12 Things To Never Forget When Planning Your Holiday Party

Page 1

The holiday season is quickly approaching, so it's time to start party planning. Most office party planning is done by employees who love merriment and the Christmas season and volunteer their free time to organize a company holiday party. If you fall into this category, that means you're not a professional party planner... and that's okay! Planning a Christmas party doesn't have to be elaborate and stressful, especially if you start early.

If you're throwing a party for your employees and their families or just want to celebrate the season with your direct team, here are 12 things to remember when planning holiday parties. You'll also find some great tips and tricks for seasonal activities and refreshment.

Choose a date that works for (almost) everyone

You're probably not going to be able to find a date and time that work for everyone... but do your best to choose a party date that can accommodate as many people as possible. Consider sending an email survey to find out when people will be out of office for their own holiday plans, and their preferred date and time for a company party. One of the busiest weeks of the year for venues is the week before Christmasso if you're targeting one of those dates, lock in a venue quickly. Otherwise, any week in December is usually a safe option if you book early, or you can wait until after the holidays are over and theme your event for the new year.

You could also consider having the company holiday party during work hours so more people will be inclined (and able!) to attend. A lunchtime celebration can be more budget-friendly, too! If you're having the party after hours, encourage employees to bring their partner or spouse. They'll be more likely to come and have more fun socializing when they can bring their own guest.

Find the right venue

Nobody wants to go to a company holiday party at a stuffy steakhouse or an eatery that's already in the lunch rotation when they go out with family or friends. Entertainment Venues and Family Entertainment Centers can be incredible options and will be able to help with setting up, choosing menus, and fun activities to keep everyone engaged and having a blast. A location like this will be extra-memorable for your employees & they'll love getting to try somewhere new. When you're looking for a venue choose one that has flexible seating, room to network and mingle, and if you can… one of the most popular holiday party trends now is finding a place with activities and bonding opportunities to get people interacting. Laser Tag and Go-Karting anyone???

Get the word out

Make sure your holiday party is top of mind, so people don't forget about it! Email a calendar invite to your guest list, make a social media event, or take it old school with printed invitations and flyers around the office. Does your company use a messaging tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams? Create a channel for this year's company holiday party where folks can ask questions and find answers.

Choose a theme - and stick to it

Choosing a theme for your holiday party will make it easier to shop for decor, order refreshments, and plan activities... just make sure everything ties back to your theme! If you're going for a Winter Wonderland theme, maybe choose glittering blue and white decor, like snowflake centerpieces and icicle lights. Looking for a family-friendly party theme? Santa's Workshop could be a great theme option - find a few volunteers to dress up as elves, use wrapped gifts as centerpieces, and organize a game of toy trivia.

Plan some party activities

A great holiday party needs more than mingling... so think of a few activities for people to participate in. Here are some interactive ideas that all of your guests are sure to enjoy - if you're going to do a few games, don't forget to offer prizes for the winners!

Everybody loves a prize.

If you choose a place with activities built into the experience, then you are all set . If not…

• Cookie decorating, Christmas tree decorating or Gingerbread houses

• Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange

• Christmas movie trivia or holiday bingo

• Guess the Christmas song

• A photo booth or karaoke machine

• Holiday scavenger hunt or gift wrap relay race

• Door prize raffle

o (this should be a huge chance to get your vendors and company partner to donate prizes and gifts for you to give away)

Set a Schedule

Once you've decided what activities you want to offer at your holiday party, make a schedule - and distribute it to everyone. If people can only pop in for part of the party, this will ensure they can come for the part they're most excited about.

Let people know when food is being served, when laser tag is starting, and when the gift exchange will occur. And for the day of the party, delegate someone as the emcee to make announcements and keep things moving.

People leave holiday parties not because of the party, they leave because the party gets boring, and they don’t know what fun stuff is planned.

No one wants to be the person who missed Susan driving the go-kart like Jimmy Johnson because they did not stick around.

Serve a variety of eats for everyone

Speaking of food... make sure you have enough (and enough of a variety!) for everyone. It's usually best to keep things simple with finger foods and small portions. Plan for an assortment of food, including alternative options for people with dietary restrictions and food allergies and ensure the food stations are continuously replenished throughout the event.

Buffet style is typically best for large events, but if you're going for more of a cocktail party vibe, consider splurging for some passed appetizers. And don't forget about dessert! Keep it traditional with Christmas cookies and candy canes, or order a bakery cake that matches your party theme. When it comes to beverages, make sure to offer a thoughtful selection of non-alcoholic beverages in addition to wine, beer, and spirits. Bonus points for a DIY hot chocolate bar, punch bowl of eggnog, or a hot spiced apple cider carafe!

Get some elves

You can't do everything by yourself... so don't be afraid to ask for help. You'll be grateful to have someone to help you hang Christmas lights, assemble centerpieces, and rearrange the space to make it work for your event. Another advantage of hosting an event at an entertainment-based venue is that there's a staff to handle setting up and breaking down. Share a floor plan with them so they can see your vision and help bring it to life!

At the end of the event, don't feel bad about asking partygoers for help cleaning up if you need it - the venue will take care of the heavy lifting, but your team can help with the small stuff. Asking attendees to take a centerpiece on their way out or throw away their dinnerware is another way to minimize your clean-up time.

Make a playlist

Background music can often be forgotten about or overlooked during the holiday party planning process. But the right playlist can really set the tone for the event! Set aside some time to curate a playlist for the party or ask an aspiring DJ at your office to put something together. And you don't have to only play holiday music. We all love Mariah Carey, but by the time Christmas rolls around, most people are tired of hearing the same holiday hits on the radio. So, try to make a playlist that's a thoughtful mix of Christmas classics and contemporary tunes. If your party is themed to a particular decade, choose music that fits the decade, mixed in with more contemporary hits.

Take photos & get social

Even if you have a photo booth, make sure someone is documenting the whole event! Whether you have the budget to hire a photographer for a few hours or ask a few people to take photos on their iPhones, it will be great to capture those fun memories. Create an album to share internally and strengthen team spirit or post it on your company's social media to show off your amazing culture.

Pass out party favors

If your company gives out a corporate holiday gift each year, the Christmas party is a perfect place to pass those out. Otherwise, if it's in your budget, put together a small party favor for folks to take home on their way out. Go back to the vendors and ask for gifts… many will say yes!!

This could be something as simple as a pine tree-scented candle, some homemade chocolate peppermint bark, or a company-branded T-shirt.

Enjoy your hard work!

You put time and energy into planning a party for your coworkers and their friends and families - enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Don't stress about day-of details... chances are, no one will notice that you ran out of Chardonnay or didn't buy enough centerpieces. They'll be having too much fun celebrating, and they'll be grateful that someone went to the trouble to plan an event at all.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.