While the annual corporate holiday party may seem far away, time will fly and it will be here before you know it. Rather than put it off and feel the stress creep up as the festive day quickly approaches, start planning ahead of time. The party should be looked at as an opportunity to show the company's appreciation to their employees as well as a way to embrace the holiday spirit. There are no rules dictating that the annual Christmas party has to be the same year after year, so make this one stand out from the rest and be an event that everyone is bound to remember.
Before writing down all the creative corporate party ideas that are on the tip of your tongue, consider what type of theme would be ideal for your group as this will set the mood for the entire event. Do you want to transform the space into a Winter Wonderland filled with fake snow and twinkling lights, or would an international theme be unique and also an opportunity for employees to share some of their Christmas traditions? The possibilities are endless.
If the budget isn’t there to go all out with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme that you were hoping for, perhaps simple and classy is better. Incorporate a color theme for people to wear, such as the traditional black and white or the more festive red and white.
Once the theme is decided, consider what entertainment would work best with the theme. While DJ’s can play the latest hits and get the younger crowd dancing, live bands can interact with the crowd a bit more and may work better for a classy themed event. If the budget isn’t there to hire the trendiest band, contact the local college and see if they have any musicians that may be interested in being part of the corporate party entertainment.
Not only is it important to have music to get toes tapping, but other types of entertainment should be considered for non-dancing guests. This could be a professional magician, an ice sculptor or maybe even a caricaturist who is bound to get people talking about their masterpieces. Be sure to book any of these performers ahead of time as their calendars fill up quickly, especially around the holiday season.
Games. Some love them while others dread them. There are plenty of corporate party games that can get everyone involved such as Christmas themed trivia or charades, or light-hearted activities like limbo or themed bingo.
If the company has family-friendly policies, these parties can be the perfect place to really show employees that they mean what they say. If you can offer games and activities for children, employees that are parents will definitely appreciate the extra effort and thoughtfulness. Rather than have to stress about hiring childcare and leaving at a certain time, they can bond a bit more with their colleagues and keep a watchful eye on their children. These events can truly encourage the importance of the work-life balance.
The Photo Booth
Let’s not forget the memorable photos. You don't need to hire a professional event photographer to have your guests remember the event. Have them create their own photos in your set up photo booth. Photo booths can help make the event unique and special. Create an opportunity for guests to take fun photos with their colleagues by adding in fun backgrounds and props such as tinsel and Santa hats. To amp up the fun, add flipbooks and provide them with a photo booth that is "connected" and automatically uploads the fun snaps onto social media sites.
Last but certainly not least are the prizes and gifts. These events are the ideal time to show your appreciation to the employees. While raffles can be fun, why not make it more entertaining by adding in contests such as the ugly sweater, best dressed or the most festive guest competition. These prizes can be anything from bottles of wine to spa treatment packages.
Avoid gifting conventions where everyone receives something that they most likely will never use. A more creative option is for guests to draw names and bake their favorite cookies or make an edible treat to gift to the person whose name they have drawn. Remember though that at the end of the day, this party is about creating good memories and enjoying each others company. Happy planning!