1. When budgets are being squeezed, it can be difficult to convince others that a Christmas party is worth holding, however it is an investment in your people’s team spirit, loyalty and morale.
Many staff view cancelling the Christmas party as the last straw. Many companies use this opportunity for the company leaders to address the staff and/or hand out annual achievement awards (before the drink has flowed too much is always best advice!).
This will further add value to the event, as it is a rare opportunity to speak to the whole company.
2. Set a date as soon as possible - Trying to find a date that suits everyone can be difficult especially if you work with a large number of people. Set a date that doesn’t conflict with work commitments and stick to it, the key to getting a full turn out is to give plenty of notice, ideally six weeks, but don’t inform people unless you have confirmed the venue.
3. Remember, there is no rule saying that the Christmas party has to be in the evening. Instead, many businesses prefer to go out for lunch, perhaps somewhere relatively near the office. This can work out significantly cheaper and can make a nice change. Do some research into good restaurants in the area.
4. Decide whether you want to take over a venue for a private party or attend a shared party. For easy organisation find a venue that will provide entertainment too. Choose a venue that is central for everyone and close to transport links so that the journey home for people is as easy and safe as possible. If it’s not, provide transport back to the office as a central point. Line-up taxis beforehand, everyone else wants a taxi at this time of year.
Don’t pay too large a deposit to book. 40% should be the maximum. Never book without visiting the venue first.
5.Are there other businesses in your area with which you have some existing relationship? If so, why not team up for a bumper Christmas party. If you are a group of under 100 guests then you will always get a better party for your money.
If you are over 100 guests you will be able to find good exclusive venues for similar prices and, as long as the venue isn’t too big for your group (always check the maximum numbers it can hold as a guide), then you can get a good atmosphere going with 80 or more guests in the room.
6. Providing food doesn’t have to be expensive, most venues have a set Christmas menu selection and a range of budgets. If the party is in the office, party platters from good sandwich companies or supermarkets are very cost effective. Do however make note of any special dietary requirements of staff.
Decide on a drinks policy beforehand, will the company pay for a welcome drink or the first few drinks only, the whole lot or nothing at all? Make sure staff know well in advance what drinks will or won’t be provided.
7. An all-staff email will usually suffice as an invitation and perhaps a poster in a common area that all staff will see. Follow up with reminders a week before and two days before the event. Make sure you include an RSVP and a menu confirmation deadline if needed. Give people an email reminder a day before the deadline to cut down on chasing staff.
8. Every company has its scrooges so try and create some extra interest as you approach the Christmas party date. Organise a Secret Santa, set a theme and ask people to come in fancy dress or run an award on the night for the best dressed or most festive looking person. Put disposable cameras on the tables and get them developed the next day.
9. If it’s a free bar, ban shots and cocktails and depending on your budget, limit the freebies to a few selected drinks such as beer, wine and house spirits. Ask for jugs of water to be dotted around to keep people hydrated.
Also ensure there is a definite end to the night, so the party can’t go on until the small hours.
10. You can make the Christmas party significantly more enjoyable by giving employees the following morning off. In reality the morning after a party tends not to be particularly productive anyway, and you can boost morale by simply telling people not to come in.