Christmas is a great excuse to celebrate with your colleagues. Throwing a party is about thanking them for their hard work throughout the last year. What’s more, it can increase motivation, encourage genuine team building and trigger improvements in performance. In other words, a great event can also have great benefits for your business.
To make sure you organise something that’s going to please, you’ve got to gear the activity to the likes and dislikes of your team. After all, you want them to enjoy themselves.
The best festive dos have plenty of food and booze, but there’s a lot more to great Christmas entertainment than filling your boots. We’ve got party ideas that will impress even the Scrooge of your office.
Organise secret Santa
Not everyone admits to being a fan of secret Santa but, if you don’t set the budget too high, it’s a great way of getting everyone involved in the Christmas spirit before the party kicks off. Plus, once they’ve all got a present in front of them, everyone’s mood improves – even if they get socks.
Just one tip from us – keep it anonymous. As tempting as it is to tell someone who you’ve got or swap names around, the secrecy is part of the fun. If you think people might complain or struggle with buying a gift, you could always do a questionnaire that asks people about their hobbies, likes and dislikes.
Not only does it help with the shopping, it’s a great way to learn more about each other. Who knew Sally from accounts loved gardening?
Pick a theme
For your Christmas party, you could stick to a festive theme. So in addition to serving up things like pigs in blankets and egg nog, think about the décor. You’ll need plenty of tinsel and imagination. CEP can help complete the look with acrobatic elves, Christmas-theme stilt walkers and ice sculptures.
You could pick up some great props – reindeer ears and Santa hats, for example – and hire a photo booth for some funny photos to stick up in the office come January.
Or you could pick another theme, decorating and booking acts accordingly. Suggestions include:
- The circus – hire aerial acts for added wow factor
- Great Gatsby – a giant bird cage and water bowl acts will make your party stand out
- Bollywood – by hiring in specialist dancers, you’re sure to get everyone moving and having a great time
- For a full list of themes, check out what CEP can offer
Choose an interactive venue
As we’ve already said, essentials of any good Christmas party include plenty of food and drink. But it’s also a great idea to organise something for everyone to get involved with, rather than just being sat around a table for hours. After all, by December, you’re pretty sick of seeing their faces staring back at you all day.
Ideas for interactive activities include table tennis (e.g. Bounce), bowling, or, if you can face it, karaoke. Encourage a bit of friendly competition by putting people into teams. You could even hire some hostesses to read out scores and cheer on different teams – it will add something extra special to the atmosphere.
Keep up the entertainment
Even with Christmas parties that are less interactive, you can make it extra fun by hiring walkabout entertainment. For instance, if you’ve hired out a room at a restaurant for a Christmas dinner, why not bring out a magician between courses?
It’s a sure way of getting everyone talking and gives your party a point of difference.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could consider a snake performer. Treading the line between terrifying and entertaining, no one is going to forget the experience any time soon – especially when someone captures their scared face on camera.
Your whole Christmas party could be focused around an activity. With something like a cookery workshop, everyone can get involved. You can also encourage a bit of friendly competition. Examples include: the most creative pizza, best sushi or greatest sausage.
A similar idea is cocktail making. Learn from the experts and get creative, all the while having a few drinks – sounds like great fun. Our bar flairers can show you a trick or two and are guaranteed to impress.
Give them a gift
Of course, the Christmas party is a great way of thanking colleagues for all their hard work throughout the year. But as an additional gesture, you can organise something for everyone to take home with a caricaturist.
It will also serve as light-hearted entertainment throughout the event, as everyone laughs at each other’s exaggerated drawings. It’s the perfect addition to any party.
Organise a pub quiz
If you don’t fancy the standard Christmas sit-down dinner, you could organise a pub quiz. Do serve food though or you’re at risk of everyone having a bit too much to drink – and nothing to soak it up.
To build up a bit of excitement for the event, you could ask each department to come up with their own set of questions. That way everyone gets involved and is guaranteed to get some questions right.
While you’re waiting for someone to tot up the scores, why not treat your guests with some singers? They can blend in as bar staff or waiters at the start of the night to surprise the unassuming audience. It will certainly put a smile on their faces.
Taking to the water could make your Christmas party one to remember. Across the UK, you can hire cruisers as venues to host events on – some move and some don’t. They’re a unique way to celebrate the end of a great year and many companies include catering in the package, minimising the stress for you.
Different seasonal packages will suit small and large businesses, ranging from a disco and finger food, to four-course meals. Whatever floats your boat, it’s a sure way to celebrate Christmas in style.
You could make the event extra special, though, with something guests certainly won’t be expecting in the run-up to Christmas – snow. Hiring a snow machine as a surprise will spread some festive spirit. CEP also offer a bubble ballerina, which works great as a giant snow globe.
Insist on Christmas jumpers
Eliminate all of the stress of what to wear for a Christmas party and ask everybody to come in a Christmas jumper – the cheesier the better. No-one will feel silly because you’ll all look like fools. Embrace the ugliness.
Get them there in style
You want your Christmas party to be a great experience from start to finish, so don’t forget about transport. Whether you opt for minibuses, limousines, or a red London bus, just get your guests there safely – and preferably in style. Greet them with some canape girls and they’ll be made to feel as important as they are to your company.
Also, get in everyone’s good books by arranging taxis home so people can enjoy a drink without having to worry about organising a lift home.
The travelling party
Alternatively, you could take your party on the road. Book some group train tickets and take everyone on a seasonal journey. You can visit a Christmas market in Bath or Manchester, for example.
If you book with the Orient Express and their trains, the British Pullman and the Northern Belle, you’ll get a luxury experience including a four-course meal and champagne.
A treasure hunt
Everyone likes to engage their childish side once in a while – and what better occasion than at Christmas. A treasure hunt is the perfect interactive, competitive and memorable party.
Set up stops which all teams have to pass in order to finish and include roadblock challenges. In other words, don’t let them move to the next stage until they’ve completed a task or solved a riddle and collected some proof of success.
For example, get them to eat something gross, whilst other members of the team have to guess the next destination from clues made by a balloon modeller.
The last stop should be the party destination, where the winners can enjoy a drink or two while waiting for everyone else to catch up.
Set up a casino
For a luxury Christmas party, you could host a Vegas-style casino night as a great way to celebrate the end of a successful year – a super idea if everyone exceeds their targets, for instance.
Hunt down a great venue, and hire in casino tables and entertainers. Walk-about show girls from CEP can serve canapes, as well as mix and mingle with your guests. Oh and don’t forget about the glamourous champagne tower.
Invite family to an in-house party
If you’ve got enough space in your office, throwing a budget-friendly Christmas party is a great way of inviting everyone’s better halves and creating a friendly workplace atmosphere.
Get the kids and pets in too – they can dress up in cute outfits, so you don’t have to. Organise a gingerbread house competition and serve up some buffet-style food for a laid-back approach to this year’s party.
A movie night
Another budget-friendly idea is a movie night. Get the pizzas in and put on some classic Christmas movies – Elf, Home Alone 2, Bad Santa, you get the idea. It’s a chilled-out event, whilst still maintaining the idea of a Christmas party – to reward staff and celebrate as a team. Just don’t forget the mince pies.
Treat them to desserts
Whatever event you choose, before everyone heads off home for the evening, it’s a great idea to leave on a sweet note.
Organise a dessert bar where people can warm up with some hot chocolate, for instance – include loads of toppings such as cream, sprinkles and cinnamon (perhaps even some spirits) and it will delight your staff.
Get into the festive spirit with a talented acoustic band. They’re perfect for all sorts of Christmas parties, whether that’s a sit-down dinner or something a bit livelier. By the end of the night, everyone will be joining in with the Christmas carols.
Using these ideas as an inspirational springboard, you’ll be sure to plan, organise and deliver a great Christmas party. If you’re interested in any of CEP services, contact us today.