So, you’ve been put in charge of planning your first company Christmas party. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? There’s the venue, the invites, the food… where do you even begin? Event management can be quite overwhelming.
Actually, Christmas party planning can be quite fun as long as you’ve got a solid plan in place! Before you start panicking over playlists and stressing over starters and desserts, take a look at our top tips to make planning your office Christmas party easy-breezy!
Set a Budget
You’re going to want the most generous budget you can realistically allow for your Christmas party. There’s nothing worse than paying for the venue, the food and drinks and then running out of money before you’ve even arranged entertainment!
We’d recommend working out all the different party costs before you go ahead and book anything; that way, you can keep yourself on track.
Although average Christmas party spend averages around £42 per head, what you choose to spend obviously depends on the size of your business and what you can afford.
A word of warning? Be careful not to spend more than £150 per head, otherwise you might find yourself with a hefty fine from HMRC! You can learn more about reporting social functions and party expenses here.
Set the Date
Christmas is a busy time for everyone – not only will employees be attending your Christmas party, but they’ll also have other commitments around this time of year. By making sure you set a date and communicate it well in advance, you’re giving people the opportunity to plan around your party – meaning they’re more likely to show up!
If you’re a small business with fewer than 50 employees, it might be a good idea to figure out the best date for the majority and go with that.
Book a Venue
Depending on what kind of event you’re wanting to run, you’ll need a different kind of venue. Are you wanting a bar and a DJ, a restaurant for a sit-down meal, or even some kind of combination of the two?
Finding somewhere that’s convenient for employees to get to is going to be key here. You’ll want to think about commuting distance and how well linked up this area is to public transport. The closest city centre is always a good choice, or even somewhere close to work (at least people should be able to find it that way!).
Try a Theme
For a night to be remembered, why not try a theme? People love dressing up – there aren’t many occasions where you’re allowed – never mind expected – to turn up dressed for a masquerade ball or as a pirate.
For a subtler approach, you could try a decade’s theme – maybe the roaring 20s or rock ’n’ roll 60s. Or just keep it classic with a Christmas theme – red and green, or wintry white! The possibilities are endless. The more fun you have deciding on a theme, the more fun your guests will have at the party.
Create and Send Your Invites
Invitations are crucial for your office Christmas party; they include all the key information people need about the event:
- The date & time/curfew
- The venue
- Whether or not there’s a dress code
- The kind of event it is
How you design your invites will set the tone for the event. Whether you choose cheesy, happy reds and greens or sophisticated dark blues and golds will determine people’s first impression of the party. If you do choose a theme, design your invitations to suit it! No design experience? You can create your own invites with our free online tool, or customise one of our professionally made templates.
Organise the Food, Music and Entertainment
Now you’ve set a date, booked a venue and invited everyone, you can get down to the nitty gritty details. At this stage there can be tons of deliberation, should you use Christmas decorations? Should you give everyone a Christmas gift? We think this all depends on the type of corporate event you’re throwing.
For food, popular choices include buffets or a sit-down meal, but that will depend on your venue. If your work Christmas do is taking place at a hotel, remember to enquire about meal options. It’s also a good idea to take note of any dietary requirements so all employees can enjoy the night!
Music-wise, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to hire a DJ or band (which would also double-up as entertainment) or whether you simply want to create your own playlist to have as background noise.
Popular choices include a DJ or band. If you want something a little different, comedians or comedy troupes are always a winner! However if your budget doesn’t allow for you to book acts for the night you could make arrange team building activities or use this opportunity to exchange your Secret Santa gifts.
Once you’ve given yourself a huge pat on the back for organising everything, all that’s left is to keep reminding everyone so they don’t double book (and also to hype up your awesome party).
Create your own posters to hang up around the office and on any noticeboards, send out email reminders, or even start a countdown on a custom calendar. The build up to the big event will make the outcome even more satisfying!
When planning your office Christmas party, it’s important to keep in mind why you’re throwing one in the first place: to give thanks to your employees for all their hard work over the year. It’s also a great opportunity for team building.
Despite this, 60% of employers don’t actually ask how their employees would like to celebrate. If you’re still stuck for ideas, try asking around, call a meeting and come up with some ideas at a team. That way, your party is sure to be a success!