If you have been given the all-important role of Christmas party planner, then we’re sure that you’ll be faced with mixed emotions of excitement and slight worry. With so much responsibility to end the year on a high, it can often be somewhat tricky to know where to begin. To help you tackle the task with confidence and ease, we’ve put together your comprehensive guide on planning an office Christmas party!
Top Tips For Planning An Office Christmas Party
The annual staff Christmas party provides the perfect opportunity for teammates to get to know one another and for new members to get involved. While you may work together day in, day out, enjoying each others company in a more relaxed environment is ideal for building great relationships. Before delving straight into party planning, there are a number of factors that you must consider; each will contribute towards whether your celebrations are a success. Begin your journey by taking a browse through our expert top tips!
Delegate A Party Planner
Choosing an individual who will be in charge of all things Christmas party is vital to ensure that your celebrations run smoothly. There is no harm in getting a group of extra organised, creative employees to help with planning; however, someone will need to take the lead. Without a clear leader, party planning can become incredibly complicated, making the likelihood of necessities being forgotten increasingly higher.
The best candidate for the role will differ based on the scale of your company. Those in a large-scale business may already have a dedicated event planning team; whereas, for smaller organisations, you will need to delegate the task to whoever is happy to take on the responsibility. Keep in mind that the earlier you start planning, the more opportunities that you will have, so choosing the right team for the job in advance is imperative.
Get Feedback On Previous Years
Deciding on a celebration idea that everyone will enjoy can be somewhat tricky. Particularly if you are responsible for planning the Christmas party for a large organisation, you can never quite anticipate how employees will react to your final decision. So, to give you some inspiration on where to begin, why not create a questionnaire and send to all employees?
- Have you enjoyed previous Christmas parties? (Please explain the reasoning behind your answer)
- Are there any previous Christmas parties that you would like to do again?
- What do you think is the most important part of a Christmas party?
- Do you have any Christmas party ideas?
In opting for giving employees the chance to voice their opinion, you can get a good indication on ideas to take a closer look at, along with those that you intend to avoid. It gives you a better chance of planning a festive celebration that employees will genuinely enjoy meaning that money is spent wisely. Always keep in mind that conflicting opinions will be inevitable, so try to group answer to find those that are mentioned the most.
Decide On A Budget
Once you have the perfect party planning team on board and a whole host of fun celebration ideas, its time to start bringing your vision to life. While it may not seem like the most exciting task to begin with, it is crucial to spend time determining a budget. Always ensure that you have arranged a meeting with your line manager or finance team to discuss the potential Christmas party budget. To guarantee that you can gain all of the relevant information to begin planning, we suggest browsing through ideas ahead of your meeting. Put together some estimations for various expenses, so that you can pitch your thoughts during your meeting.
Without a clear budget, it can become easy to fall into a ‘snowball effect’ of extra expenses that you may not necessarily have the money to cover. In setting a budget and allocating a percentage to each aspect of your Christmas party, it will make the rest of the planning process considerably more straightforward. You will know exactly how much of your allowance is set aside for each expense, meaning that you can shortlist options within the particular price scale.
When allocating your allowance, it is essential always to set a contingency budget. A contingency budget is a small percentage of money that is put aside as a ‘just in case’ fund, which covers you in the event of an emergency. It is another simple way to ensure that you never run short of cash when Christmas party planning.
If it is your first time setting and managing an event budget, then we highly recommend taking a look at Smartsheet. The helpful website includes tonnes of free budgeting templates, varying in complexity, which will help you to stay on top of every spend.
Set A Date
It is vital to set the date of your Christmas party as early as possible. Not only will this give you plenty of time to organise your celebrations, but it will also ensure that as many employees as possible can attend. December is often the busiest month of the year, which means that, particularly weekends, become booked up with festivities months in advance. Giving your employees at least two months notice means that, even if you are yet to decide on where you will host your party, you know that they would have scheduled your event in their calendar.
When debating Christmas party dates, late November or early December would be ideal. Some businesses even wait until January when everything has quietened down a little, and there is more availability. In regards to which day of the week is best, Fridays are particularly popular as employees will be able to enjoy the festivities, while still having the rest of the weekend to unwind. If you were hoping to plan your party for a Saturday, then spreading the word in advance is even more critical. People are more likely to make their own arrangements on Saturdays based on convenience, so you want to ensure that you let them know about the party before they schedule other plans. In addition, those who have small children will need to make babysitter arrangements, which again, can be a little trickier over the festive period.
Find The Perfect Venue
Finding a venue that suits your Christmas party theme, holds all of your guests and is within your budget is a challenge. While, in the past, many businesses opted for hosting their celebrations on their work premises, this has become less popular in more recent years. Many aim to steer clear from anywhere ‘work-related’ to ensure that employees can unwind, relax and enjoy an evening of festivities – being surrounded by your daily working environment most definitely will not achieve this.
The time of year will work towards your advantage when venue hunting as almost everywhere provide exclusive Christmas packages for those hoping to plan a corporate event. Christmas packages include a host of great deals, meaning that you’ll be able to find an ‘all in one’ solution for a fraction of the cost. Competitiveness is also incredibly high for venues over the festive period, which means that they’ll all be trying to outdo each other in terms of savings and extravagant party proposals.
Having provided photo booth rental in London for several years, we have been lucky enough to visit a plethora of fantastic venues across the capital for corporate Christmas parties. So, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite venue ideas for those searching for Christmas party inspiration. We’ve specifically picked those that are versatile meaning that they will be great for any business:
- Thames Christmas Party Dinner Cruise, Westminster Pier
- Ice Bar London, Mayfair
- The Deck at The National Theatre, Waterloo
- Sky Garden, Central London
- Circus, Covent Garden
Arrange Transport & Accommodation
Transport is a component of the Christmas party which is often left unconsidered; however, it can make or break whether some employees attend. Particularly if you choose to venture further afield to a venue away from your local area, many may be somewhat dubious about saying yes until they have made transport arrangements. With this in mind, regardless of the location, you choose to host your celebrations, you should always spend time making travel arrangements. Whether you ask everyone to meet at the office and you will arrange minibuses to the venues or you sort out taxis for the end of the evening, everyone will always be able to relax a little more knowing that they can get home safely.
Along with transport, another factor to consider is accommodation. If you opt for booking a venue that is more than half an hour away from the workplace, it is highly recommended to book hotels. Again, the thought of catching trains or driving miles at the end of the Christmas party may put employees off attending. The well-known hotel chain, Travelodge, provides corporate bookings to businesses hoping to reserve multiple rooms. Members of the business scheme can enjoy exclusive savings and benefits which can be redeemed all year round.
Get Food Orders In Advance
To ensure that your Christmas party can run as smoothly as possible with no hiccups, always make food orders in advance. Almost all corporate event venues, including those mentioned in our article, provide catering services for those making group bookings. If possible, request for the menu to be sent over a few weeks before the party date, so that you can get all employees to send over their order. In doing this, you can avoid spending hours waiting for all courses to be delivered to your table as all can be prepared in advance. It may seem like a minuscule detail, but you will be surprised how much it can make your overall experience more enjoyable.
Festive-filled entertainment is vital in throwing a memorable Christmas party that employees will genuinely enjoy. Once you have booked your venue, you can then move onto the fun part and unleash your creative side. Almost we may be a little biased; we can most definitely guarantee that hiring a photo booth will always go down a storm. Not only will a photo booth allow employees to socialise through fun entertainment, but also have keepsakes to take home with them. A whole host of backgrounds are available to help partygoers get into the festive spirit, accompanied by printouts which can be customised to your business. If you’re interested in the endless possibilities for our photo booths in London, then why not take a look at some past events we’ve attended? From working with Canada Goose on their latest collection to celebrating QVC’s 25th birthday, we’ve had tonnes of experience working with leading brands – could yours be next?
For those looking for a solution that is a little more quirky and interactive, we’ve got you covered! Our digital graffiti wall in London puts a unique twist on event entertainment, giving employees the opportunity to design their very own mugs, phone cases, keyrings and many more. Using a large-scale interactive digital wall, employees can utilise the many stencils, paint effects and animations to bring their vision to life. Another super cool way to give everyone a memorable keepsake of this years Christmas party!
Plan A Christmas Party To Remember!
We hope that you have found this guide to be a beneficial source of inspiration, giving you a whole host of ideas on how to plan a truly unique Christmas party. When beginning the process, always remember that preparation is key. The earlier than you can start implementing a structured plan of action, the more straightforward and hassle-free party planning will be!