What the dickens…? You’ve been asked to organize this year’s corporate party. Before you call the whole thing a humbug and pass the assignment onto someone else, consider the following easy (and fun) Christmas office party ideas. Deck the halls and make an impression this year!
All-Out or Low Key?
One of your most important considerations will be the overall style and feel of your office party. Are you a closely knit grassroots organization of five or six people? A leg of a nationwide corporation? Is your “office” behind a counter, inside a bank, at a school?
Corporate party rule of thumb: have fun…but not way too much of it. In other words, though it’s good (and healthy) to cut loose at least once a year with the people you spend half your waking day with, nobody wants to hear the next morning how he or she acted while, for example, drinking.
But there’s nothing saying you can’t have laughter, music, great food and exceptional company with your, well, company. Here’s how to get the job done.
Where to Hold Your Party
Offices of all sizes love to party outside the corporate environment, so consider renting a hall or room for a larger organization, or making reservations at a restaurant for a smaller group.
Start looking around well in advance of the party (at least six to eight weeks is an ideal time frame). Be flexible—if you just can’t get that posh engagement and stay within the established budget, then you can’t…but you can still have a ball at another location.
For a restaurant locale, ask the management whether they can place your party in a room aside from the other diners so you can feel freer to cut loose, laugh and even dance if that’s on your office party agenda.
On the other hand, if your office has a large conference room or some other open space that will comfortably accommodate the employees, take advantage of the freedom to decorate how you want, hold the party when you want, and feel at ease knowing no one needs to drive in inclement weather to an alternate location.
If this is the option you’re taking…decorate! Grab party supplies that are inexpensive but not flimsy; consider, for instance, buying holiday stockings, personalizing them with glitter glue and putting a handful of candy in each as a party favor. Put up a room roll with a wintry atmosphere and be sure to have plates, cups and utensils that are disposable and fit the holiday mood.
If it’s within the office’s budget, purchase a small Christmas tree and place it in the lobby. Or send an e-mail asking employees to donate a tree they are no longer using. At the same time, ask for donations of ornaments. This will free up your budget for other things, such as food and drinks.
Holiday Potluck – A Low Budget Doesn’t Mean a Small Party
Another way to be economical is to ask each employee to bring in one homemade (or bought!) food specialty. Request that employees submit their choices ahead of time so you can make sure the office isn’t doubling or tripling up on one type of goody and neglecting a category (appetizers, soda, desserts, etc.).
If it’s within budget, locate a reasonable caterer. Be sure this is an establishment that someone in the office (or someone else you know) has already tried—the day of the party is not the time for surprises that may be not-so-good.
With a little preparation and planning, your office Christmas party can be a smashing success. And, psst: don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, recruit one or two coworkers to pitch in and organize the event. You’ll be glad you did!