of foods.
But most importantly, have someone to manage the event. After all, this is your work Christmas party too! From arriving and making sure everything is set up (so you can pamper yourself and get ready in style) to being onsite during the party to monitor any issues and packing everything away at the end of the night, so you can keep that complimentary Prosecco flowing!
4. Include party favours
Christmas party favours are fun gifts for guests. These can be very inexpensive from photo frames, novelty socks or wine glass charms. Or better still organise a company wide secret Santa. Everyone loves a gift at Christmas, right?!
If you’re a young and happening organisation put together a ‘Christmas Hang Over Kit’ for the next morning. Trust us, your staff will be so pleased to wake up to a bottle of water, breath mints, energy bar and an eye mask.
5. Remind employees of your party etiquette
We don’t want to be a kill joy but remind employees of your ‘party etiquette’. Yes - you want everyone to have a great time, but staff can still be reminded to drink responsibly. We know there’s nothing like a free bar, so you may want to consider drinks vouchers to ensure no one goes completely over the top. Trust us - we’ve all seen it before!
Politely remind your employees that that they still represent the company, even when attending this after-work event, and are therefore expected to behave in a manner suitable for the workplace and your standard code of conduct… unless you’re Jordan Belfort, from Wolf of Wall Street!!
6. Consider transport or accommodation
Make sure people can get home ok at the end of the night. Maybe you’re providing overnight accommodation, but if not make sure local taxi firms know about your party and its end time. Suggest your guests pre-book taxi’s home by promoting taxi numbers on the night.
7. Don't forget the photographer!
Your Christmas party will be a huge success and everyone will be talking about it for years to come. So don't forget the photographer! This is a great way of not only capturing all the great and maybe embarrassing moments of the night, but your guests will love looking through them to relive the best Christmas party they ever attended!
And the last tip from us, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. The next Christmas party is only a year away. You’ll be planning it all over again 6 months after Christmas, so find out what your party goers thought.
Written by: Emma Knights, Event Director