Planning a Company Christmas Party

With Your Holiday Cheer Intact!

woman wearing a Santa hat and holding a bottle of wine

Planning a company Christmas party can be stressful or a breeze. We vote for the breeze, and you can too. Just follow the blueprint below.

1. Start early. Planning the office Christmas party should start weeks in advance; 4-6 months is preferred. The day after the last one is over is not too early either!

2. Create a work group. It's always good to be able to delegate tasks to other helping hands. Have someone take care of the music, another someone do all of the research on good venues and available dates, yet another person take care of food and drink. When planning a company Christmas party, there's always plenty of work to spread around with these kinds of shindigs.

four people of varied ethnicities, all wearing Santa hats

3. Know your audience. Really think about it. How old are they? Are they mostly men, women, or an equal mix? What do they like to do when they aren't at work? Do most of them live nearby or do they commute? The answers to these questions will affect everything when you're planning a company Christmas party.

4. Select the date and time. Do not make it the week before the holidays unless you don't want everyone to attend. When planning a company Christmas party, it's best to go for a date earlier in December. If you really want to make sure all can attend, the first 2 weeks in January are a great time. You get kudos for understanding the stress and strain of the pre-holiday partygoer, and of course for being so smart. Consider brunches, luncheons, cocktail hours, and dinners—any and all are appropriate.

5. Create a budget. There's a word you hate to hear, but it's a necessary evil. Spend your money on what's important to your guests. Is it the venue, the food, the booze, the decorations, maybe a gift for each guest, or sponsoring a family for the holidays in their names?

a group of partygoers, toasting each other with glasses of champagne, all wearing Santa hats

6. Determine a theme. Ideas for company Christmas parties are varied and may be determined by the venue. Cocktails in an art gallery, Santa hats contributing to the gaiety? Hot chocolate on a house tour that ends at a restaurant with a roaring fire? Laser tag with inflatable jousting and volleyball at a sports club, beer and soft drinks included? Or will you create your own theme by turning a cafeteria into a snow globe with fake snow, a winter village, and twinkling lights?

7. Select the venue. It has to be within your budget, of course. Visit the location to confirm it's what you want, and negotiate payment before you book it. To determine where you're having the party, define your guest list (just employees, employees and spouses, employees and their families?) to get an idea of how many people you need to accommodate. And do take pictures of the venue so you can accurately remember the space.

8. Nail down the music. First step is to decide if music will be in the foreground for dancing or background for conversations as you go about the task of planning a company Christmas party. You don't need a big budget for music these days, but if you have the dough for live music, let the auditions begin.

And don't just listen to a CD. Listen to the bands play live because not only do you want to hear them, you want to get the full picture by seeing them as well. Same goes for DJs. It's really good to go see them at other venues and check out how they go over with the crowd. No money for live entertainment? No iPod with speakers is the perfect standby, and then you absolutely get the music you want.

wrapped boxes with ribbons and bows, as well as glass Christmas balls

9. Lay out the activities. Corporate Christmas party games may be determined by your venue. The venue may have its own activities built in, but if not, consider some sort of activity that gets everyone involved.

A book swap is perfect for this. Have each guest bring a festively wrapped book that they've already read. The juxtaposition of the paper and bows with the books are part of the fun. It can be a trashy novel, a great piece of literature, a cookbook, a children's book, or a book of comics—anything and everything, the more variety the better.

Going alphabetically by first name, have the first person select a book and open it. The next person can either take that book (and as it goes on, any opened book) or unwrap a new one. If the person whose turn it is takes someone else's opened book, that person gets to open a new one. This goes on until everyone has opened a package. It's fun to see what everyone wants and what no one wants to take even for free!

10. Make invitations. OK, we all know email is easy, but really, can't you do something better than that for the Christmas office party? When planning a company Christmas party, the invitations don't have to be elaborate or overly time-consuming. Make old-fashioned snowflakes out of white copier paper with the what, where, and when printed around the edges. Or hand out gingerbread men with attached oversized printed holiday tags containing all of the party information.

Return from Planning a Company Christmas Party
to Christmas Office Party Ideas

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