Organizing an annual holiday work party can be a lot of fun if you approach things the right way. Like all event planning projects, the primary focus should be on the attendees. When your guests have a great time, the event will be remembered as a success, regardless of any details that were accidentally overlooked. And the nice thing about holiday parties is that everyone wants to have fun, so all you have to do as the planner is keep the positive vibe flowing.
The best ideas for holiday work parties are the ones that make people laugh and smile. Remember, you don’t need an endless budget to plan a successful holiday party. Get creative and don’t be afraid to ask your co-workers to participate. You might be surprised at what you can do with a little creativity. Consider several ideas for making a holiday party memorable.
Guess the Santa
This simple game is guaranteed to get some laughs. Secretly ask one of your co-workers if he (or she, to further fool attendees) would be willing to wear a Santa suit. During the event introduction, have Santa come in the room and deliver gifts or make a brief announcement. Then, while Santa is on stage, ask audience members to raise their hand if they think they know who it is. You can offer a prize as a reward or just enjoy the funny responses.
Extra vacation days and gift certificates are always crowd pleasers. As far as awarding prizes, you can do a straight drawing or add more interaction with a game like guessing how many candy canes are in a jar.
Christmas Around the World
Spice up your catering selections by featuring an international menu. The most popular options are always Mexican, Italian, and Asian foods, but don’t overlook traditional Christmas cuisine from places like Finland, Sweden, and the Philippines. For that international flavor, consider traditions from each country.
The holiday season is, of course, a time for giving, and most companies include charities in their community engagement programs. The holiday office party is a good time to recognize both the efforts throughout the year and to designate a special gift for a worthy cause. If your company sponsors a children’s organization, for example, you could invite a small group of children to sing carols at your event and then stay for lunch. Another idea is to sponsor a family and ask for volunteers to purchase an item or two from their wish list.
Potlucks can be disorganized and messy, but homemade desserts, like Christmas cookies, typically work well for everyone. To add some fun to this process, make it a contest by handing out voting slips to everyone in attendance, allowing them to choose which cookies they like best.
Celebrity appearances often lift the spirit of an audience, so if you have the budget, this might be a fun option. A short performance by a comedian or musician is enough to play to the crowd without annoying those who aren’t interested. Other celebrities like actors and athletes also can be fun, but make sure you have a plan for how they will engage with the audience. You don’t want to drag down the party with a 45-minute speech.
It is much easier to incorporate funny gifts than traditional presents when you are working with a wide range of personalities. Some popular ideas for gag gifting include finding the worst gift for less than $5 or having a mystery drawing of wrapped gifts where only a few items are worth keeping. Just be sure to keep it clean, or you might find yourself in the human resources office on Monday.