Quite often the office Christmas party is organised by a member of the team who already has a full-time job doing something completely different. It can therefore feel like a daunting – and time-consuming – task, but with the right help, there’s no reason why an inexperienced organiser can’t put on an amazing party. Let us show you how…
1.Budget and research
Get your budget signed off as soon as you can. Start calling round some likely venues and get yourself a general idea of costs so you can allocate a maximum spend for all the areas you’ll need to factor in. Venue hire, catering, decoration, gifts, entertainment, music… Try and hold back 10% of your budget so you can cover any unforeseen spend, or, so you can splash out on something really special like a cocktail reception or an amazing live band.
This is likely to be the biggest decision you make, so ensure you do loads of research and lots of site visits. There are several things to keep in mind when you’re weighing up where to book. Location, wow factor, cost and availability to name but a few. Lots of venues will have tailored Christmas packages which can really take away the stress of planning. Once you’ve short-listed a handful of venues, it might be a good idea to take a colleague with you to get a second opinion before you finalise your plans.
If you have several possible dates in mind, circulate them to your team to make sure you pick the one most people can attend. Bear in mind that choosing a day at the beginning of the week may save you money and that the Thursdays and Fridays in December will book up really quickly. Depending on your guests, it might be an idea to consider a lunch-time event rather than an evening one. Again, consult with the team to see what most people would prefer. An office Christmas party may have a wide-range of invitees (variables to consider include age, taste and where they live), so it’s important to keep checking the decisions you make suit as many people as possible.
Lots of venues will have themed packages available, popular with both organisers and guests alike. For example this year No.11 Cavendish Square is offering either a Dickensian Christmas or a Return to Narnia party offering your guests a chance to step back in time or escape to a mythical land.
Food and drink are a huge part of any Christmas celebration and one of the areas we would suggest you consider spending your ‘held back’ 10% of your budget. Upgrading your menu and giving your guests a fine dining experience will go a long way to creating a memorable and fabulous Christmas party. We’ve also put a list of delicious Christmas cocktails together to help you find inspiration to produce an amazing festive feast.
6.Games and entertainment
However sophisticated an event you want to plan, remember, Christmas parties are supposed to be fun! Include a few games and some light-hearted entertainment to help break the ice between managers and staff and to get everyone in the mood to relax. You’ll find some ideas for games in our round-up of ‘ways to make your Christmas party special’ (published in 2016). Devising games is a good way to involve the rest of your team in the event. See if anyone in the office has any ideas, you could even ask them to head up their game, which would take the pressure off you on the day.
As with any event, it’s important to build excitement in the weeks before the big day. Keep exact details of the party a secret, so you can really wow your guests at the venue, but make sure people realise how much time and effort is going in to creating a very special event for them.
Christmas parties at No.11 Cavendish Square
Our Venue Team is renowned for putting on amazing Christmas parties and this year the themed packages are particularly special. Give the team a call on 020 7307 2474 to discuss your dates and any ideas you might have to give your colleagues a night to remember.