CHRISTMAS parties are a highlight of the year for businesses, work mates, social groups and sport teams.
It is a chance for people to gather, discuss the year that has gone and toast the silly season.
For many businesses, it is a valuable time to reconnect with colleagues in a social setting, particularly in 2018 when all those who work remotely have a chance to meet up and have a meal together.
So you’ve got the go ahead from the boss for a Christmas breakup, had a chat about the budget, and whether or not the company is tipping anything in for the festivities.
ALTHOUGH it may be a frightening thought, time is rapidly running out to choose a venue for your work Christmas party.
If you don’t do it soon you’ll be stuck holding it in the office itself, where no doubt computers will be ruined, too many soggy sausage rolls will be consumed and far too many body parts will be erroneously photocopied.
To ensure you get it right, do a quick survey of your co-workers to discover what they liked or didn’t like about last year’s party, bearing in mind you can’t please everyone all of the time.
While you have their attention gather some suggestions for venues and themes. Avoid anything that involves adult entertainment … trust us.
The other item on the initial agenda is whether it will be open to families or just employees.
On one hand it is great to invite everyone and really makes the event inclusive, especially for those who have children and no longer get invited anywhere. It’ll really expand the conversation pool, making it about having fun, and not just a work day with benefits and will also ensure people behave themselves.
On the other, it does limit the type of event you can hold and also where you hold it. If you do go all-inclusive it will need to be kid-friendly and flexible in catering arrangements. Once the type of party and the venue have been established the next Christmas cracker is budget.
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Is it the company’s shout or is there a social club fund which contributes? Or is it an everyone-for-themselves scenario? Are drinks included? And what will the menu be? Buffet? Sit down? Canapes?
Talk to the venue about what they can offer and perhaps secure a deal for a set menu or for a food-and drinks combination. Remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Once the refreshments are sorted, it’s time to consider entertainment.
Let’s face it, workplaces are quite eclectic, bringing together a disparate bunch with very little in common except … yep, work.
So if you want to have a night of fun rather than a night of work mixed with disturbing reindeer and creepy guys in red suits, then you need to put in some thought.
If you are hiring a venue just for the occasion then the options are wide open.
You could have music, anything from a DJ to a string quartet, party games (again see the note on adult entertainment), a photo booth (although this could end up a little like the photocopier), a secret Santa … we could go on and on but … that’s what Google’s for.
Whatever shape or size your festive celebrations take, the key is that everyone enjoys themselves (not too much) and that everyone gets home safely.
FESTIVE FUN: Make sure your Christmas party is everything you want it to be; get planning early to avoid disappointment.
Numbers: Always a moving target, and especially tricky when you have to nail them down for catering, you need a bulldog style to keep the numbers in order. A rule of thumb, by no means absolutely accurate, is that if you have a handful of early acceptors, that’s a third of who will eventually arrive at the breakup.
Size: Do not pick a venue based solely on the size of your entire workforce or group. If and when you add partners, numbers will swell. But the only thing worse than too many people in too small a venue, is a smallish group listening to the crickets chirp in a massive location.
Amenities: Have a clear idea for what your party will need. Will it be a sit-down dinner, or would a venue serving courtyard drinks and nibbles be a more appropriate fit? Some venues will offer child friendly options, or you could investigate specialist offerings, such as karaoke or paintball.
Location: However lovely the party, location will play a huge part in its success. If you find an out-of-the-way location, it may hamper some people’s ability to attend due to time and distance.
If planning an event involving alcohol, transport to and from the venue is key to everyone having a great night out. If it is some distance a bus might be a good idea, or investigate venues with a courtesy service.
Once you have found the perfect venue, it is time to start thinking about those special touches that will set your party apart. You can add to the buzz by doiung Kris Kringle, adding a dress-up element, or creating games and prizes to be won throughout the event. Whatever your plan for a Christmas event, it is important to book early. Start looking for your venue now.