8 Tips to Plan an Office Holiday Party for 2018

Get Started with these 8 Holiday Planning Tips for your Company Party

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and before you know it, our social calendars will begin to feel as bloated as our post-holiday bodies (the truth hurts, I’m sorry). But this isn’t about the latter. January is still a long ways away.

We’re here to help you, the business warrior, who still hasn’t gotten around to planing the company holiday party. There’s still plenty of time for you to plan an epic event that your employees will enjoy. We’ve got some useful tips to get you started.

Set up a Party Planning Team

If you’re a business owner or manager, your hands are probably full with real work. Do you really want to take on the burden of planning a party? Unless you’ve considered event planner as an alternate career choice, you’re probably better off choosing a team who can help.

Ask for volunteers. There are always a handful of employees who usually get excited at the idea of planning parties. When you have a group of people working together, a lot more can get done. Plus it’s a great way to nurture some cooperative team-building skills (or something like that). The point is, get help!

Pick your Party Style

This is a big one. Do you want to make this formal or casual? Will it take place during office business hours or will you host it on the weekend?

First and foremost, decide how fancy or how casual you want your company party to be. Your theme depends on your company culture and other factors such as employees availability. Are most of your employees busy parents who barely have time to sleep or do they live by a “work hard, play hard” motto? Knowing this information can help you decide on an appropriate theme, and more importantly, selecting the right time to have the event. You don’t want to go all with your planning only to hold your party on a day and time when everyone is busy. Also, having the right theme can help you decide on the proper dress code or lack thereof.

Decide How Much You Can Spend

Now that you have an idea of what type of party you want to have, you can decide on a budget. Your party planning committee can help by allocating a specific amount for each item you’ll need.

If you’re planning a large corporate event and have an accounting department, you can get them involved by producing stellar graphs and spreadsheets that will terrify the rest of the mathematically-challenged population.

Pick a Location

Will you have your party at the office or will it take place off-grounds? If you’re planning a more formal event chances are you’ll have to choose an appropriate venue, which also means you need more time to prepare. You probably have many options for places. However, keep in mind that many event venues get booked far in advance. Make the calls or plan your visits as soon as you can so that you find something that’s available. Although this may be impossible, depending on the where your employees live, try to pick a location that’s relatively convenient for everyone. If most of your employees live far from work and have long commutes Monday through Friday, they probably don’t want to make the same drive on a Saturday night. Make it easy on them by choosing a venue that’s closer to home.

If your party will take place at the office, make sure you have space and resources to host the type of holiday party you want to have.

Choose Some form of Entertainment

The last thing you want is an event where everyone is staring at their phone probably looking at images on Instagram of their friend’s much…MUCH better holiday party. We’re not talking a Spice Girls Reunion here (yes, the rumors are real), but something to keep your guests entertained. Entertainment can mean the obvious things like booking a band or DJ, but if your budget is smaller, having some games or prizes is a great way to keep things going. A White Elephant exchange is a popular option. No matter how silly, your employees will want to walk away with something in their hands, except for re-gifted scented candles. Don’t be that person

Choose Food that Everyone Can Eat

Choose your menu wisely. This goes back to our earlier point of knowing your employees. You work with them every day and know more about them than you realize, including their diet preferences. Although some may be shy to tell you, the truth is that anyone who follows a specific diet or has a dietary issue will always appreciate it when someone thinks of them ahead of time and accommodates to their needs. It’s always nice when everyone can eat the food and not just some.

Although potlucks can be great for in-office parties, some of your employees may not feel too thrilled about making enough potato salad for 30 people. Don’t place more burdens on them. Instead, opt for catering. Many restaurants and caterers are used to receiving special requests such as gluten-free and vegan options. Food requires preparation, setup, keeping it warm, serving it, and cleaning after it’s all over. Why not let someone else do the work.

Decorate with Lights

Whether you’re hosting your event at the office or a venue, make sure the place looks warm and festive. Sure, balloons and other decorations from your party supply store will work just fine, but you can step it up a notch by experimenting with lighting. Christmas lights (or any other form of string lighting) are cheap and make a big difference. If you have your party inside the office, adjust the brightness by dimming down the main fluorescent lights and adding more string lighting.

Enjoy the Party

Now that all is said and one, it’s time to let loose and enjoy the fruits of your labor and those who contributed to making it all possible. Relax, mingle, and enjoy your work family. They’ll appreciate you for it.

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