So you got stuck with the little task of organising the office Christmas party? You may be rejoicing or resenting it, but either way, you’re here and chances are that if you are reading this post, you don’t have the party-organising ninja skills. Don’t fret! The corporate Christmas dinner doesn’t necessarily have to be the night where all of your co-workers wished they were somewhere else and Ryan from sales makes fun of your drunken state. Take it as an opportunity to get to know your teammates and to give them a unique event they’ll remember for the right reasons, even if it’s because everyone wore silly custom jumpers. A little resourcefulness and creativity can go a long way.
How to organise the best Christmas party ever
Here are a few suggestions on how to organise your Christmas Party:
Figure out your budget
This is the first thing you need to do, without a doubt. Once you’ve figured out your budget, the following decisions will be much easier. If you need help creating a budget, here are a few tidbits from your good ol’ friend Oprah that might help.
Set the date
And do it early! December is a very busy month. People do not only have to assist the office Christmas party, but also attend their children’s plays (if they’re parents), plan their own dinners, travel (if they’re visiting family), go to the occasional winter wedding and buy presents, on top of all that! Plan two months in advance, if you have to. Send a “save the date” early enough to ensure most of your guests’ attendance.
As for the day, that’s up to you. The most popular seem to be Thursdays and Fridays, but coming from personal experience, I think the best day is a Saturday. A party anywhere between Monday and Friday means that your co-workers have to show up after a long day of work. I don’t know about you, but I don’t personally fancy having to spend the evening with the tired faces I’ve been seeing all day. A Saturday event will ensure people are fresh enough to show up “willingly” and they still have Sunday to rest and be productive on Monday.
My advice would be to keep your co-workers inside the office because nothing says “PARTY” like having a cocktail on the desk where you cried for cancelling the premiere of Spectre with your mates because you had to work a few extra hours. I’m being sarcastic – in case you couldn’t tell. I would actually advise you to do the opposite. A work environment gets people into “work” mode even if they don’t have to work. If you take them out of their usual habitat, you may be nicely surprised with their fresh attitude. Do not underestimate the venue! Unusual venues tend to make for a memorable occasion, but if you go too “out there” you run the risk of becoming the forced-us-to-have-dinner-at-that-place-that-smells-funny-and-is-in-the-middle-of-nowhere person. It is a delicate balance the decision between an original venue and a crazy one, take a look at our top 100 UK venues to get some ideas.
You can go the traditional route and hire a caterer or just go with a restaurant menu. It works and it takes the pressure off coming up with the menu yourself. If you are expecting a large number of people you could hire a food truck or two. Food trucks are very popular right now and they offer a wide variety of dishes and price ranges. If you need more ideas you can check out this post we did a few weeks ago on culinary trends in the events industry.
If you are planning to have your dinner at a restaurant then this is already sorted, if not then you’ll have to do some calculations. A safe bet would be to offer a large assortment of soft drinks, beer and wine, but you might want to throw in the aperitif or digestif cocktail as well since it’s a special occasion. There are several services out there that offer mobile bars for events that you may find useful. Cocktails are not only meant to quench your thirst, they can be a conversation starter and, when prepared by a professional, a feast for the eyes. Whatever you do, make sure there are enough beverages to last until the planned end time. Nothing kills a party faster than running out of alcohol.
If you have the budget for it, you might want to consider hiring a band, a Jazz trio or even a DJ to set the mood. There’s nothing like good music to liven up an event. If hiring an entertainer is not an option, you might want to consider Spotify. All you’ll need is a good set of speakers and a computer. The music streaming platform even lets you create collaborative playlists, which allow more than one person to add songs and edit. This could be a fun team activity where you get to learn about your coworkers’ musical tastes. The final product may be “eclectic”, but at least nobody can complain that they didn’t get a saying.
Create some sort of contest or activity
Secret Santa is great and you can do that, but it also puts a strain on people to buy a gift that they don’t necessarily have time for. A great way to spice up a party could be to plan a lip sync tournament! It’s kind of like Karaoke, but you need less equipment and you don’t have to put up with the terrible singing of Kathryn from HR. Another (and probably less embarrassing choice) could be to plan a board game or video game tournament. Give the winner a special price.
Go the extra mile
People are used to the “typical” Christmas dinner. Give them something unique that they’ll remember in the future. The latest trend in the events industry is to create an immersive experience rather than just a dinner occasion. For example, take a look at what the Spanish company TL3 did with a simple conference of the Vueling airline. What could have been an average PowerPoint presentation, was transformed (thanks to mapping and screens) into a one-of-a-kind visual experience. This is just an idea, your Christmas party does not need cutting-edge technology or a huge budget to be a success. Take a look at this list of tips to bring your presentation to the next level.
Have more tips on how to organise an awesome Office Christmas Party? Then, please let us know. Leave a comment below or reach us through our social media outlet. In the meantime, keep reading the Printsome Blog.
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