5 Steps to planning the ultimate Christmas party

1720685 ZR iStock Xmas party - 5 Steps to planning the ultimate Christmas party

For most people, planning the office Christmas party can seem a dreaded task. It requires a lot of decision making, and you’ll soon discover that suggestions and requests will all seem to contradict one another. With so much responsibility and so much to do, you may not even know where to start. So, if you’re looking to plan the ultimate Christmas party, here are five simple steps that will take the process from complex to cheerful.

1. Decide what type of party you’re after.

Begin by really thinking about the type of party you’re after. First of all, do you want to exclusively hire a venue for a private event, or would you prefer to revel in the festive cheer and attend a shared event? The answer will most likely depend on the size of your company. If you’re expecting a hundred employees to be attending, then a private event is probably your best bet. Meanwhile, smaller companies can benefit from the party atmosphere of joining a shared event. This also means you don’t have to worry about reaching a minimum number of attendees.

Something else worth considering is which type of event will best suit your colleagues. Would they prefer a fancy evening soiree or a casual lunchtime event? Ultimately, you need to decide whether the team is more suited to a lovely meal with a couple of drinks, or the likes of a themed evening of drinks and dancing. If you’re unsure, perhaps enlist the help of a couple of your colleagues to work out the general mood in the office. Just beware of asking too many people and ending up with lots of contrasting opinions. It’s your job to make an executive decision and hopefully cater to the needs of as many people as possible. 

2. Put a date in the calendar.

It’s best to do this as early in the year as possible. That way, people can plan their Christmas leave accordingly, and organise a babysitter if needs be. If you’re considering holding the party in January to save money, it’s a great idea to communicate this to members of the team ahead of time so you don’t have people thinking there won’t be any party at all. It’s also really helpful to have a date in the calendar for your office Christmas party to create a sense of excitement in the build up to the event, as colleagues begin discussion their outfits and guessing what the director will mention in their speech.

3. Work out the budget.

Money is a key factor to consider when you’re planning an office Christmas party. For starters, you need to establish whether the company will be footing the bill or if employees are expected to pay for tickets. Another thing to consider is whether partners will also be invited to the party, or if it’s strictly employees only. After the financial side of things has been worked out, you can move on to plan all of the particulars like which venue will be hosting your party, and what the food and drinks menu will look like. A great tip for making sure you’re staying to budget is to do a mental run through of the event. Imagine yourself at home. How are you getting to the venue; is transportation being provided and will you be arranging it yourself? If you’re wanting to provide a means of getting everyone to the Christmas party, make sure to add this to your list. Next, move along to the start of the party. Will guests be greeted by a welcome drink? If so, make sure to pop that on your list too. Will you be providing cloakroom tokens? That’s another addition to your list. And on you can go, walking through your evening bit by bit until you have a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be financed. Then, it’s simply a case of finding the service to correspond with your list and your budget, and potentially removing things if they aren’t necessary or are too costly to rationalise.

4. Send out invitations.

Once you’ve completed your plan for the Christmas party, it’s time to tell everyone know. Send out invites to all of your colleagues with details of the party plan, and set up an RSVP system. This can involve sending a simple email, filling in a form online or even scanning a QR code, or if you’re feeling particularly tech savvy you could use High quality Personalised Lanyards from Digital ID. Having people RSVP helps with the organisation of the event. For example, it allows you to pre-order people’s food choices and organise the right amount of transport to the venue.

5. Give it a personal touch.

Nothing tells employees that they’re valued by a company more than when you go the extra mile for them. It can also help to make your party extra-special, and have people praising your planning skills.

A Christmas party for a large office may benefit from a touch of organisation. This could involve placing name cards on table, so everyone knows where they’re sitting, or even getting everyone personalised lanyards, to avoid the inevitable moment when someone has a sherry too many and forget the name of a colleague they’ve been working with for years.

If you’re on a tight budget, this doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money. Before the office party, why not send an email around the office asking everyone to vote for the likes of the year’s unsung hero and the individual who has the biggest caffeine addiction. You can make the awards skills based or funny, depending on which you think will go down best. Most likely, it will be a combination of the two. The award itself can be anything from a trophy to a mug, or even a simple certificate. Getting everyone a small Christmas gift to thank them for their hard work during the year can also make people feel valued.

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