Although Christmas seems a long way off, we find that we start taking bookings for festive live entertainment and team building events around the summer time so we thought we’d publish our top twelve tips for planning the perfect Christmas party. That way you can get ahead and have your pick of services before they get booked up.
Creating an office Christmas celebration can be a tricky task and one that can go horribly wrong. But if you plan the event well then you should be able to enjoy a roaring success that brings your colleagues together and elevates you to workplace hero status.
1. Set the date
Christmas is a very busy period and the social calendar fills up fast so get a date booked early to ensure maximum turn out. You might choose to send a few date options out and go with the majority vote. This also gives you an early indication of attendance numbers.
Once the date is decided send a ‘Save the date’ email to everybody. It doesn’t matter that you know nothing by way of event details yet. You just need to make sure that they have it etched in their diary. You could also ask for any extra information at this stage such as dietary requirements.
2. Establish a budget
Your allocated budget for the Christmas party must be ascertained at a very early stage. This has a huge impact on the type of event that you can plan and you wouldn’t want to waste your time planning an incredible event that is far beyond what you can afford.
Once established, work out the priorities of where you should spend the money. This will differ from group to group but just remember that this party is a ‘thank you’ to the staff so have them at the front of your mind when making decisions.
3. Establish the type of event you want
With endless options available to you it can be easy to get bogged down in the daunting array of ideas out there. But work through the basic requirements systematically. Will it be a daytime or evening event? Will it be family orientated with husbands, wives and kids invited or a raucous boozy affair? Will you organise a bespoke event yourself? Will you use a venue’s Christmas party package? Will you go for a wild card and find an unusual event that is available in your local area such as a cocktail making workshop before dinner or a team building event such as our Rock & Roll Experience?
4. Find the venue
It is important to book your venue early as the best venues get booked up very early. Make a shortlist of venues that fit your budget as well as fitting the type of event that you have decided on. If possible place them all on a provisional booking until you have made your decision. Use the venue’s events team to get the necessary information and any ideas that they can offer. Make visits to all of your short list options to get a feel for what they can offer. Find out what they have as standard and what, if anything, you will need to order in.
5. Pick a theme
To really set your Christmas party apart, create a strong theme which is consistent through everything you do. For example, we have featured at many events that have used a rock star theme. We then supply anything from a fun rock star team building event pre dinner, the Rock & Roll Game Show after dinner, and then live music from our band The Right Hook to finish the night. Whatever your theme, make it fun, make it wild, and try to incorporate it in every part of the Christmas party from the food, the dress code, the entertainment and the decor.
6. Send an invite
Don’t just send out a lazy email to invite people. Make this event seem like a special, ‘must attend’ occasion from the start. This sets the tone and makes people more excited about attending. The invitations should fit your theme and include information such as.
Date, start and finish time, venue, dress code, event format, reason for event, who it is from, RSVP details and food options.
7. Include decent food
Food is a crucial aspect of any party and your Christmas party is no different. But don’t feel obliged to go down the stereotypical Christmas route. This option is great if done well but if done badly it will create a miserable dining experience.
First off think about how you want the food to be served. Is it a formal sit down table service, a buffet or simply pre dinner nibbles? Depending on your venue you may need to use their in-house catering or you may be able to choose your own caterers. Either way, consult with their chef to make the right choices. And don’t forget the vegetarian options!
If the event is a ‘thank-you’ for all the hard work the team have put in over the last year then it’s a great idea to take a few minutes to actually say that. This might be in the form of a director or team manager giving a short speech and it might include awards where appropriate. Just make sure the speeches are short, easily heard, early enough that they are not alcohol fuelled ramblings, and that they are not too serious. It is a party after all!
9. Take lots of photos
To maximise the effect of the party make sure lots of photos are taken. If you have created a really special event you might want to hire a professional photographer. Otherwise do it in house. These can be used to send around after the event and remind everyone of the great times you had together. This is especially great if you’ve included a team building type event as part of the celebration as you can maximise the impact of this with photos and video.
10. Include a competition
A competition can be a fun way to get everyone really engaged. To use the rock star theme example again, it would work really well to have a prize for the best rock star outfit. If you had our Rock & Roll Game Show then you would have a prize for the winning team in the show. It could be as simple as best Christmas jumper award. Use your imagination and have some fun.
11. Create a table plan.
This only applies if you have a sit down meal element to your Christmas party. Much the same as when planning a wedding, the table plans are important to get right. If there are any potentially awkward pairings, or relationships that are a little fraught, it is wise to avoid those staff members being sat next to each other. It’s always good to avoid the usual cliques so sit people with other members of the company that they wouldn’t necessarily spend time with.
12. The entertainment
This really is the heart and soul of your Christmas party. This is our area and we know all too well how important this is. An iPod in the corner really does send out a message to your staff that they are not all that valued and it doesn’t make for great memories. Decide on the best entertainment that fits in your budget and is most appropriate for your theme.
We have events that we adapt for every different situation including our live band The Right Hook, as well as our Rock & Roll Game Show which is a unique and memorable after dinner event. This goes down really well with a Christmas party theme where we use a live band and compère with Christmas songs for rounds that see the delegates coming up on stage playing instruments, singing and just generally having a great time. Our team building events have also proved popular for Christmas parties such as the Rock & Roll Experience where delegates get to learn a Christmas pop song on real instruments before performing it in a concert. Our Rock & Roll Choir also works very well at Christmas as we learn the harmonies for a Christmas song and then record the final performance. Another really great event at Christmas is our Make A Music Video event where we design and recreate a famous Christmas song music video. The edited result can then be passed around the office and enjoyed long after the event.But we also know that not every budget allows for a full band so we also have our live duo and even the option for a solo singer who creates the live performance to backing tracks.
But whatever you decide, plan the details early and then you can relax whilst everyone else tries to cobble something together at the last minute.
Get in touch with us to discuss how we can create a unique event that your colleagues will remember for years to come.