We’re not even two weeks into November, but now is the time to figure out how to plan your company holiday party.
Don’t panic. It may have been a few years since your last festive gathering (thanks COVID-19) but planning for the fun is manageable – and worth it.
After all, a holiday party is an opportunity to showcase your company’s unique and fun culture. You can also celebrate organizational milestones, recognize teamwork efforts, and honor top performers. Not only does a party offer a chance to connect away from daily routines, it helps employees get to know members of other departments.
So where do you start?
Ask your staff what kind of party they would like. Do they prefer dinner and dancing? A casual gathering with snacks and games? Or something in between?
With that in mind, pick a date. Keep in mind whether the party will be during work hours, after work or on the weekend.
A date in early December works best as a general rule of thumb. People are in the spirit of the holiday season, but it’s early enough not to clash with other holiday stress (travel, school programs, last-minute shopping). Party planners suggest not planning a holiday party within a week of Christmas on either side.
Decide on the budget, which will factor significantly into the next decision to be made — the venue. In general, party planners say to expect to spend at least $75 per person. When determining cost, be sure to include the venue, food and drink, and tips for any staff that work the event. Having an appropriate budget is one of the most important aspects when figuring out how to plan a company holiday party.
When looking for a venue, here are some things to consider. First, your office might be the perfect location. It can be the ideal location for smaller crowds, and it usually is possible to prepare space to serve appetizers, beverages, and more.
At-work parties have the highest attendance, the lowest cost, and eliminate the need to plan for transportation. On the flip side, they are viewed as having the lowest value and more planning is needed for entertainment, according to party planners.
Choosing a local restaurant or bar for an after-hours gathering, or renting a room in such an establishment, requires minimal planning and food and beverages are on site. It’s also a good location for a gift exchange and recognition of employees. Some downsides include lower attendance because of schedule conflicts and higher expense.
Consider a group activity such as a golf outing, escape room, boat cruise, ice skating or some other local event. High attendance is likely, it provides for team building and it can be during the day or evening. Keep in mind, there is less opportunity for recognition and gift exchange, it can be moderately expensive and weather might limit your options. Also, keep in mind that some activities aren’t inclusive to everyone.
A formal holiday event is usually hosted at a rented venue. This type of event has the highest perceived value and is typically well attended. It is the best for employee recognition and provides internal networking. But it is also the most expensive, requires lots of planning and has the risk of alcohol-related incidents.
Virtual is still an option, especially if you have a lot of remote or hybrid workers. To make it more engaging, consider an activity where you create something together like a cooking class with a chef or a holiday-themed workshop. Send gift boxes ahead of time in preparation for the virtual event.
Don’t wait until the last minute
With the date, budget and venue in hand, now is the time to think about any party gifts and set up delivery. This is particularly important for companies working remotely, since shipping will take time.
If you need your event catered, be sure to lock that in a month ahead of time. It’s also time to plan and hire any entertainment such as a band, DJ or magician.
Consider what type of staffing will be needed such as bartenders, wait staff, or door security. Depending on the venue, you might also need help setting up and tearing down any event space.
Don’t forget to purchase décor, or if you are making it yourself, get started early. Execute your design two weeks before the party so you have enough time to make other arrangements if something falls through. Holiday decorations make a party feel more festive, even if it just minimal and not Hallmark-holiday movie level.
Send reminders to your employees about a week before the event.
And finally, enjoy the event, your hard work and the smiling faces of your employees and co-workers!
If you’re hosting a holiday party and need assistance locking down staff, LGC can help. We can provide workers who will help create a great experience for attendees and take the stress out of staffing. Reach out to us today!