It might seem like Christmas has only just been and gone, but as a self-confessed team of planning perfectionists we’re all about staying on top of the festive season. This means that as far as we’re concerned, the time to start thinking about putting together a Christmas do is right about now.
Planning a festive get-together can often seem overwhelming, especially if your guest list hits double digits. And no matter how far away December 25 seems, it always seems to sneak up at the very last minute. Trust us, we know. Thankfully, with a little strategic planning throwing a Christmas party doesn’t have to be a headache. On the contrary, it can be a hugely rewarding experience, especially when everything goes down without a hitch. Cheers to that!
So how can you pull it off? Here’s our guide to planning a corporate Christmas party that sparkles, in 12 easy steps.
Set the date
The Christmas period can see calendars get pretty hectic, which is why it’s important to set the date ASAP. Before you’ve even started thinking about catering, venues and decorations take the time to choose a date, and let your employees know about it. Planning in advance will give you plenty of time to switch things up if people can’t make it.
Create a budget
Our advice? Don’t scrimp on the things that matter. No one likes a Christmas Grinch, so use your budget wisely and make your staff feel as special as possible. It’s best to create a budget as early as possible, so you don’t get carried away with planning and set your heart on something completely unrealistic.
Another initial planning stage is to define what type of Christmas party you want to throw. Will it be extravagant or budget friendly? A daytime or evening affair? Are partners invited, and what’s the dress code?
If you don’t like the idea of a traditional dinner and drinks scenario, why not get creative and come up with a unique twist? There are endless options to choose from, with city cruises, theatre nights, Christmas themed cooking workshops and weekend getaways some of our favourites.
Book the venue
Just like the summer wedding season, Christmas party venues fill up fast. For this reason we’d advise booking a venue as soon as possible, then following up with the rest of the planning. Fridays and Saturdays will be more expensive than their weekday counterparts, however staff productivity will likely be compromised if you opt for the latter – a word of warning!
Make it sparkle
It’s Christmas, so make an effort to throw a party that sparkles! You can go all out with a quirky Christmas theme, or keep things simple and elegant with subtle décor in metallic tones.
Serve up a storm
There’s no doubt about it – food is an integral part of the Christmas party experience. If you’re outsourcing to a venue food packages may be included, but if you’re putting together an event from scratch you’ll need to source a caterer. Quality varies immensely, so be sure to do your research before settling on a chef. Given the latest trends, it’s also essential to offer vegetarian and gluten free options.
Make a toast
Drinks are the heart and soul of most Christmas parties, so we’d strongly advise factoring at least some booze into your budget. Arrival drinks are a great way to get the party started, with mulled wine, winter Pimm’s and Christmas cocktails all setting the mood.
Get everyone into the Christmas spirit by taking the time to publically thank attendees for all their hard work over the year. The Christmas party itself is the reward, while a verbal ‘thank you’ serves as recognition.
Send out invitations
Just because it’s a corporate party, it doesn’t mean that your Christmas do shouldn’t be given the attention it deserves. As the date looms closer issue guests with official invitations requesting their presence. It’s always fun to get creative with paper invites, however ecofriendly offices may prefer to issue digital versions.
Don’t lose purpose
Ultimately, the underlying goal of a Christmas party is to reward your staff for all their hard work throughout the year. This means that food should be high quality, drinks should be flowing and good vibes should be a given.
The finishing touches
Every Christmas party is different, and it’s important to come up with an event that fits the individual needs of your business. Depending on budget, theme and scope, you can customise your event to create something utterly unique. From small gestures like hiring a professional photographer and handing out goodie bags and to extravagant treats like private transport and complimentary accommodation, make your office Christmas party your own.
Need help planning a Christmas party that would put the likes of Fortune 500 companies to shame? Get in touch with our expert team to chat about all things festive.