Christmas office party tips

Christmas office parties are part of the office scene during the holiday season. Depending on the number of employees involved, the venue for the party and the resources and time that will be allocated for the event, the well-planned office Christmas party can be something that people will look forward to each year instead of something that they cannot wait to be over and done with so that they can all go home.
Christmas office party

Picture source:oropeza, on Flickr

If it is your turn to plan for the Christmas party for this year, it may be a good idea to ask for volunteers who will be willing and able to help you plan and implement things on the day itself.  You cannot expect yourself to do everything!!  Keep the group small but efficient. If you have worked together long enough you will know who will be the fun people and the dour ones. Agree on a theme and use it on your invite cards.  Tell your guests not only the what-where-when but also information on how to dress and what to bring.  Will there be an exchange gift portion?  If there will be one, plan the mechanics so that people are not left looking bored while waiting for the last gifts to be exchanged.

If you will prescribe a theme, be ready with some of the props like wigs, hats, masks or even fancy costumes.  There is nothing that will enliven the party than seeing people in their not-so-routine get-ups.  Hats, wigs, and masks are the easiest to manage.

Will you have a program?  Will you have live entertainment from some professional singer, stand-up comic or magician or some office-grown talents showing their abilities? Will you ask the company’s head honcho to make a short Christmas speech? Will there be some awarding of citations, trophies or medals for some office sport event? Will there be a Christmas raffle of gifts from the company, its suppliers or officers? How long will the party last? Most importantly, how do you signal that the party is over? A very critical ingredient in all of these is the Master of Ceremonies who will take the lead and manage the flow of activities.  Is there someone in the office with this talent or do you have to bring in a professional one? You have to consider all these matters long before the Christmas party itself happens so that the activities will follow one another smoothly but you must also be ready with some stop gap audience participation gimmicks that will perk up the interest of the people.

A Christmas party is supposed to be fun, but as the organizer, you should be careful in determining what is funny, well beforehand, especially in mixed company. The joke books are full of Christmas office party faux pas stories.  Try not to be a new addition.  The Office Christmas Party is also an occasion for the office people to get to know one another in a less formal, non-work related environment.  This is the reason why, if the budget will allow, it is a good idea to hold the Christmas party in a place away from the office. Nevertheless, do not lose sight of the reason for a party – to have fun!

There is also the matter of food and drinks. Will the employees be expected to bring something to eat to the party?  If yes, you must determine what kind of food can be brought in to ensure that there will be enough to go around and that you will have the utensils needed to eat what is set on the table.  Do not forget to provide the serving pieces! And a clean-up brigade after the eating!