29 September 2016
A Guide to Planning the Perfect Christmas Party
It’s here already, time to really crack on and organise your company Christmas Party. Although it seems like just another company event there is a lot of expectation for this yearly get together and all the little details can become a full-time job for just one member of staff. You can take the stress away by using an experienced event management partner but if you do want to go it alone here are some tips to help:
If you set your budget first you can save so much time choosing venues/themes and making key decisions later down the line. You could also decide what you want elements of the budget to be spent on to stop you from losing focus – is it all about the wow factor, food & drink, do you want to give gifts, is it about entertainment? You decide. Add on abut 20% to your budget for unexpected costs.
Best to get your date in as early as possible; not only to allow colleagues to get the date in the diary but the best venues do get booked up incredibly early. Why not send a save the date before you get all the details finalised to encourage the highest attendance. Smaller companies are also using email polls to check the best date for most guests. January celebrations are also becoming more and more popular so don’t rule this out as an option.
3) Day, evening or all day
Some companies are changing up the standard evening Christmas party in favour of a more family-friendly, team building daytime event. Deciding this early will completely alter your venue choice. It will also depend a lot on budget and the atmosphere you would like to create. As the Christmas party is meant to be to reward colleagues the standard evening event does allow them to have a party and let their hair down!
This is key to organising the perfect Christmas party and can be where an event management partner can really save you time and therefore money. Ensure the venue is easy for all to get to (or supply transport of course!), it works with your theme and can cater for your size of company – request all upfront costs to avoid any last minute shocks! If you have a few venues to research make sure you do a site visit with key members of the organisation team. Venues will also be willing to put dates on hold for you so you don’t miss out on your favourite. For some venues that are still available for Christmas parties 2018 why not read our blog.
Christmas parties are now all about a theme. We have planned everything from era themed events – 1920’s was fabulous to Rock and Roll, Alice in Wonderland, Cirque Du Soleil, Bond and obviously the traditional Santa Claus parties. Whatever you choose, ensure you account in the budget for decoration – getting a theme to really work is all about the small touches – can you incorporate your theme into the music, drinks, invites or food? Do you want to get your guests to wear costumes or provide something to get everyone in the mood when they arrive? A theme can really make your event memorable if you can tie it into your company strategy or future in any way it tends to work even better.
6) Food and Drink
Food and drink is so important and the thing that most colleagues remember from a Xmas event. The biggest error we see is guests not having enough food. Traditionally canapés run out too quickly and guests going home hungry. Decide on what style of food and drink you want your guests to enjoy – do you want a formal event with sit down dinner? An informal buffet which still allows guests to sit or would you prefer roaming food – a lot more sociable. You can do the latter with food trucks, canapé stations or simply bowl food. Don’t forget the drinks as well – no one likes a cheap glass of wine. Why not introduce a welcome cocktail to go with your theme or name it after your company. Midnight snacks are also becoming increasingly popular – we love pizza, doughnuts or mini hog roast!
7) The little touches
These are the things that really make an event – what entertainment are you going to have? This could be as simple as a company made video or could be live music, performers or immersive entertainment. Do you want something your guests can take away – companies are increasingly doing gift bags when guests leave including small tokens like thank you cards for the year with vouchers. Guests also appreciate little touches like photo booths where they can get a moment of the night. Think about how you are going to display your table plan or gifts – our favourite was a Polaroid picture table plan with guests faces.
There is so much to think about for a Christmas Party and with all that investment it is key to get it right. If you are going it alone we wish you the best of luck but if you would like to take the stress away or enquire to how having an event management agency can actually save you money, in the long run, please see our event management page here or enquire below.