Planning Your Office Holiday Party

Tips for Planning an Office Holiday Party

Holy smokes! It’s already that time of year, and doesn’t it just fly by? It seems like December was nearly a year away and we had all the time in the world to plan a party, and now we are already into the month just a tad and maybe you are still putting off the planning for your own holiday party? Well, we’re here to the rescue, to help you plan a holiday office get-together that is as magical as your team is!

Why is a Holiday Party Necessary?

While it should be a season of fun and joy, it’s often a season of stress and anxiety. Not only is your team dealing with added family holiday obligations, but many are likely feeling the extra stress of shortened holiday deadlines, end-of-the-year demands, and frazzled coworkers… Yikes! With that in mind, it’s important to take a load off and celebrate this magical time of year with your colleagues and coworkers. A corporate holiday party is a perfect time to reflect on the accomplishments of the year, look ahead at what’s to come, and just enjoy each other’s company. So here are a few ideas to make your Holiday Party ROCK!

  1. Get out of the office.

Everyone loves a field trip, and when a season is as stressful as this one, what better way to recharge than to separate yourselves from all that office brain-chatter; your computer, to do list, and blinking voicemail light. Besides just creating a more festive atmosphere for your team, there are a plethora of benefits of hosting meetings and events off-site, from improving company morale (which in turn reduces health issues and increases productivity) to a much-needed change of scenery. If you plan to go all out for your holiday gathering and have a large guest list, booking a corporate event space or banquet hall with additional audio/visual equipment, parking, and room to move around are a necessity. It may be cheaper to pull something together at your existing office space, but if you really want to make the event special and rewarding for attendees, then an off-site holiday party venue is well worth the price.

  1. Holiday Trivia

Who doesn’t love trivia – or a little friendly competition for that matter! Trivia is a great way to spark some interesting conversations, get people to mingle across departments, and perhaps form some unexpected new bonds. From popular holiday movies and songs to best-selling toys and gifts throughout the years, there are plenty of different directions you can go with holiday trivia, which makes it a versatile activity for any team. 

  1. Unusual Holiday Treats

Everywhere you look, there are decadent sweets all around the holiday landscape – stores, your friend’s house, and even the notorious candy bowl at the front desk. While it’s perfectly fine to indulge and enjoy, it’s also important to keep health and fitness top of mind. If your company has a wellness program or a health-focused initiative, why not put that in the forefront during the holiday season? You could have everyone bring in their best sugar-free, gluten-free, low-fat, or vegan/vegetarian holiday treat for others to sample and enjoy or have a caterer whip some healthy options up. All the holiday goodness with none of the guilt!

This is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight foods from around the world. You’ll find tons of amazing holiday recipes with a simple search, some of which have even evolved into our traditional holiday menu items here in the United States. You can bring these foods together through volunteering in the office, or hiring a caterer.

  1. Gift Rap

Gift wrapping is one of those holiday tasks that many would prefer to avoid. But if you make it into a party with many helping hands, everyone’s load is a little lighter, and the stress a little less. The company can provide wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon, or everyone can bring in some of their own favorite paper to share. Once the supplies are ready to go, turn on some holiday tunes and work together to get all the presents wrapped and ready to go (like Santa’s little elves). You’ll find that local charities and shelters can also use a helping hand wrapping gifts and donations this time of year, so it’s a great way to give back and spread Christmas joy to others who may be less fortunate.

To “wrap it all up”, you can end the party with delicious food and if you’re feeling particularly brave, a little holiday rap session. Just like a karaoke type of deal, encourage coworkers to get onstage with holiday background music and battle it out with each other while creating their own holiday flavored rap lyrics! Belly laughs, guaranteed.  

  1. Create a Local Scavenger Hunt

The neighborhood is always a little extra magical during the holiday season, with festive lights, window displays, food and events, so go ahead and take advantage of it! A scavenger hunt can be a fun and memorable way to celebrate the season and spark some friendly competition with your team. Map out a route around some of the most festive parts of the area, and have a list of items that every team should photograph themselves next to!

  1. Give Back as Team

It’s the season for giving and being thankful, so why not take the time to give back to your community? Bell ringing, food drives, community meals, and other holiday volunteer opportunities are plentiful this time of year and provide a wonderful opportunity for colleagues to bond and help the community at the same time. After you spend some time giving back as a team, you can meet back together to debrief and share stories, insights, and the results of your efforts. If you can’t find a date or organization that works for your team, consider taking at-will donations for a charity during your holiday gathering.

  1. Holiday Painting or Craft Party

What is better than a gift that is truly personal and from the heart? With so many people that are difficult to shop for, or the limited budget with which to use, creating a handcrafted gift is a wonderful way to show someone you care! From ornaments to canvas to glass, there are plenty of painting and craft ideas available online that allow your team members to showcase their creativity and holiday spirit. Not only will they have fun creating their masterpieces, but you’ll have some great photos for social media and some holiday decor to display around the office until the season is over. We love seeing all the smiles and joy it brings! No skill required, just fun!

  1. Host a Guest Speaker or Entertainer

Entertainment is crucial to a party and often serves as the anchor of the event. The holidays are extra special, so they call for extra special entertainment, right? Is there a motivational speaker or a thought-leader in your industry that your colleagues could benefit hearing from? A corporate party is a great time to book that presentation since everyone is looking toward improvements and new beginnings. They’re sure to get everyone fired up and talking about all the changes, improvements, and new ideas to come in the new year.

If that’s not quite your style, then musical entertainment from carolers, a band, or a DJs can also help set the mood and create a festive ambiance for the gathering. Comedians and magicians can also provide some excitement, laughs, and a one-of-a-kind experience for attendees. 

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer