TOP TIPS for Planning a Corporate Christmas Party

JD Parties, Sarah Keen shares her 9 Top Tips for planning to give your guests the time of their lives!

The office Christmas party is what every employee looks forward to at the end of the year. The Christmas party is a great way of saying “thank you” to your teams.

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 and in the right order, to pull the Christmas party off, without a hitch.

1. Get 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! Find out what is the last official day of work, and schedule the party for that afternoon or evening.

2. Ask for Feedback on the Previous Year’s Party

If you want to find out what people are looking forward to at their Christmas party, why not simply ask them? Draft up a questionnaire with a few simple questions:

  • What was your favourite 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 they like. But 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 feedback and include the elements most people found enjoyable. 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.

3. 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 why not break the mould and try a fun, creative theme:

  • 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!

Or you can always leave it to a professional party company who will do the hard work for you!

Party A Paris – Step inside the glamorous world of Paris. Behind the magic of Montmartre discover a vivid world of glamour, passion and Parisian burlesque where classical décor takes on a contemporary.

Twenties -“The Peaky Blinders are taking over the Manor” – Enter a shadowy world of underground bootleg bars filled with clean-shaven men and flapper girls. Grab your pocket watch, brush off that flat cap, press your flapper dress and fluff up your feathers.

Carnivale – Take part in a riotous celebration of Mardi Gras, Calypso and Samba – an intoxicating Christmas Latin American ‘Carnivale’. Bring red hot Havana, Rio and the dark twist of ‘El Día de los Muertos’ right to your doorstep.

4. Have an Ample Budget

Most organisations 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.

5. Choose a Unique Venue

After a year spent in your office, 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.

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.

6. 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. So give them what they want! Choose a caterer that provides delicious, high quality food. Don’t try to wow with too-fancy dishes, but give them the kind of fayre they enjoy. Make it a party for THEM, give them the food and drink they are looking forward to and plenty of it!

7. Have Someone to 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. Create a party committee but consider giving one person the job of keeping things running smoothly, or hire an event planner 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.

8. Send Out Invitations Well in Advance

People make personal Christmas holiday plans well in advance. So if you want everyone to attend you need to get the invitations out as soon as possible.

9. 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!

Over the past two decades, JD Parties have been providing their clients with legendary parties. Their number one priority is their guests, so their parties are designed to ensure everyone has the time of their lives. Click on their logo to see more.