The holidays are approaching faster every year. This easy guide answers 10 frequent questions to help you get your party started.
1. What’s the best location to host the party?
One of the best places is right in your own office building (if you have a large space for it). This way employees can move right from their workspace to the party. If you have more guests than available space, then look for a creative venue like a gallery, a restaurant or even a nice hotel.
2. When should I start planning?
You should begin planning two to three months ahead of your event. If you wait too long you’ll risk not being able to book a caterer, venue or entertainment. Party themes and decorations can also take some time. Bring on several volunteers to help with the decor.
3. What day should I have my office holiday party?
Friday evening 4:30pm-7pm is the ideal time to have an office holiday party. The employees can relax and enjoy knowing they don’t have to get up for work the next day. If you are hosting outside of the office then push it back an hour from 5:30pm-8pm.
4. Should I hire a caterer?
There are three options here and it all depends on your budget. Having a potluck where everybody brings a dish is inexpensive but can be a burden on some of the employees. You can also end up with twenty desserts but only two appetizers. Ordering drop-off catering is easy and can include a variety of dishes. If you have over 35 people consider a full-service caterer, which will make the best impression on your guests. The catering staff will also take care of the setup and cleanup. A good one will have a bartender certified in safe beverage service.
5. What is the best type of food?
When deciding on the food selection, finger foods are recommended over full plates. Small plates will allow guests to move around and enjoy being social while eating at the same time. Some suggestions are mini crab cakes, cocktail shrimp, chicken satay, turkey sliders, stuffed cucumber cups, a cheese assortment as well as some nice desserts like cheesecake bites or cakepops.
6. Should I have a Full Bar or Just Beer and Wine?
An open bar of just beer and wine is good but it can be a nice treat for the employees to have the option for cocktails at a full bar. Most caterers charge more for a full bar over just beer and wine, but some caterers offer a full bar at no extra cost. You will also want to make sure that the caterer provides a bartender who is TIPS or TAM certified. These certifications are given to bartenders trained in how to serve alcohol responsibly.
7. Is it okay to call it a Christmas party?
No. It’s best to call it a Holiday Party. This is a festive time of year for everyone and many religions celebrate major holidays and this will take all of them into account.
8. What type of music should I have?
This is an event where guests like to mingle and chat so you want to have background music that won’t block conversation. You can have live music like an instrumental trio or a pianist. Playing Christmas music is fine but make sure to also include a variety of other music.
9. Should I have a gift exchange?
Yes. A fun gift exchange can be the highlight of the night. Here’s a recommendation… People who want to participate should bring a wrapped gift (within a specified value). Each person who brings a gift is given a random number based on the number of gifts. If 20 people bring a gift then numbers between 1-20 will be chosen. The person with the lowest number picks a gift and opens it in front of everyone. Each consecutive person opens a gift and has a chance to ‘steal’ a previously opened gift by exchanging the gift with someone else’s. Each gift can only be stolen 3 times. This will bring a lot of laughs and conversation to the party.
An alternate idea is gift donations. Allow people to bring unwrapped gifts, toys or canned goods to be donated to charity.
10. Should I give out door prizes?
Yes. Give everyone a numbered raffle ticket and call out a number for each winner. Here are a few prize suggestions…Box of Chocolates, Bottle of Wine, Restaurant Gift Certificates, Gift Cards, Holiday Gift Baskets, Show Tickets or an iPad mini. Once everyone is gathered together, call out several numbers, starting from the least valued gift.