Have you started thinking about your company's holiday party yet? If not, time is sneaking up on you, but there's still time to plan a bash your employees will be excited to attend. Corporate holiday parties have a reputation for being a bit stale, but there are lots of ways you can get creative and insert some real holiday spirit into the event. Your party is an excellent opportunity to get together with your team, enjoy each other's company, and let everyone know how much you appreciate their hard work over the last year. These ideas can help you make it a party to remember.
Planning a corporate holiday party can be a daunting task. Follow these ideas, and hire an experienced holiday party planner to ensure your employees will have an amazing experience this holiday season.
Pick a Theme
Picking a theme at the start of planning your work holiday party will provide a fun template from which to plan. It can help inform the type of venue you pick, the décor, the guest attire, the food, and much more. Fun holiday themes might include Roaring 20’s, Ugly Sweater, 60’s Theme, or Glam Night.
Plan Festive Activities
It always helps to break the ice with some festive activities. Remember that party games aren’t just for kids' birthday parties! Planning fun, festive activities is a great way to help your employees loosen up and get to know each other. Activities that require working together are especially great for building a sense of team spirit. To give you some inspiration, try these ideas at your next holiday work party:
Holiday movie trivia
Divide guests into teams and do a scavenger hunt
Build gingerbread houses as teams
Set up a cookie or ornament decorating table
Make It Hybrid Event
For employees and offices spread throughout the U.S., you can still engage your workforce during the holiday's thanks to the success of hybrid events. Send each employee a package before the event that might include something like a craft cocktail kit, and then host a cocktail class over Zoom at a designated time.
Rent a Photobooth
Photobooths can be a fun add-on to your event, engaging even the most socially-awkward employees. Dancing and small talk not for your group? Enter the photo booth. Your employees will have the opportunity to capture memories with their favorite coworkers, and you won’t have to work while everyone is finding something to enjoy at your party.
Plan a Mixology Class
There’s nothing like learning something new–or alcohol–to ensure everyone will have a good time. Many bartending companies offer mixology classes that are a great and highly enjoyable way to engage employees and their spouses during the holidays. Afterward, you can plan to cap the night off with a catered dinner in the same location. Win-win.
Host a Cooking Class
If you think your crew would be more into food than alcohol, attending a cooking class together or hosting one at a private venue can be an enjoyable way to engage in the culinary arts while building camaraderie at the same time. Many companies offer on-site cooking classes at a location of your choice. This is a great option that includes food and the event activity all in one package.
Give Back to the Community
Nothing brings people together like focusing on something else, together. Add an altruistic spirit to your work holiday party by supporting a cause as a part of the gathering. Invite guests to bring canned food and donate to your local food drive, adopt a foster family as a company and invite guests to participate in the gift buying, or plan to have your employees volunteer at a local food bank together.
Bring in Music Entertainment
The only thing worse than an awkward work holiday party is one without some good tunes! Whether you hire a live band or invest in an entertaining DJ, including music entertainment at your holiday party is a great way to help guests loosen up and have fun. Bonus points if you find entertainment that aligns with your party theme.
Ugly Sweater Attire
It’s tried and true, and to some, it’s tradition. You’ll never miss when you invite employees to wear their best ugly Christmas sweaters to the annual holiday work party. Not only will it spark fun conversation, but it also removes the “what do I wear?” anxiety for your employees.
Throw a Costume Party
On a basic level, there’s always the ugly Christmas sweater route, but if you want to have fun with it, invite your employees to dress up in costume based on the party's theme. Have your entire party dress up around a specific era or set a dress code and then have the party theme, décor, music, and snacks to match.
Host a Holiday Karaoke
You might be thinking: karaoke at a work holiday party? Really? Trust us, in every group; you’ll find someone who loves to sing karaoke. It might even be your shyest employee. The best part is that everyone is having a good time when they’re singing!
White Elephant Exchange
If you’re hosting an in-office holiday work party, consider inviting employees to participate in a white elephant gift exchange. It provides an icebreaker activity and usually leads to a few laughs along the way. This activity is best performed with a smaller employee group (30 or fewer).
Plan a Group Outing
No need to stick to the old sit-down dinner mold. Planning a fun group outing for your employees–like a sports game or wine tasting–is a great way to build camaraderie and get everyone out of the office to have some fun. Enjoy a change of scenery, take the afternoon off, and treat your team to a fun outing.
Of our many pieces of advice, it’s a good idea to never skimp on alcohol when it comes to a holiday work party. Not only does it loosen everyone up, but your employees will likely look forward to the free open bar each December. Mix it up with some fun, crafty cocktails. You can even consider matching the cocktails to your theme or branding cocktails with your company logo.
Host a Casino Night
Games are fun, but putting some stakes on the line by hosting a casino night for your employees will take your holiday work party to the next level! Rent casino-themed furniture and décor, consider asking guests to dress in Vegas or glam attire, and set up your venue space to feel like a real casino. Undoubtedly, your employees will feel like they’ve left the office!
Have the Guests Decorate
Invite your guests to participate in the event decoration, whether it’s cookies, gingerbread houses, or a fun holiday craft. Decorating ornaments is a great activity that engages your guests while also giving them a keepsake to take home at the end of the night.
Hire a Food Truck
Whether at a private venue or hosting your work holiday party at the office, food trucks are a fun way to add energy to your party. Make sure you check with the venue you’re hosting at to ensure they allow food trucks and determine where they will park. Your hardest decision will be choosing the best food truck cuisine, with so many to choose from!
Host a Raffle
At the start of the night, hand all of your guests a raffle ticket. Then, halt activities a few times during the night and have the DJ announce winners. Stock the prize box with items like gift cards, Apple TVs, dinner gift certificates, and tickets to sporting events. Your employees will appreciate the gifts, and it will inspire guests to stick around for the whole evening.
Invite the Families
Depending on the desired vibe of your holiday work party, the timing, and the planned activities, it can be a fun offering to invite employees to bring their families. Plan a daytime event with a holiday craft (who doesn’t love decorating a gingerbread house), and ask employees to bring their spouses and kids. This offers employees a great opportunity to interact with coworkers and significant others outside of the office environment.
Hire a Bartender and a Caterer
One of the most important purposes of a holiday work party is to make sure your employees walk away feeling appreciated. Nothing will elevate your event as much as quality vendors when it comes to bartending and catering. You don’t have to “go all out” on a budget to serve great food and alcohol. An experienced event planner can help guide you toward the best vendors that meet your budget requirements.
Inspired to Throw a Great Holiday Party This Year?
Whatever your budget, company culture, and employees are like, there's a holiday party idea out there that's perfect for your team. Use this as a starting point to spark your creativity.
The best part about the holidays is spending time with others. Planning an event that centers around fun and camaraderie will ensure your employees walk away feeling appreciated.
If you love the inspiration but feel overwhelmed by where to start–or maybe you need help with the inspiration too–we’ve got you. At The Wynning Experience, we help you connect, engage, and execute cost-effective solutions with creative ideas that cultivate an experience to remember.
Now is the perfect time to get started on your holiday work party. Click here to kick-start planning for December.