I can not believe how quickly Christmas has come around again this year! Nevertheless, here it is, the ‘season to be jolly’, or in the case of many assistants the time to be putting the final touches to the office Christmas party. It can be a stressful job, particularly if you are not used to organising events, and it can sometimes be pretty thankless as it is one task where it can be hard to please everyone. I’ve organised quite a few Christmas parties over the years for a variety of businesses so here are my top tips for organising your office Christmas party.
Organising your Office Christmas Party
Christmas parties for a sociable team
If you work in a team that likes going out together and socialising you will know that this is a hard group to please when it comes to organising events. I spent three years working with a team that would look forward to the Christmas party immensely and would discuss it from around August onwards. Everyone had an opinion about what the team should do and therefore it did become hard to make sure my colleagues all liked what I planned. To counteract this, I sent out an email survey asking the team what they wanted to do and how much they were willing to pay. This was received well by the team and it meant they all got a little something they wanted out of the party.
For the sociable team I organised the following Christmas parties:
- Cocktail reception at a glamorous bar, dinner in a Moroccan themed restaurant (great for sociable groups as you all sit around small tables and can chat to everyone), after dinner drinks and dancing at a cool nightclub
- I hired the ground floor of a funky nightclub in London’s West End from 2 pm onwards and had a three-course meal served on a long table. Everyone came in fancy dress; there were party games, secret Santa and a fake awards ceremony with prizes handed out by our Director. We had our space until around 8 pm when the rest of the nightclub opened for other guests. We then stayed in the club until it shut in the early hours of the morning.
Christmas parties for a mixed team of friendly and reserved staff
I worked for a company that had a mixture of young members of staff and those that like to socialise after work but also some quieter people who attended company occasions but wouldn’t be up to 3 am dancing the night away. To organise a Christmas party for this group meant that I had to arrange a variety of activities so that everyone enjoyed themselves.
For the mixed team I organised the following Christmas parties:
- A private room in a beautiful historic venue, an hour of wine tasting followed by a traditional Christmas dinner, with the option to go to the local pub after dinner and then on to a few bars for those that wanted to carry on the night out.
- A medium-sized area in a restaurant with 2 round tables serving tapas food for everyone to share, following lunch the guests moved into a second room to enjoy a few drinks and watch a live band. Again the option to extend the night was left up to those that wanted to stay out.
Christmas parties for a quiet team within a small company
Organising a party for a small team can be difficult especially if they are not particularly boisterous. The few times I’ve arranged parties for this type of office I have booked a table at a shared Christmas party. This works well because there are other groups at the venue, it keeps costs down, and you can join in the spirit of things despite being a smaller company.
For the quiet team I organised the following Christmas parties (through an events company):
- Dinner, drinks and a comedy show purchased through a package Christmas party
- Drinks, canapés and bowling at a quirky retro bowling alley.
The primary focus of the day should be that your colleagues have fun, and get to spend some time together outside of the office. It is a great feeling the following day when everyone is talking about the party and looking forward to the next one!