Planning an office Christmas party is no small task, specifically when you already have a full-time job to do. Many of our clients are often tasked with the daunting and somewhat anxiety-ridden feeling of planning “the perfect Christmas party” for their company.

There’s the Guestlist, the Food, the Venue and its Location, the Entertainment and then the Theme.

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Theming is important, as it is the foundations of the event itself. You don’t want to choose a theme you think is going to please everyone only to find out half of the accounts department are not keen on James Bond! Do you? Maybe! Let’s explore that notion, shall we?

Renault F1 Prohibition themed corporate Christmas party we organised at Whittlebury Hall.
Renault F1 Prohibition themed corporate Christmas party we organised at Whittlebury Hall.

Prior to pulling your hair out, why not take a look at some of our Christmas Office Party Planning tips… They might just make your moonlighting experience in event management a less stressful occasion, aside from picking up the phone and having an event planner with years of experience, like me, do it for you…no? Let’s get into it then. Here are 5 ‘rules’ to planning the ‘perfect Christmas party’.

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How To Plan The Perfect Christmas Party Rule #1:

Budget

Most event agencies are creative, but the really good ones know how to be creative with budgets too…

Set the budget for your Christmas party and do not be afraid to use it. Yes, you might gain brownie points when you present back to the bosses that you have planned an event for under the budget given but will it be the best it can be? Perhaps not. By all means, do not go crazy. Most event agencies are of course creative, but the really good ones know how to be creative with budgets too.

Break your Budget down into Segments:

  • Cost of the Venue (including food, drink and room hire)
  • Cost of Christmas Entertainment and Interaction
  • Cost of Christmas Venue Theming and Christmas Decorations
  • Cost of AV & production
  • Cost of Christmas Party Invites and Print (don’t underestimate this)
  • Cost of Transportation
  • Cost of your Time

Now you have your budgets set to a degree, you can get started!

How To Plan The Perfect Christmas Party Rule #2:

Be Brave

I hate it when someone says “you cannot please everyone”. That’s Rubbish, You can and you will.

Do not be afraid of ideas! As I said in my opening statement, the theme of the event is the foundations. The initial idea is where you start to build and plan from, so think big and work your way back from there. I hate it when someone says “you cannot please everyone”. That’s Rubbish, you can and you will. I have created enough events to know that you can indeed please everyone at your event and this, without a doubt should be the goal.

You may have the odd person say something along the lines of “Oh, I have been to an Alice in Wonderland themed party before”. Yes, but have they been to one where you sit down with the Mad Hatter himself and have dinner? Or have they been to one where they have to crawl through a tiny door after drinking a shot to get into the venue?

If the answer is no then you are already well on your way to creating something memorable!

Here’s an example of what I am talking about.

How To Plan The Perfect Christmas Party Rule #3:

Get Quirky with your Christmas Party Venue

“If the answer is no to needing a conventional venue , well then this is great news”

Dome Structures From Evolution Domes

Do you have to go for the conventional venues such as the central Hotels with large function rooms? If yes then great! You have the luxury of choice, as long as you book in advance of course.

You ultimately have a plethora of brilliant venues for your Christmas party to choose from, specifically if you are in a major city. These venues are great for many reasons. One of them being that they can cater to you and what they do, works. Most venues will of course let you go in and get creative too so this is also a bonus amongst other things such as:

  • High-quality Christmas Event Catering
  • Experienced staff
  • Preferred suppliers often work with venues and are chosen for their high standard
  • Location and accessibility
  • And more.

If I had one critique, if any, of more conventional venue such as Hotels, it is that the Hotel industry, in general, has a high turnover of staff. This means who you start working with may not be who you finish working with.

Not an issue though, just make sure you keep your house in order by making sure everything is one a working document or in a folder dedicated to your event. After all, you are now an event planner to a degree and I can tell you now, a great event planner is someone who above all “can plan”!

Here is a really good blog from our friends at Time Out London which showcases some neat venues in London

If the answer is no to needing a conventional venue, well then this is also great news. More and more I am asked by clients to find them a venue which might be a black Canvas or something with a lot of character that they may not have considered before, for example:

The Dock X London

Or if your party is on a smaller scale and you are looking for something with some character and is still central, making for good public transport then perhaps Motel Studios.

A product launch we created for Interface.

This goes back to my point about being brave. Do not rule anything out! Even the most unconvincing of potential Christmas party venues can be transformed into the most amazing spaces.

How To Plan The Perfect Christmas Party Rule #4:

Entertain your guests

The Christmas Entertainment doesn’t have to be the most expensive part of your party, but done right, can be the most impactful.

Entertainment can make your event. Whether it is a great band that plays all the classics or something a little more out of the box such a winter wonderland acrobatic show, it is important for it to be memorable. When the party starts you will need professional performers to bring the house down.

It is extremely rare not to find something such as a show or walkabout performance that does not fit the theme of your Christmas party. If it’s a 1920s themed Christmas event then you have choices here. Or if you are looking at even having a sci-fi themed Christmas party (yes this happens too) then perhaps some Robot DJ’s would suffice? Or if like some of our clients you want to go all out and hire a well know celebrity act like Scott Mills or Clavin Harris, well this is also in the realms of possibilities.

Of course, I must stress to you that if you do want Calvin to attend your event, your budget plan needs to have some zeros after a 1 in the budget section of your plans. Entertainment doesn’t have to be the most expensive part of your Christmas party but done right, can be the most impactful.

How To Plan The Perfect Christmas Party Rule #5:

The Experience

The term “instagramable” was not coined by us millennials for no reason.

My clients will of course know what I am talking about here as I bang on about it all the time. The experience for me is so important and to consider every aspect of it. What will the guests see when they get to the venue? How have you decorated the entrance and what are their first impressions? Everything down to the sights, sounds and even the smells of an event are important. What are your guests feeling when they are seated at their tables and what type of environment are you creating for them.

The term “instagramable” was not coined by us millennials for no reason. I like to create events where you can explore different parts of the venue to experience different things. I love it when Instagram followers see photos from an event and ask “What party was that?” then ask the same thing about another photo only to be told it was the same event.

Immersive” is often a word used in today’s events industry and there is a good reason for it. Having your guests participate in the event and the activities is a good way of making sure they are a part of the experience as opposed to having fun shoved in their face.

For example, when we create an end of year award ceremony which are also a company’s Christmas party, we often get the staff involved in the awards themselves and name the awards after the person presenting. We created a highland themed awards ceremony in Scotland where the staff were initiated into a clan if they won an award. They would then have a fake firebrand placed on them as a tattoo as part of the initiation process.

A Talking Moose, You Say

Yes indeed! For a Shared Christmas party night at Whittlebury Hall we created an Aspen Ranch themed party. We produced and designed a talking moose head which was the compere of the event. Guests thought it was animatronic however, we actually placed a screen behind the set and a performer was inside it who could see everything.

VR and AR is of course still a really good way of immersing your guests at your Christmas event. The use of Virtual Reality snowball fights can be a great way of adding some form of competition and fun to the party. I could go on all day about “the experience” but perhaps best to leave it there.

Please get in contact with us if you would like to know more about how we plan events for our clients or indeed if you would like for us to help you plan yours!

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With over 15 years of experience, we have detailed knowledge of the events industry and have worked with all types of clients along the way. To get a quote or find out more about what we can do for you, get in touch with us today.

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