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Looking to deck the halls corporate edition? A holiday office party is a perfect way to kick off the holidays, enforce positive company culture and set the standard for years to come. Corporate holiday parties are fun to plan, fun to be at and fun to talk about afterward. Here are 10 tips for planning a stellar holiday office party.

1. Send a “Save the Date” Email

The first step to planning a holiday office party is to pick a date and inform everyone of that date in advance. This gives your team plenty of time to plan accordingly and assures that you will have optimal attendance. This also allows your employees to get excited and possibly coordinate carpools, plan babysitters and keep their schedules open.

2. Go Virtual?

We’re all dying to move beyond COVID, but it’s still here! Having a safe, in-person event is possible if you carefully follow CDC protocols for group gatherings, but some guests may still prefer virtual options. Many companies are going with hybrid events that offer the best of both worlds. Well-executed hybrid events can help in-person and virtual attendees have a very similar experience.

3. Location, Location, Location

If you decide to go with all in-person or hybrid, book your physical location as soon as possible. Pick a location based on your desired style and theme. Will it be black tie and fancy? Are you more into gag gifts and ugly sweaters? Make sure the venue matches your theme and is convenient for your co-workers. What is the parking situation like? Is the venue easy to find? Convenience is important for corporate events and may be the deciding factor for many to show up or not.

4. Don’t Skimp on the Food

Next, pick the food. We are big on food, and for good reason. Everybody loves food. Bad food is a sure way to ruin a party and good food is a sure way to satisfy everyone. People often eat light all day before a big party so they can eat to their heart’s content and not feel guilty about it at the party.

5. Keep it Classy with the Drinks

Now it’s time to plan the drinks. Which drinks pair well with your food? The ugly sweater party might have margaritas and Moscow Mules while the black-tie event is better suited by martinis and mixed drinks. Are your employees mature enough to have alcohol at their party or will mocktails be better for your group?

6. Deck the Halls

The next step is the fun part: the decorations! Since decorations can be very time consuming, don’t be afraid to delegate this part to employees. This can help them feel more vested in the success of the party and build comradery among those who participate. And while holiday décor is the natural choice, don’t be afraid to think beyond December. If you have an office full of winter haters, you may want to mix it up with a Hawaiian-themed party.

7. Implement a Gift Exchange

Working with a low budget? A gift exchange is low cost and so much fun. You can make a game out of it. You can make it a secret. You can specify gag gifts only for plenty of laughs. Make sure it’s simple but well-planned with plenty of advance notice.

8. Keep it Non-Denominational

The office is not a place for exclusion nor is the office party. Chances are your office is full of people from different walks of life and different religions. Unless you are a religiously oriented organization, keep religion out of it as not to marginalize anyone. Keep it neutral and welcoming for everyone!

9. Include Something Extra

What special entertainment will you have at your party to appeal to your attendees and help create fun memories? A photo booth is usually a crowd-pleaser. Or maybe you have a large enough budget to book a band or hire a DJ. A magician might add a unique touch. What will you have at your party to set it apart from other holiday parties and wow your employees? We can help with ideas.

10. Plan an Award Ceremony

Use your party as an opportunity to show your appreciation to your employees by honoring them with awards. Whether serious or funny, people love to be recognized. This can be done with a symbolic gesture such as a trophy or through a speech or possibly with corporate gifts.

Follow our 10 steps to kick the season off right and throw an epic holiday office party. We recommend prioritizing the food and decorations and start planning early. Don’t quite have time to piece together your vision? We specialize in corporate event planning services in DC, Dallas, and Los Angeles, so we’ve got your back. After a long year, employees will be especially appreciative of your efforts to make them feel valued at your annual holiday party.

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