Corporate Christmas parties are what every employee looks forward to at the end of the work year. They’ve put in the hours to make the business a success this year, and the Christmas party is a way of saying “thank you” for all the hard work. It’s the perfect time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the celebrations all provided by the corporation. It’s a great morale-booster, one that will end the year on a positive note and encourage employees to come back to work next year happier and more productive than ever!
Planning a corporate Christmas party can be a lot more challenging than you’d think! A lot goes into making sure the party is properly organised, and there are a lot of pieces that have to fall into place, in the right order to pull corporate Christmas parties off without a hitch. We’ve come up with a few tips to help you with planning your corporate party, tips that will ensure you get everything just right to give your employees the time of their lives!
SET THE RIGHT DATE AND TIME
There are two elements that go into choosing “the right” date and time for your party:
- Availability – Remember that most companies and corporations are going to be planning a similar party around the same time of year. Those last days before the winter holidays are going to be busy for party venues, who will be hosting multiple private and corporate Christmas parties. You want to make sure to plan a date and time when your preferred venue has an available booking.
- Your employees’ schedules – You need to know what is the last “official” day of work, and plan a party on that day. NO ONE wants to come back to work the day after the office Christmas party! Contact Human Resources to find out what is the last official day of work, and schedule the party for that afternoon or evening.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK ON THE PREVIOUS YEAR’S PARTY
If you want to find out what people are looking forward to in their Christmas party, why not simply ask them? Draft up a questionnaire with a few simple questions like:
- What was your favorite part of last year’s Christmas party?
- What would you like to see again?
- What did you dislike about last year’s Christmas party?
- What would you prefer was not included this year?
People can give you their feedback on their likes and dislikes of the previous year’s party and their responses will help you to plan a party filled with the elements that people liked.
Be warned: you will never be able to take everyone’s suggestions into account. It’s very likely that there will be conflicting answers (some people loved the food/DJ/music/venue/games, while others hated it). Try to determine the greatest common denominators in all the feedback, and include the elements most people found enjoyable.
[su_quote]Suggestion: Send the questions to a few key people (no more than 20 or 30). Get answers from the various department heads, along with a few random employees. This wide cross-section will make it easier to gauge the overall mood without having to wade through hundreds of responses.[/su_quote]
TRY A THEME
Technically, the theme for a Christmas party is usually “Christmas”, which means everyone comes dressed in their Christmas best and enjoys a party with hot chocolate, cookies, sweet treats, presents, Christmas carols, and so on.
But if that’s how you always do it, why not break the mould and try a fun, creative theme such as:
- Alpine Ball – Organise your party in the glamorous surroundings of an Alpine Ball to enjoy the sophistication of an exclusive Alpine ski resort.
- Roaring 20s – Soak up the atmosphere of the era of Prohibition! Take a journey back in time to the roaring 20s and the underground world of forbidden drinks, gangsters and glamorous flapper girls – for a night of pure, raucous entertainment.
- New York, New York – Set in the luxurious surroundings of the Big Apple and kick start your party with a welcome glass of bubbly as we entertain you with live entertainment set in the scene of the glamorous world of New York.
- Tropical – How about going in the opposite direction this year? Instead of hosting a typical stuffy Christmas party, crank up the heat, install bright lights, and go for a tropical theme. It’s a great way to do something new, and it can be a fun change to the Christmas vibe.
- Winter Wonderland – Cover everything in white artificial snow, and have an ice luge to serve the alcohol. Serve cold snacks, icy drinks, and keep the décor dazzling white and sparkling!
- Ugly Sweater – Have a competition to see who can wear the ugliest Christmas sweater, with prizes for all the winners!
HAVE AN AMPLE BUDGET
Most corporations will set aside a certain amount of money every year for corporate Christmas parties, knowing how important they are to the employees. However, it’s your job to make that money stretch as far as possible.
- Step 1: Look for affordable vendors. That doesn’t mean “go cheap”, but it means look for the vendors (venues, caterers, entertainment, décor, etc.) that offer the best value for the money you’re spending.
- Step 2: Try to find all-in-one services. Instead of hiring a number of different vendors for all of your services, try to find vendors that provide everything. The bundled costs of all their services will usually be cheaper than hiring a number of different vendors.
- Step 3: Spend on the important elements first. Most people will enjoy a Christmas party as long as there is music and plenty of food and drinks. These are the things that matter most, so most of your budget should go to those things. Décor, venues, and extras all come after you’ve hired a good caterer and DJ/band.
CHOOSE A UNIQUE VENUE
After a year spent in your offices and conference rooms, it’s going to be tough for your employees to get into the “party spirit” if they don’t get out of their usual environment. This means you’ll definitely want to look into venues OUTSIDE your corporate building or offices.
What type of venue should you look for? That is entirely up to you and your preferences for the party. However, here are a few types of venues to consider:
- Party halls. These venues are dedicated to hosting parties, and they’re accustomed to transforming their blank canvas space into a room dedicated to fun and dancing!
- Out-of-town. Get out of the city and go somewhere new and fresh. You can even make a day of it at some remote venue where your employees can bring their families!
- Activities. Think paintball, laser tag, trampoline parks, shooting ranges, and anywhere people can do something fun and new.
Go for a venue that is fresh and different to make this Christmas party one to remember!
DON’T SKIMP OUT ON THE FOOD AND DRINK
As much as you want to believe your employees are at the party for the sake of company morale, really they’re there just to kick back and relax. You can be certain that a good number of them are there because they’re looking forward to eating and drinking on the company dime.
So give them what they want! Choose a caterer that provides delicious, high quality food. Don’t try to wow your employees with too-fancy dishes, but give them the kind of fare they enjoy. Make it a party for THEM, so give them the food and drink they are looking forward to–and plenty of it!
HAVE SOMEONE MANAGE THE EVENT
You are going to have to have someone in charge of not just coordinating and setting up the event, but also running things during the party itself. The party committee may want to give one person the job of keeping things running smoothly, or you can hire a day-of coordinator to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.
You may not think this is necessary, but it absolutely is! There are so many things that can go wrong (with equipment, food, drink, entertainment, serving staff, the guests, facilities, etc.), so you need someone on hand who can handle any trouble as it arises.
SEND OUT INVITATIONS WELL IN ADVANCE
People begin to make their Christmas and holiday plans once they know when the last day of work is. Some plan to leave town the minute they get off work, while others leave a day or two later.
If you want everyone to attend the work Christmas party, you need to get the invitations out as soon as possible–before they make their holiday plans. Start planning the event earlier in the year (September or October).Send out invitations no later than mid-November. This will ensure the Christmas party is a factor in all your employees’ plans.
HIRE THE RIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Most party planners immediately think to hire DJs or a band, but if your employees aren’t keen on dancing, why not consider hiring an acting troupe, a stand-up comedian, a comedic magician, or some other unique form of entertainment? Try thinking outside the box to make this Christmas party fun and fresh!
DJNI can offer you the perfect Christmas party solution. We offer you a complete event service–providing everything from searching out a unique venue to quality catering to top-rated entertainment. Not only do we provide party-planning services. We’re more than happy to help you plan a party that your employees will be talking about for years to come.