Nothing caps off a great year in the workplace quite like a corporate holiday party. This is your chance to show your appreciation for all that your employees do.
It takes a lot of effort and creativity, but a great company holiday party can create deep bonds and lasting memories. Planning won’t be easy, but these holiday party ideas should help:
Schedule a Group Activity Beforehand
If you intend to throw your party at the office, consider adding a ‘field trip’ of sorts to help attendees shed their typical work mindset. Take advantage of team-building activities to encourage bonding and get party ideas from coworkers. Examples include:
- Murder mystery
- Escape room
- Sleigh ride
- Ice skating
- Happy hour
Pick a Party Theme
The right theme can make your office holiday party feel more cohesive. It also streamlines the planning process by narrowing down your options for decor, activities, and food.
Phyllis from The Office clearly understood the value of a solid theme when she tried her best to throw a Moroccan Christmas. Your theme can be strictly silly if you want, however — a lot depends on workplace vibes and employee preferences.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, consider these effective party themes:
- Ugly sweater
- Classic Christmas movies
- Nutcracker ballet
- Christmas luau
- Royal Christmas
- Festive brunch
- Vintage Christmas
Decorate the Event Space
Decorations can spell the difference between a drab affair and a memorable party. These are especially important if your party takes place at the office. Otherwise, the space will simply feel too professional for employees to fully relax.
If you’ve selected a holiday party theme, you’ll find this part of the process a lot easier. Leverage that theme by choosing decorative elements that make the party’s emphasis as clear as possible. Cardboard cutouts make this easy, allowing you to pull off any theme — no matter how outlandish it might seem. Otherwise, keep it simple with all the hallmarks of a great holiday setup: a Christmas tree, strings of lights, and stockings.
Provide Tasty Treats & Beverages
If you ask employees what they find most compelling about the annual holiday party, many will mention delicious food and beverages. Appetizers tend to be the easiest to arrange, although many workplaces treat their employees to gourmet dinners. Food trucks can add excitement to your event, while cookie decorating functions as both entertainment and dining. Potlucks are acceptable for a casual affair, but guests generally prefer that food is provided.
Alcoholic beverages are an office holiday trademark, but you’ll want to proceed with caution: without some safeguards in place, you might end up with some unruly employees. Many corporate event planners have found success with drink tickets, which limit attendees to just one or two alcoholic beverages each. Don’t forget to provide plenty of enticing non-alcoholic options, such as creative mocktails, hot chocolate, and eggnog.
Provide On-Site Entertainment
A DJ is a must-have for any party with a dance space — unless you’re able to get a live band. Either way, the hottest hits will have even the most reserved employees showing off their hottest dance moves. For a more low-key event, you can always have somebody volunteer to create an awesome playlist that gets everyone up and dancing. Karaoke can also be an amazing option for brave souls. Also, simply playing holiday movies in the background should keep guests happy.
Plan a Gift Exchange
Gift-giving can be a dicey affair in the workplace, where employees could quickly feel underappreciated or left out. The solution? Take charge with a planned holiday gift exchange. Secret Santas are great for building stronger relationships among employees who might otherwise never interact. White elephant arrangements are ideal for lighthearted gift exchanges. Be sure to impose a strict limit on spending and gift cards, instead encouraging a mentality of “it’s the thought that counts.”
Host Holiday Party Games
A great dance floor can certainly amp up your party, but it’s not strictly necessary. The right games will help attendees build strong bonds with one another. Traditional board games or card games are great to have on hand for keeping smaller groups of employees happy, but you can also get the entire crowd in on a game. When in doubt, try these favorites:
- Charades. If your employees have a great sense of humor, they will love participating in charades. Choose holiday-themed concepts, such as scenes from favorite Christmas movies. If your employees are hesitant to act in front of each other, holiday Pictionary is a great alternative.
- Trivia. While we mentioned trivia as a possible pre-party activity, it can also be incorporated into the actual festivities. Compile holiday-themed questions to accommodate the event’s theme if desired. Keep participants motivated with the promise of prizes for the winning team.
- Scavenger hunt. Provide simple clues to get attendees exploring your party’s venue. Items for the scavenger hunt checklist could be as simple as tinsel or stockings. You can also go specific to give guests a challenge.
- Build a snowman. This silly game is popular among kids but remains just as fun in adulthood. Its premise is simple: each team gets a few rolls of toilet paper, which are used to transform one brave team member into a snowman.
Make Photo Booth Memories
Encourage your employees to preserve special memories with help from a photo booth. This should feature a festive backdrop and plenty of props to encourage goofy posing. Cardboard cutouts work wonderfully for both purposes, and, as mentioned previously, can be strategically printed to reflect your party’s unique theme.
Send Guests Away With Party Favors
If you’ve followed all the suggestions listed above, guests will be reluctant to leave as your Christmas party draws to a close. Send them away with favors that capture the essence of your big event. Examples might include:
- Holiday treat bags
- Cute ornaments
- Red or green candles
- Hot cocoa mix
- Christmas koozies
Provide Virtual Options for Remote Employees
The virtual holiday party took over in 2020 and 2021 when COVID prevented many people from gathering in person. While traditional festivities have returned in full force, some remote employees may not be able to attend due to distance or timing. Keep them included with virtual options. For example, many of the games and activities mentioned above can be adapted to accommodate remote guests attending via Zoom. Create a backdrop for the filmed area so that the virtual display appears as festive as possible.
Take Your Office Party to the Next Level With Cardboard Cutout Standees
With the right decor, activities, and menu, any corporate party can be a blast. The goal? To help employees relax and connect after a year of hard work. Cardboard Cutout Standees can amplify this effect by bringing a lighthearted feel to your big event.
If you’d like to learn more about opportunities for decorating with life-sized cutouts or using BigHeads as photo booth props, don’t hesitate to get in touch.