11 Tips for Organising your Christmas Party for the office
Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newbie to organising your Christmas party, whether for the team or for clients/prospects can be a daunting task. Christmas events are the highlight of the year for many and you want this event to be remembered for a long time – for the right reasons. With many years of delivering Christmas events for our clients, here are our tips for organising your company Christmas event.
You cannot be too prepared
There is a reason the toy industry starts Christmas planning in January; there is a huge amount to be done. To deliver a great Christmas event, you need to start early. It’s not even the summer and we’re publishing this, so take a hint. Far better to have everything planned early than to be scurrying around in late November arranging final details.
Get a budget and stick to it
If this is the first time you are organising an event, get a budget from the budget holder. If it’s a staff event, the budget holder may be HR, Operations or even the Finance Director. Talk to them asap.
See if you can find out what budgets were given for previous events, and what type of event that was. This will help you understand what type of event to deliver and give you a clue as to how lavish, or not, you can be.
Best to stick to that budget for your first event, but if you need more money to deliver what is wanted, ask early and know what you need. If you do need to ask for more, make sure it is the only time you need to ask. Going back to the budget holder multiple times will suggest your project management skills need improving.
Select a date and time
Many of our clients booked dates for this Christmas when they got back to the office after the New Year. The earlier you choose potential dates, the more likely you are to get what you want. Thursdays in early December are extremely popular, so get in quick. Thursdays are, after all, the new Fridays.
Think carefully about the time you want. Too early a start and you risk it turning messy, as your drinks budget gets consumed. Too late, especially if this event is for clients, and they will have gone home. Nobody likes hanging around after work before they can go to a Christmas Party.
Choose the type of event
Most Christmas parties are evening affairs, so a lunchtime event may be easier to book. It really does depend on what you are looking to achieve. If your event is still, fairly, serious and you want people to remember the content as well as the event, something earlier in the day may be a better option.
Who else can help you with this, from within your organisation? Even having someone as a fresh pair of eyes will help ensure you get things right. Ideally someone with some experience of events, so they will know the things you don’t know you don’t know.
If that isn’t possible, you can rely on our team, who can support you with our range of third party suppliers so as to meet your budget whilst delivering a great event.
As well as who should be on the list, think about timings. For an internal Christmas party, it is less of an issue, but if you are inviting external guests, think about when you should make them aware, whether that is advanced notice or the formal invitation. Christmas is a busy time for events, so you need to make sure you get the invites out early enough, so it is your event that goes in the diary, rather than someone else’s. Apps such as Eventbrite can help with this. Their private event options mean you can easily send everyone an email and they can accept or abstain.
Food, along with entertainment, is one of the key focus points for any event. Prawn vol-u-vents and triangle sandwiches won’t impress anyone. Your food needs to have that wow factor and there needs to be enough. If there isn’t enough to go around, you will have unhappy guests.
Your budget may mean you need to dial down the “Wow” to ensure there is enough, and this may be one of the reasons you have to ask for a little more budget. Better safe than sorry. Our team will be happy to discuss the varied catering options available to you.
Finally, make sure you are catering for different dietary requirements. Many menu choices can encompass a variety of dietary requirements to include Celiac’s as well as Gluten-free. Ensure you have considered allergies and religious restrictions. Ramadan isn’t before Christmas until 2031, but do other religious commitments impact what your guests can and cannot do?
What and how much are the two questions when it comes to drinks. Christmas parties are traditionally alcoholic affairs, but your organisation is still responsible for the behaviour, so you don’t want people too “merry”. Non-alcoholic drinks must be in plentiful supply too, from tea/coffee to water, fruit juice and non-alcoholic beers. We have a range of drinks packages, including pre-paid options, meaning you will stay within your budget.
If your event is the annual Christmas party, many people will expect some entertainment. A disco (with a wide range of music) is always a safe choice, but you may consider a band of some sort too.
Whatever entertainment you are considering, remember that Christmas is a key revenue generation time for them, and the good ones get booked up early, in the same way the event spaces do.
If this is your first time organising a Christmas event, there will be times when you feel stressed. But the annual Christmas party is a thank you to everyone – that includes you. If your name is Monica Geller, you may love all the pressure and the organising, but it probably isn’t so make sure you build in some downtime for you too.
Last, but not least, how is everyone getting home? Lots of people will want the event to run into the wee, small hours, but are the trains/tubes/buses running? Across London, you can be relaxed but if staff, or guests, normally commute in, they will need to leave in time to get that last train home. If the event isn’t on Friday or Saturday, an early-ish finish is going to reduce the impact on the next day too!
Organising your first Christmas Party is a lot of pressure, but it will be a lot of fun too. We hope these tips for organising your company Christmas party prove useful and make sure you use the experience with the venue and within your organisation to help you make this the highlight of the year. If you want to talk to us about anything to do with Christmas parties, give us a call on 020 7403 3300 or click here and complete a contact form.