How to make your Christmas party one to remember, no matter the budget!
As much as we’d all like to throw a Christmas party where we can drive dodgems in tuxedos and drink champagne from fountains, for most of us the budget sadly won’t stretch quite that far. The good news is you can still find the wow and glitter in every event - the key is to follow some foundations to make your work Christmas party go with a bang.
Whether you’re holding it in-house (budget-friendly) or renting a space (change of scene and you may not even be in charge of the clean-up!) we’ve got ideas and a few simple rules for you.
Aim for a party that feels enticing rather than obligatory.
Something that stays on budget and on their mind (for the right reasons!).
Hosting festivities during work time, or at least giving your people some time off to prepare, will go a long way to combat those who won’t want to spend their free time with the same people they’re forced to spend all day with! Yes, there will be some and it’s important no one feels left out or uncomfortable.
Finally, party planning takes not only time, remembering the little things is key, you also need someone with great ideas. People are stretched more than ever so grab a committee together, many people = many ideas (hopefully) which avoids stale, boring parties and staff will appreciate their voices being heard.
Hosting an in-person or virtual Christmas party
We love and anticipate a traditional Christmas party as much as the next guy, but the last few years have led to many more necessary options opening up. Trying to get everyone together as we continue to work remotely and being scattered geographically, can be difficult and in some cases impossible. The idea of a virtual Christmas party should not necessarily mean a sinking feeling of dread. Below are just some ideas for unusual, virtual parties (and a couple of in-person ones).
Virtual Christmas party ideas
‘The Office’ style awards party - if you’re a small business you could even invite partners/family to celebrate the successes
Escape room - not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely one to consider if puzzle solving is your team’s thing. The Panic Room has some great online options.
Food classes - festive ingredients and recipes sent to their door. Perhaps luckily, you won’t be able to taste each other’s ‘masterpieces’!
A festive jumper Zoom call is a great virtual office Christmas party idea. Sending some clothing vouchers will sweeten the deal even further! Definitely a chance to show off your fun and festive sides!
Bringing it back to the old school - all the above ideas, but in person!
Zoning areas - a photo booth here, karaoke there, bar in one room, table football in another, an excellent, festive Spotify playlist everywhere, you get the idea
Childhood games - gather some Guess Who, Snake and Ladders and maybe even some Twister to break the ice pre-dinner, just watch the competitive sparks fly! Even a mini quiz will put people at ease. Christmas party games for work are a big win.
Paintballing - wrap up and hunt down the boss, followed by warm food and drinks
Team ice skating - could be magical… just make sure you’ve got insurance
A scavenger hunt in teams - take in the Christmas lights of your town/city then back for a holiday feast, with everyone bringing festive food from their traditional celebrations
Teaming up to help at a food bank or putting boxes together for causes local to your business
Support a local restaurant - if you’ve got a small team and a lovely local, head on in and enjoy
The ultimate Christmas party plan
A fool-proof Christmas party plan, you say? Well, here goes...
Don’t pick a date too close to Christmas - people have plans, families and friends, you want a date that can stand out, not one that is shoehorned in between last-minute shopping and visiting far away relatives
Suggestions - without promising that every idea will be realised, ask around for help and ideas, whether this becomes a full-on party committee or just gives you a few great ideas.
Bring ideas and budget together - On a small budget hiring out a cinema for a Christmas film showing might be out the window, but having a movie night in the office with popcorn, snacks and drinks can definitely be done
Location - decide on one and if necessary book ...soon!
Dress, food, activities, decorations - decide on these four elements and you’ve got yourself a party!
Remember - it’s a party. You need to enjoy it too. And please try to enjoy and embrace the process
Picking your Christmas party food
And so to Christmas party food, possibly the make or break of the party! You need to walk the line of pleasing everyone, without breaking the budget. Hopefully you can throw in a few items as talking points too (puff pastry and cheese Christmas trees down to puddings with sparklers)! Whether it be a buffet (if conditions allow) or a sit-down meal, make sure you don’t forget to cater for allergies and dietary restrictions.
Hosting a Christmas fancy dress party
Nothing creates a sense of anticipation quite like a fancy dress theme. If you want to go a step further from the garish jumpers, throw a Christmas fancy dress theme into your party plans. Encourage homemade costumes as this should avoid anyone spending a fortune on a ready-made costume. Look out for the person who turns up with just their hair parted slightly differently, classic!
Themes can be perfect for bringing teams together. Try giving each department a different challenge (Top Gun for Marketing, Flashdance for Customer Support?). Prizes via Huggg for the best dressed will be a memorable and welcome surprise.
If you want to couple fancy dress with treating your people to some experiences beyond the ‘office’ walls..:
Rent out a coffee shop and hold a sitcom themed party - think Joey from Friends wearing ALL the clothes
A warehouse provides the perfect company party venue for a Dragon’s Den themed party followed by food and great music - dressing up as the Dragons or as the products you’re pitching would be a great talking point
A tour of the city or scavenger hunt - seeing the city together, stopping at great local bars/social spaces/views can help start conversations and make new starters feel at home and show natives some new haunts. It’s a great office Christmas party venue too when everything is festively decorated! If you’re planning on walking far, make sure your outfit is up to it oh and throw in some Huggg festive warm drinks to collect along the way.
Elevate your Christmas party with Huggg
The best part of parties when we were kids was the party bag and whilst we’re probably too old for yo-yos and balloons, we’re never too old for cake as a corporate party gift (personally we’re not too old for yo-yos either!) Gifting your colleagues in the run-up to the Christmas party, or the day after, is a great way to build anticipation or extend the festive feeling. Huggg can help here, simply and beautifully, with many options to suit all budgets, team sizes and tastes:
Brownies - with festive or non-festive options, it is always a good idea to share the gift of these gorgeous cakes (they come individually wrapped too!)
Popcorn - big packs and smaller sachets, something for everyone
Wine - perfect if you have big party bags!
Luxury hampers - cheese, wine and truffles all in one gorgeous package? Yes please!