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10 essential tips for planning a company Christmas party.

Santa Clause sitting on a deck chair with his feet on a sandy beach. Image for blog encouraging companies to plan your office christmas party early.

Did you know the best time to start planning a corporate Christmas party is in the summer months? A good Christmas bash, whether it’s a low-key dinner, lavish company-wide party, or experiential event, will leave a lasting impression on your employees or clients.

In this blog post, we’re going to share with you 10 valuable tips to help you plan a Christmas party to remember (hazily or not…).

1. Define the purpose.

Before diving into the venue, catering, and dress code, determine the purpose and objectives of the event. Are you looking to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year, turn a new leaf, or reward your employees with a chance to bond outside the office? Clearly defining the purpose rather than brandishing it “just a Christmas party”, will help guide your decision-making throughout the planning process.

2. Set a realistic budget.

Spoiler alert, a realistic budget is not going to be the same as last years. This year, inflation has made its way into the events industry and costs for hotels, venues, catering and suppliers have increased across the board. Determine the funds available and allocate them wisely across your event elements. Managing a well-planned budget ensures you can create an exceptional experience without overspending.

3. Choose the right venue.

Consider where your audience is travelling from, do you want it to be near the office, will a venue further afield discourage attendance, or perhaps a local one would be too boring for your crowd? Understanding your audience is key, so consider them at every operational touch point, and ensure the venue reflects the theme and ambiance you want to create for the event.

4. Embrace a festive theme…one way or another.

A captivating theme is a must for shaking people out of the ordinary and into the Christmas spirit. Easy wins are the likes of winter wonderland or alpine ski lodges or go avant-garde like we did last year and throw the most ‘un-Christmas’ Christmas party ever. We organised a music festival instead, where sequins and glitter were still most welcome. Whatever the theme, let your creativity shine through in the decorations to create that magical atmosphere.

5. Craft a detailed event project plan.

If you’ve got the capabilities in-house, ensure you create a comprehensive project plan for the event to avoid any last-minute chaos. Allow sufficient time for each task and keep to your deadlines when it comes to sending invites, booking vendors and onsite responsibilities like set-up. If you’re strapped for resources, partner with an Event Management agency to deliver your project to the highest professional standard on your behalf, a wise use of budget.

6. Logical menu selection.

Food is an integral part of any gathering, it’s what people will remember for all the right, or wrong, reasons. Partner with a reputable caterer or plan the menu in-house, taking into consideration dietary preferences and restrictions. Balance holiday-themed dishes with traditional favourites to please everyone's palate.

7. Be inclusive.

The holiday season can be difficult for many people, whether that be due to financial hardships, mental health issues, or simply being sober at a time when drinks are the norm. Try to include as much as you can within the event budget, minimising additional spend for your attendees, and ensure a good range of non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails are on offer, so everyone feels included.

8. Provide entertaining delights.

Even if you’re just planning a simple social gathering, entertainment adds a vibrant touch to any event. For small occasions, think table magicians or minigolf, and for larger events plan live music using local artists, support a local up-and-coming DJ, or arrange a holiday-themed performance to keep the spirits high.

9. Plan engaging speeches.

If your event involves speeches by company executives, make them engaging and concise. Prepare in advance, rehearse, and keep the content lively to captivate your audience. Remember to highlight the achievements and milestones of the year using a top and tested sound system.

10. Express gratitude with sustainable gifts.

Doing so, with sustainability at the forefront. Show appreciation to your employees or clients with thoughtful tokens of gratitude that align with your company values and a sustainable future. Personalise high-quality items, give experiential gift-cards to cut down on material waste, and avoid single-use items at all costs.

Careful attention to detail, creativity and advanced planning is all required for a successful corporate Christmas do. Following these 10 tips will ensure you’re well on your way to organising a memorable event that brings joy to your workplace.

If you do need to enlist the help of professionals, we’re just one call away and can help you to create the perfect atmosphere, ensuring your guests have an unforgettable experience, all whilst generating tremendous savings on costs.

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