Monday, November 17, 2008

Successful Office Holiday Party with these 10 Tips

Congrats, you’re in charge of the office Christmas party this year. Maybe you have done it many times or it could be your first time, in either case how do you plan for a successful Holiday party? Simple use Party Game Ideas to find activities and follow my Christmas Party Tips.

Here are my tips for a Successful Holiday Party.

1. Clarify the budget
In tough times everyone is looking to reduce costs but have a great time. So, check with your boss and determine what this year’s budget is. Be prepared to call in favors and ask for help to make your party a success.

2. Location
Will your Holiday party be out of the office or in? To save money, see if you can hold it at the office, if it is not possible then work to negotiate a better deal this year. Holiday parties allow you to maintain the level of gift giving yet it can save hundreds or thousands on your holiday party costs.

For events outside the office, this years theme is negotiate or have several places bidding for your business. If you book with a hotel or convention weekend, see if you can have them donate prizes to your event. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

3. Who will attend?
Determine whether it will be employees, employees and dates or employees and their families. One key factor is whether or not children will be there as kids get a little restless so you will need activities or events for them.

4. Holiday Party Theme
Is there a holiday party theme or is it a social holiday gathering? Themes could be Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Winter Wonderland, Happy Holidays, etc… this could help you define prizes, party favors and decorations.

5. Party Activities
I have found it easiest to think of your holiday party in sections; beginning, middle and end. For most Christmas and Holiday parties, you have a social time, the meal, after meal activities like holiday gift exchanges or games, Santa and presents or party favors.

If it is adults only, you may want some Christmas trivia games and a gift exchange before any prize or Santa event. However, if you have lots of kids try to have a table for kids to do coloring and various pen and paper games. Here are printable Christmas games and activities that should work. After dinner try to have an interactive family game like Find Santa’s Reindeer (you could use elves to) to get the kids up and moving before they have to sit again.

6. Holiday Party Invitations
Once you have the basics decided, sent out your invitation. You can do an online invitation, general email or send out your own. Note with the busy holiday season, the sooner you send the invitation the better. Make sure to include all the basic information including Where, when, who is invited, theme and any other pertinent details.

7. Christmas Party Decorations
You can choose to go simple and elegant or over the top with decorations, I find simple works best. Wrap a variety of boxes in colorful paper and stack, add a Christmas tree and a few other items like hanging snowflakes or reindeer and you are set.

Christmas Party Photo Stand InMake the event more memorable with a simple photo stand-in. A holiday photo stand-in is basically a great photo opportunity for all attending and is great for parents and co-workers. I have found these really become a focal point and help build fond memories of the event.

So if it is in the budget try and creates a photo opportunity that is sure to spread good cheer!

8. Plan Holiday Party Menu
This is one event where I recommend you have it all catered, the less work for employees the better. Remember they are here to work and run the business, not prepare food for a company event. (Just my 2 cents) If they volunteer to bring in cookies, cakes or side dishes great!

9. Party Favors, Prep Work, RSVP's, Gifts
Christmas Bottle Stopper FavorFinal steps based on budget. Determine if there will be Holiday Party Favors – Holiday theme or corporate logo gifts. Keep it simple and go with one type of favor or gift for all. This can range from Bottle Stoppers, Ornaments, frames, etc…

Next have an area designated for placing all the Holiday Party items, this way when the big day arrives you are all set.

RSVP's - Make sure you have these 2 weeks in advance, but plan save a few places for late attendees.

Check with the boss or president of the company are you in charge of getting gifts or are they handling that too? It is best to be aware of what is expected of you, that way you are sure to succeed.

10. Have a Great Party and Happy Holidays
2 days before the party make sure you have everything and make any last minute changes as needed. Then you will be ready for the big day!

Final Note of Advice - Keep some items a secret.
And here is why, often if you share everything and something falls through people get disappointed. However, if you share only a little and then surprise them and over deliver; then they tend to enjoy the event more.

Have fun and Happy Holidays
Sarah - The Party Game Ideas Lady

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