It’s that time of the year again: time to plan your staff Christmas party. You’ve got invitations to send out, restaurants or caterers to book, gift bags to make, decorations to buy. Whether it’s your first time planning one, or you’ve got several under your belt, we’ve got 7 tips to help you plan the best party yet.
Tip #1: Atmosphere & Themes
A theme will guide how you plan your party, the decorations, food, the invitations, who will be invited (staff, clients and loved ones), the dress code, and what your staff can expect of the party. They can also help you decide whether or not you’d like to have a more formal sit-down occasion or a casual potluck party. Themes don’t have to be elaborate, but even something simple can help you plan a party that will best fit your company.
There are many themes out there, but some classic ones to get you started include:
- Silver & Gold
- White Christmas
- Winter Wonderland
- Tacky Christmas Sweater Party
- Silver Bells
- Candy Cane Lane
- Gingerbread Town
- The Great Gatsby
You could also take inspiration from classic Christmas films or songs. Whatever you choose, having a theme can guide your party planning, and make the party more memorable.
Tip #2: Plan Out Food & Catering Options in Advance
This is one of the busiest times of the year for restaurants and caterers. Don’t leave this until December to reserve something. You’ll want to book well in advance to ensure you have the best option available and so that you aren’t scrambling for food offerings last minute. This still applies if you are having a potluck, as staff may need plenty of notice to plan or make what they will bring. You’ll also want to take note of any food allergies or restrictions so that everyone can eat and have a good time.
A potluck-style party:
- Is a great way to celebrate when on a smaller budget
- Allows for a more casual atmosphere for staff to get to know each other
- Works well for more family-oriented or kid-friendly parties.
Somethings to keep in mind with a potluck party:
- Ask in advance & take notes of what everyone is bringing (Use something like Google Forms to keep a virtual record)
- Take note of allergies and tell your staff about the allergens to avoid
- Have everyone bring an ingredient list so those with allergies or a restricted diet can see what’s in the food.
A restaurant or catered party:
- Is a more formal and elegant setting that works well to feed a larger or smaller staff group
- Relieves the stress of preparing food and drinks from your staff
- Allows you to choose a delicious and memorable meal.
Somethings to keep in mind with catering or restaurant services:
- You’ll need an RSVP on your invites to give your caterers or restaurant a headcount
- This can be a more expensive way to celebrate the holidays
- You’ll want to book your restaurant or catering services well in advance, as they can get booked up fast. We suggest starting your search a month in advance, if not earlier.
Tip #3: Send Out Custom Invitations
Nothing sets the mood like custom party invitations. While it may seem easier to send out an email, a physical invitation is more special and stands out. It’ll also give your staff the information they’ll need to plan accordingly, such as when and where the party is, what to wear and what to bring. Once you have a theme and a date for your company Christmas party, you can send your invitations.
Some things you’ll want to include on your invitations are:
- Date, time & location
- Dress code
- What to bring (such as food for the potluck or gifts for Secret Santa)
- Plus-ones or who else they can bring (such as whether or not their children are invited)
- A section for guests to write their dietary restrictions
- An RSVP by date
Keeping your theme in mind, you can talk to your local print shop to help with designing your invitations. Using a print shop will simplify the creation process. If your business is in Fort McMurray, Printing Unlimited offers many different options for customizing a party invitation. Contact us today to discuss your company’s Christmas party invitations.
Tip #4: Musical Entertainment
Whether you’re hiring a band or creating your own Spotify or Apple Music playlist, music is an important part of any party. Having music will fill any quiet spots in the evening, set the tone and holiday atmosphere for the evening and can add to your Christmas party theme. Music is a must for any party, no matter your budget.
If you can fit it into your party’s budget, a live band or DJ works well for a more formal party. However, if a band or DJ is not within your budget, we’d recommend finding speakers and creating your own playlist or playing Christmas music from CDs to give your party a lively holiday atmosphere.
Tip #5: Customize Your Party Decorations
We highly recommend having custom decorations that fit your theme or company’s branding to ring your party to life.
Custom decorations can make your party more memorable for your staff or clients who attend. It will set your party apart and is the best tool to build your theme and atmosphere.
Here are some decoration suggestions to get you started:
- Custom banners, posters and signs (these can be great to label food, display the menu, assign tables, give directions, or can have general holiday wishes and phrases around the room)
- Garlands in either holiday colours or your company’s colours
- Napkins, tablecloths and place settings in matching colours to your theme
- Classic Christmas decorations (such as Christmas ornaments, wreaths, string lights, or fake snow)
- Name cards for table placement
There are plenty more avenues to go, but no matter the direction you take, decorations are a key part of making your party more festive.
If you’re in need of custom banners, signs, name cards or other customizable decorations to fit your theme and company, contact us today to see how we can help you create your custom Christmas decorations.
Tip #6: Party Itinerary & Activities
Of course, every party should include time for the meal and any speeches that you or other staff would like to make. Some parties can easily go for hours with people chatting over food and drinks without planned activities, while others can drag on. Others will require more activities to fill the time, especially if you are inviting children or staff family members. Whether or not you have activities planned out, a general itinerary can help you to keep things organized.
If you’re inviting family members and children, it’s important to keep everyone entertained. Here are some kid-friendly holiday activities to include if you plan on inviting family members:
- Gingerbread house decoration contest
- Christmas cookie or treat decoration station
- Ornament decoration station
- A children’s area with Christmas movies, board games and children-friendly snacks
- Hot potato but with gifts (whoever has the wrapped gift when the music stops gets to open the gift)
- A scavenger hunt (Such as a “Find Santa’s Reindeer” themed one)
- Pin the tail on the reindeer
- Giant Jenga but with empty gift boxes
- Christmas themed Bingo or Charades
- White Elephant Gift Exchange
Tip #7: Staff Appreciation, Gift Baskets & Goodies
The most important part of a company Christmas party is to show your staff and clients your appreciation for their hard work and business. No matter your party’s size or budget, Christmas parties are your opportunity to thank your staff for their hard work, and let your clients know you’re thinking of them during the holiday season.
A simple way to do this is to write a speech thanking each individual member of your staff to say at the party. But if gift baskets, goodies and thank-you cards are in your budget, they can work wonders to make your staff feel appreciated.
You can show your gratitude towards your staff and clients with:
- Thank you speeches
- Custom holiday cards
- Gift baskets or gifts
- Party favours
If you want to make your staff feel more appreciated, gifts and personalized custom holiday cards are an excellent way to do it.
Here are some ideas for things to gift your staff:
- Custom thank you cards
- Custom calendars
- Chocolates or candy
- Flowers or plants
- Wine or spirits
- Artisan soaps
- Christmas bonus
- Hot chocolate mix
Make Your Company Christmas Party One To Remember
Planning a company Christmas party can be fun, but it’s also incredibly important to help acknowledge your staff’s hard work. If you’re in need of custom printing for your Christmas party, such as invitations, signs, or holiday cards, contact us today to get started.