Holiday Party Do’s and Don’ts
As off-in-the-distance as it might sound, the holidays are just around the corner. Now might just be the perfect time to start planning an office holiday party.
Holiday parties are more than just a work perk—they’re an opportunity for the people who make your company as brilliant as it is to come together, grow closer, and create bonds that will make your workplace and its mission stronger.
There’s lots to plan for any type of event, so we’ve put together some holiday party planning Do’s and Don’ts to get your party planning juices flowing.
Let’s Start With Holiday Party “Do’s”
1 | Be thoughtful about the time and date of the party
One of the tricky initial questions to ask yourself when planning a holiday office party is when you should throw it.
If you’re throwing a party that’s going to take place where you work, the end of the day at the end of the week is generally best. Otherwise, you’ve got some options.
If you’re planning a kid-friendly event, consider a Saturday afternoon barbecue. If you’re opting for a grown-ups only space, Friday or Saturday evening is the easiest time to ensure babysitters can be called in.
As far as the actual date goes, we recommend opting for a day during either the first two weeks of December or the second two weeks of January. Know that this is not only a popular time for business events, but also for weddings. So, the earlier you can find your perfect corporate event venue, the better.
2 | Send invitations well in advance
This one speaks for itself—give people at least a month’s notice for your holiday party so they can plan around it if need be. Six weeks with a reminder a few weeks before the big event is even better!
3 | Find an appropriate venue
It is fun for your team to get out of the workplace and into somewhere new for your party. No matter what industry you work in, venues like the 14 we have available at The Centre are equipped for a wide variety of events.
4 | Help plan transportation
A thoughtful touch when planning an office party is to help your team coordinate transportation. You can rent out shuttles in your area, give out Uber codes, or create a rideshare system within your organization. Talk with your HR department about these possibilities, and let guests know what transportation is planned with all of your event reminders.
5 | Have a plan + schedule
You don’t want to walk into a holiday party with absolutely no structure. Don’t get us wrong, it doesn’t need to be planned down to the minute, but having holiday party games, a set cocktail hour, or even a slideshow with company photos can help you keep the night on track and keep your guests entertained. Parties are all about flow, and that’s actually something you can cultivate.
6 | Recommend a dress code
There’s nothing worse than walking into a party realizing you went way overboard (or underboard) with your outfit. People need to know if a holiday party dress or suit needs to be pulled out of the closet ahead of time.
Your invitation is the best place for this information, so make sure you include it there.
7 | Have food ready
This point is both self explanatory and very important: hungry people are angry people, so make sure there’s food available at your party. We have a wonderful partnership with the award-winning Vintana Wine + Dine. Their menus will have your guests talking about the food and beverages for many years to come. Having a bar is an option and you should take the atmosphere of your work environment into consideration when making the choice to include one.
Now For The Holiday Part “Don’ts”
1 | Be vague
When you send out invitations, make sure every base is covered; your attendees need to know exactly what’s going on at your event.
Include date and time, directions (if the location requires parking offsite, for example), dress code, theme (if there is one), food and drink plans, carpool opportunities, etc. Reducing any room for questions will save you a whole lot of emails in the long run.
2 | Change the details
Once the details are set, don’t change them. Getting people to one location is already difficult enough, making changes to the specifics is a surefire way of losing attendees. People have lives that need to be planned, so working into their schedules is much easier if you’re consistent. Of course, things pop up that we cannot control, but keeping changes to a minimum is ideal when possible.
3 | Work without a budget
When having any type event, it’s important to have a budget and stick to it. We all love a good, fun party, but no extravagant venue or stock of champagne is worth putting your company in financial trouble. Set your budget before you start planning, and stick to it. Keep a padding for any last-minute needs that might come up (outdoor heaters, extra meals, a special guest, etc.) so that there are no surprises when your financial team sees what was spent.
4 | Stress yourself out
We know this is a tough one for all of you type A party planners, but you can’t let an event that’s all about having fun stress you out. If you’re reading this, it means you’re on track for a smooth event.
The key to planning an event is being prepared enough that you can actually enjoy the evening yourself. So get to work with the details, keep your team in the know, and enjoy your holiday season. Our team is here to help you along the way. Contact us today to see how we can help you plan the Holiday party of your dreams!