8 tips for planning an awesome office Christmas Party

| December 16, 2019

Most of us look forward to the annual office Christmas party. But for those nominated to organise it, it can be a worrying time of the year, especially if event organising is a whole new experience. Christmas parties can be so much more than just a party. They can be a rare social occasion to relax with work colleagues or a means to thank the staff for a successful year. Here are eight tips to consider when planning your works Christmas get-together.

Consult with your workmates. Sounds a bit obvious, but there are four main things to be decided before anything else. Where, when, cost, and numbers.

Choose where the party will be held

Keep costs down by having the party in the office or warehouse after working hours. Or splash out and book a local bar, restaurant, or a large event venue.

Arranging the date for your party

Ask guests the most convenient dates they can attend. We all have commitments outside office hours. Knowing in good time when the party is to be held allows for any necessary arrangements to be made.

Organising the party budget

In many instances, the boss, or company CEO, will cover the cost of the party, the buffet, or Christmas party drinks. Other offices collect a small weekly amount throughout the year to cover the cost and adjust the itinerary accordingly. If it’s a last-minute idea, you need to know how much everyone can afford to contribute, before starting to plan.

Time to crunch the numbers

Numbers of those attending are notoriously difficult to nail down. Everyone says yes, and then the numbers start to drop as the chosen date approaches. Are partners to be included, or suppliers or main clients invited? You need a ballpark figure to work on and err on the side of over, rather than under.

Decide whether to have a formal or informal party

Cost and numbers will obviously have a bearing on the type of party you intend to organise. It could be an intimate restaurant party for four or six staff, a large formal event with five or six-course menu and entertainment, or a more casual buffet party, where guests mingle with friends and colleagues.

Fix the dress code

If the Christmas party is to be a formal company event to promote business and entertain clients and suppliers, lounge or dinner suits may be the order of the day for gentlemen, and cocktail or evening dresses for the ladies. Be sure everybody knows the dress code. Even if the party is a casual buffet, ensure everyone knows what is and isn’t acceptable. Jeans, trainers, and tee-shirt, or chinos, shoes, and a smart casual shirt.

Decide on food and beverage

Before contacting restaurants or caterers, you need to know if any vegans or allergy sufferers are included in the numbers. The majority of caterers will provide a menu of meat, veg, and sandwich fillings, for guests to choose their preferences.

Nobody wants to be a party pooper, but alcohol can prove problematic anywhere. Consider choosing low alcohol wines and beers, and low alcohol wine for your mulled wine punch. Cocktails are a great way to offer low alcohol spirits, without detracting from the overall flavour. Choose a small range of cocktails to suit all tastes. The Moscow Mule cocktail is a vodka-based drink growing in popularity. Other Christmas favourites are the whisky-based Pear Treacle cocktail or the universal Margarita.

The party’s over

Finally, getting home. If your office Christmas party is to be held out of town, hiring transport (mini-buses or coach), there and back is a good idea. Even at a venue in town, having the numbers of a couple of reliable taxi firms will help your colleagues get home quickly and safely, with lasting memories of a great night out at the firm’s annual office Christmas party.