Yes the sun is shining and BBQ smells fill the air but now is the time to start organising your office Christmas party.
Organising a Christmas party can be stressful what with trying to please everyone in the office all of whom have opinions on when it should be, where it should be, what food should be on offer and whether it should be themed and have entertainment.
Treat the Christmas party as you would any event and plan accordingly but do remember that an office Christmas party is unlike other regular office parties since you cannot force people to take part. There is no law that says it has to be traditional. So consider bowling or a comedy club. Party in a pub or on a boat. Dine privately or go with a package.
As with any meeting or event, the budget will dictate the type of party you can plan for. If you are on a tight budget consider a shared celebration or convince the powers to be (and your colleagues) to go for a party in the new year when venue hire is cheaper and availability is for the asking. If your budget allows for it consider a themed party or even go bespoke. All over the country in most major cities, you will find fabulous Christmas party themes and if you don’t have a huge amount of guests, there are many joiner parties which offer you your own tables but you get the benefit of all of the entertainment and atmosphere that you get with a bigger party.
Selecting your venue now really is the best time to book: you get first pick of all the new packages and themes and there is less chance of being disappointed. Ask about discounts and negotiate if you have to. Visit the venue if possible and ensure that it meets all your requirements. Make sure that it is suitable and has easy access for any disabled colleagues. If you are not sure where to start there are lots of companies who can help and will source christmas venues for free.
Send out a Save the Date and get your colleagues to pre-order their food if applicable. (Many of the larger themed parties offer a set meal with a vegetarian option only) Remember to ask about dietary requirements and offer some festive alternatives for those colleagues who do not eat turkey and mince pies. A great tip to avoid confusion is to put their dinner choices on the back of their name cards. Pre ordering drinks or arranging drinks vouchers will save time and money.
Remember transport arrangements. If you are not laying on group transport to or from the venue or are not meeting beforehand, it’s a good idea to ensure that all of your colleagues know exactly where the party is being held. Check with the venue regarding taxi availability – someone always needs a taxi during or at the end of the evening.
If you are having entertainment make sure it is a good fit for your group. If you are not sure of what your colleagues would like stick to a great band or DJ. Music for London provides excellent artistes all over the country, so it is worth giving them a try to see what they can suggest.
Given how difficult the task is, do ask for feedback. New isn’t always better so if last year’s party was a great success repeat the recipe.
Last but not least, double check everything, appoint some colleagues as “Santa’s helpers” if necessary and go and enjoy yourself.