I know this seems VERY early to talk about but putting plans in place early for your office team’s Christmas party is the key to stress-free planning.
I work with a select number of corporate companies in Norfolk to create a bespoke Christmas party experience for their team. Outsourcing the party planning is a shrewd move for company managers as it means their team’s valuable time doesn’t get swallowed up and the planning become a distraction from their core tasks, it also means they can be guaranteed their costs are expertly managed by tapping into the extensive knowledge of how to plan successful, on budget events that a professional party planning would have. Having a professional organise your Christmas party also means that the party will be fun, entertaining and stress-free. So what are the steps to creating a Christmas party, if you are going to keep the task in-house?
How to Plan Your Team’s Christmas Party:
- Set a Budget! It is so important to calculate how much you have to spend. Quite often venues will offer a price per head for such an event. This will vary massively depending on the type of party you have in mind and the number of employees attending. For example, do you want dinner and some dancing or more of an activity based event like cocktail making, or what about just drinks at a chic bar? The choice is yours but consider the style of event you favour when you set your budget.
- Pick a date. Having the party on a work night can be an easy option to make sure that the maximum number of employees can attend but be prepared for the day after the party to not be massively productive! TOP TIP: don’t book any important meetings for the day after the Christmas party either!
- Select your venue. There are loads of options for this and if you are planning your Christmas party in-house then think about finding a venue which has an easy, done-for-you package. If you are a small company there are hotels which run large parties where you can join many other businesses for a larger, more atmospheric party. If you are able to employ the services of a professional party planner you will find they have contacts which will allow them to secure some original and creative locations which may be slightly more work but will deliver a more memorable event. There is also the likelihood that using an event planner you will get the benefit of their cost-saving advice and savvy negotiating. TOP TIP: read the small print of what your chosen venue will allow, eg they may have a set cost per head for drinks or require a certain spend at the bar during your party and what are the consequences if this isn’t met, do they let you decorate, what access to the venue will you have ahead of the party for preparations?
- Pick a theme. If you are creating something from scratch in a venue just for your colleagues and team then consider building the party around a theme, whether it’s something like James Bond or a colour, there are loads of options – try Pinterest for some inspiration. It needs to have the wow factor, otherwise you may as well just go out to a restaurant for a nice dinner!
- Pick you entertainment. Booking entertainment will be the difference between a fun night and a flop so pick wisely! Having a great band that gets everyone up and dancing is a brilliant way to entertain everyone but make sure the genre of music the band plays is suitable for your guests! Having broad appeal and a little bit cheesy is usually the most appropriate for large crowds of varying ages. You may want to think about having the music to fit with your theme to tie it all together and create more of a wow factor for your event – remember it is all in the detail and spending time putting thought into elements like this will certainly help create a memorable party. Before the dancing kicks in you may want to think about having some other form of entertainment, what about creating a festive vibe with a Santa’s grotto or offering sleigh rides? Maybe having a caricaturist or close-up magician circulating amongst the guests could be fun?
- Will there be food? Maybe this is included in your venue fee in which case you may just need to make some simple selections from a pre-made menu but if not then you have the freedom to decide what you provide. If there is alcohol involved at your party then I would certainly recommend having some food available. It needn’t be a three course meal, maybe bowl food or a buffet would be more appropriate, or, an indoor BBQ!? Maybe having a grazing table or a dessert table for guests to nibble at over the course of the party would be fun or an abundance of tasty canapés? Make sure you pick a style of food which is appropriate for your guests and that fits with your theme. You also need to understand if there are any dietary requirements amongst your guests as this will need confirming to the catering team.
- Send out the invitations. There are many ways of communicating with your team the plans, a simple email, an electronic invitation (this is a great option as you can then automatically track replies and dietary requirements at the same time), or with paper invitations. Make sure everyones knows all the key bits of information, so start time, location, any transport that is provided, parking details, end time, provide taxi numbers so people can pre-book their return journeys, let them know if there is a specific dress code and if the theme of the party requires guests to dress a certain way. I also advise letting guests know what the company is providing and what they will be expected to contribute towards, so say for example if each guests receives two drinks then the rest they have to pay for themselves – make sure they know in advance. Having a contact person to RSVP to is also useful so someone can field any queries and also a date by which RSVP’s must be given. In some situations it may also be worthwhile reminding your team of the conduct that is expected of them as it is still classed as a work function and they will be representing your company in public, certain expectations of behaviour may need to be heeded.
I think it is such an important part of the working year, having a Christmas party where everyone gets the opportunity to kick back and let off some steam that your team deserve a well-planned, thoughtful and well-executed party. If you feel like some professional help would benefit you and your team then my bespoke party planning service may be perfect for you. More details can be found here about my party planning and event service in Norfolk but drop me an email and we can arrange a quick chat about how I can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.