It may feel slightly surreal, but taking the time in the summer months to book your Christmas party will mean you’ll have a slick, well-organised, festive celebration. Here are our six top tips to help you get ahead of the game:
1. Planning ahead is key: the best venues, and even the best deals, can be snapped up with an early booking. It also allows you to spread the cost if you are paying some of the bill up front.
It’s a daunting prospect sifting through the hundreds of venues and menus and finding the right one for your company. Ask your staff , get a feel for what your colleagues would like. You can’t please everyone, but you can work with a general consensus. You might be surprised by some inventive suggestions.
2. Setting the date early is a good way of ensuring most people are available to attend. Check out the consensus on a few possible dates with staff first and go with the majority for maximum attendance. Sending a ‘save the date’ email out early will help to ensure a good turn-out.
3. Work out your budget and stick to it. If the budget is tight, you might want to consider venues offering shared parties. A table at a bigger event may be a good way of offering some entertainment without blowing the budget. Maybe you can buddy up with other companies in the same building to create a bigger event with a shared cost. It’s always good to save a bit of the budget for any unexpected costs.
Consider the food and drinks bill. Be clear about what is included. Is there free wine with a meal and a pay bar after that? Make sure staff know, and remember that a big part of the offering is a thank-you to staff for their hard work throughout the year. It won’t boost morale if you ask for a contribution. It’s better to do something less fancy, but cover the cost.
4. Food and drink: festive drinks to get your crew in the party spirit are a great way to kick-start the evening. If you are worried about a certain contingency using up the drinks budget with excessive rounds of Jager bombs from the off, consider drinks vouchers, or limit freebies to wine and beers.
Food is usually expected at the Christmas do, so do organise a menu tasting prior to booking so you can sample the quality of the food on offer. Consult with the chefs and your staff to ensure there are vegetarian options and that other dietary requirements can be catered for. The food is an important part of the event, so making sure the venue is used to catering for large numbers is another must. There’s nothing worse than the whole evening falling fl at because the food and/or service is awful.
5. Entertainment can make or break your event, so some carefully planned surprises can lift your teams’ spirits and add to the party atmosphere, plus it’s a great way of ironing out any awkward small talk. Musicians or magicians working the room, circus acts, casino tables and giant games are but a few of the many options for adding some entertaining sparkle to your event. You’ll want to consider music, too. A small dance floor is always a plus.
6. Thank-you speeches and awards: the Christmas party is a great time to let your staff know how well they’ve been doing. Pick some serious and funny awards to present to staff to let them know how much they are appreciated.