So, you've been asked to plan the office Christmas Party and you're stumped as to where to start? It can feel overwhelming to be tasked with pulling together a shindig for all to enjoy. Depending on the size of your team, you could be catering to the needs of 20 - 200+ people but regardless of the number of guests, the pressure remains the same.
Luckily, the Schlam events team have some hot tips ready to go, which will help you pull off an epic office Christmas Party.
1. Budget - Start with the catering
Before planning any event, you need to know what you can spend. Think about the catering first - after all, a party isn't complete without a full belly and drink in hand! Besides, this will give you a solid indication as to the minimum cost of the event and will allow you to build on from there when considering entertainment and decor.
2. Pick a venue to suit your group size
Once your budget is set the fun part begins - first stop, venue! When looking for a location there are a few things you should ask yourself before reaching out to a venue. How many attendees? Cocktail style or seated? Lunch or dinner? Indoor or Outdoors?
These questions will not only help you determine the style of the event you are after, but they will also help to streamline the initial discussion with your preferred venues - trust me, they will ask these questions themselves so why not beat them to it?
3. There is no such thing as too much food
One struggle that many face when finalising information for the venue is the catering. My main tip would be, the more the merrier! Whilst comments like 'there wasn't enough food' are common to hear, it's very rare to be told there's too much so go ahead, fill them up and avoid the need for a McDonald's drive-thru on the way home.
Make sure to provide a variety of food options so you can easily cater for those with allergies and intolerances. Pre-select a number of vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free items, minimising the number of alternative dishes required. Not only will this assist your venue when they cater for the dietaries, but it will also ensure that all guests feel considered.
4. A Christmas party doesn't always have to be Christmassy
Just like the domino effect, your chosen venue will then help to determine the theme or decor you wish to go for. Of course, the main theme at the end of the year will be Christmas but why not challenge yourself, think of something fun, new and interesting that could keep your peers on their toes and provide that WOW factor they are dying for.
A winery could lend itself to a rustic/country themed event, a glamorous rooftop could be black tie or 1920's and a beach venue could be ... a coastal theme! All we're saying is, the big-bellied Santa doesn't always need to make an appearance.
5. Get everyone up and dancing!
A big part of any event is the entertainment, this will dictate the vibe of the party so it's an area that you really need to invest in. Regardless of how the entertainment starts, it should end in the same way - with every single person on the dance floor! The purpose of the Christmas party is to de-stress and rid yourself of what may have been quite an intense year. What better way to do that than dancing the night away?
So yes, you can start off slow or on theme but make sure to book a band or DJ who will know all the popular songs to get those hips moving. This will be the last memory that everyone will have of the night, so make it count.
6. Create an itty-bitty party committee
The responsibility of planning such an important party that everyone waits all year for is far too heavy for one person alone. This party is your baby and to grow up successful, it needs a village!
We recommend pulling together a small committee and delegating different duties. Consider creating a survey to gather ideas from staff as to what they are looking for. Reflect on the Christmas party that's passed and determine what worked and what didn't.
The most important tip of all is to remember to enjoy the process, parties are supposed to be fun!