Planning the Staff Christmas Party

The Boss has asked you to sort the staff Christmas Party this year…

It’s a big responsibility to be asked to organize a staff Christmas Party and the level of organization required will depend on the size of the company, the number of people involved, the type of event and the level of budget you have to work with. 

Utilizing the services of a Party Organizer will take all the organizational stress out of the equation for you, if budget allows, but you will still need to establish a few baselines such as budget, dates and guidelines as to the type of event with the management.  Usually a Christmas Party is a thank you gesture to all the staff for all their hard work through the year and it can take many forms; a meal out, an all-inclusive activity or a more formal affair.

Establish the parameters:

  • Before you even start thinking of setting a date or looking at venues we would suggest a meeting with the management to check a few details…the more information you can get at the beginning, the better, as it saves time in the long run and you don’t have to keep knocking at management’s door.  It’s good to get organized and attend the meeting with a list of pre-prepared questions…
  • What type of event does the management have in mind, and what’s the proposed budget? It’s pointless even considering the event of the century when the intention is a few tables at the local restaurant. Many hotels or similar establishments offer package deals for staff parties with pre-dinner drinks, sit down dinner and DJ/live music and dancing.  Depending on the size of your occasion, this can be a bespoke event where your business has a dedicated room and potentially bar facilities too or one where there are a number of smaller businesses all taking a number of tables to suit.
  • Would a themed party be appropriate? Having a theme is a good idea for several reasons – it helps with the venue décor, can determine appropriate entertainment activities during the evening, and save the date and invitations can all be themed to match. A theme can take some of the anxiety out of the all-important decision of what to wear and determining a dress code and it gives everyone something exciting to think about, plan and anticipate.
  • What about the guest list and who needs to be included on the invite list? Is it going to be an event for staff only, staff and management, are partners to be included, and are there any important clients to consider as well?  These considerations will lead to the likely numbers of attendees, which you will need when you start thinking about suitable venues.
  • Will there be a “top” table with management and invited guests? Will there be any preference with regards to the table arrangement for the other attendees?  Obviously a table plan will be required for the actual event so everyone can find their seats but it is a good idea to see what is expected at the outset.
  • What is the ideal date?  A date range initially is a good idea as it gives flexibility. Many places can get booked up around Christmas.  Bear in mind also that there are likely to be a few sore heads the day after so it is unlikely much work will get done. It is perhaps a good idea to consider the event just before the weekend or a potentially quieter weekday.  There is another point to think about – the event doesn’t have to take place before Christmas.  January can be a good time too when all the main Christmas festivities are out of the way and you can potentially also get some slightly cheaper deals.
  • Location and time of day – unless there is the option of an overnight stay included, or transport is going to be provided, an easily accessible venue is a good idea, and take into account accessibility to public transport and taxi services.  Depending on the nature of the business, most events take place after working hours and are, by default, likely to be in the evening, but it’s good to be certain.
  • Will there be any form of formality to be involved, like recognition awards or speeches and before the yawns start, a Christmas Event is a good time to do this as it is often difficult with day to day business to schedule everyone together, at the same time, in the same place.  If the answer to this one is yes, then who will be giving speeches and at what point during the proceedings and do you also need to organize appropriate awards?
  • The guests will want to be fed and watered. Food in some venues may need to be chosen from a seasonal menu pre-event and then the venue informed of the choices, in advance.  You will need to remember to allow for dietary choices such as vegetarians and vegans for example and food allergies. Usually a list posted on a notice board for everyone to fill in will be adequate to determine dietary choices.  Also think about pre-dinner canapes.
  • You will need to determine what is happening with drinks.  Will management  budget for an open bar, pay for pre-dinner drinks and bottles of wine and water on the table, or will guests be expected to pay for their own drinks?
  • Is live music and entertainment a requirement?  Many venues will have a resident DJ or if the venue is promoting staff parties, they may have organized the live entertainment as part of their seasonal package. As discussed previously a theme attached to an event can give an added dimension to an evening – a casino for example can give an additional interest to the evening and provide an option to those in the party who have two left feet and don’t like the dancefloor!
  • Now it’s up to you to correlate all your notes and start Creating your Event on myEventGenie.com, which will guide you through the process of planning and organizing your event, creating and managing the guest list, sorting the seating plan and printing the itinerary for the event itself.  You can find venues and all the suppliers you will need to make your staff Christmas Party, whatever size it is, the most anticipated and talked about for years to come!

Enjoy!

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