10 Must-Dos for the Office Christmas Party
Whether you’re a seasoned event organiser or simply the person who drew the short straw and is now stuck with the task of organising the office Christmas party, we’ve come up with a list of 10 must-dos to ensure no detail is forgotten when organising a celebration for your peers.
If you’re still umm-ing and ahh-ing over the technicalities of your Christmas party – or you simply forget – it’s time to get into gear. The later you leave it to book the essentials – namely, the venue – the fewer options you’ll be left with in regards to venues. Whether you’re keeping it low-key or high-brow, bear in mind there will be another company in Sydney that’s looking for the same thing you are. To ensure for the most variety, book early.
Set a date
Whether your office is having a close-down period or not, there will be staff members who will be leaving town for part of the Christmas period. Send around an email giving options for dates and choose the one that suits the majority. Remember that dates in November and December will be booked out first, so decide well in advance.
Set a budget
It is easy to get over-excited with all the frills and thrills of organising your office Christmas party. However, there has to be a few budgetary restrictions in place to ensure the company’s surplus doesn’t turn into a deficit because you decided to organise a company weekend in the Hunter Valley when a dinner and drinks function was the more sensible option. Ask your boss for a quote then delegate percentages of this for the venue, food, beverages and entertainment, and don’t exceed it.
Setting a theme for the event is a great way to get your colleagues in the mood to celebrate. Deciding a theme may seem like an unnecessarily daunting task but reflecting the brand and the office culture will make it easier. For example, if the office is quite multi-cultural, an around-the-world theme is an easy and fun one to go with.
The type of food you decide on will depend on what kind of party you are throwing in the first place. If it’s a more formal event for a small to medium office, a set course dinner could be the best option. For a more lively night where there’s a lot of moving around, a self-serve buffet or canapés may be more suitable. You will also need to take into account the various dietary requirements of your colleagues: whether they be vegetarians, allergic to nuts, lactose-intolerant – send an email around or pin up a sheet in a common area where people can list their requirements.
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Whether or not you decide to have a function with alcohol is dependent on the office culture and budget. If you decide to have it sans alcohol, ensure there’s a variety of different soft drinks, juices, et cetera to keep it interesting. If you decide to have an alcohol budget, your budget will decide for you whether you have a cash-only or an open bar. With an open bar, you will then have to decide the kinds of drinks that fall under the umbrella of “open” (that is, beer and wine only or spirits as well) and if the bar will have a cut-off time. Additionally, if your colleagues will be drinking it may be a good idea to organise a courtesy bus or taxi vouchers to ensure that everyone gets home safely.
The end-of-the-year party is a great way for the company’s managers to thank employees for their work over the year. You can also use this time to give out awards to mark achievements. The key to the speech segment of the night is to keep it short and simple – any more than ten minutes will be too long and feel like a work meeting.
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Once again, your planned budget will dictate whether or not entertainment is an option for the event. Entertainment may come in the form of activities or in the form of performers – for a more casual, afternoon event magicians, fortunetellers, musicians or comedians are all good options for talent to hire.
Even in the case that you decide to forego speeches and hired entertainment, it’s always a good idea to have an itinerary in mind, considering event start and finish times, meal serving times, and any transport requirements you may have. Depending on the kind of venue you book, there may be an in-house event coordinator, however, it’s still a good idea to liaise with them so you can be sure that the event goes off without a hitch.
Another way of boosting office culture and interaction is to organise some kind of gift exchange. Kris Kringle/Secret Santa is a good way to get everyone involved (but give the option to opt-out as well). Set a budget for gifts - $10 or $20 is fine.
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