Whether you believe in the big man in a red suit or not, Christmas parties are definitely something to look forward to. A work Christmas party is a great opportunity for colleagues to blow off some steam, celebrate the end of a MASSIVE year, and enjoy each other’s company outside of the office. It’s also a great way for employers to say thanks for the past 12 months, in particularly trying circumstances (we’re looking at you, NZ lockdown!).
Having held tons of Christmas parties at Allely Estate over the years, we’ve got a few tips we can share on what makes for a successful Christmas party. Here’s some things to consider:
- From the outset, decide whether you want something casual or formal, day or night . This will set the tone and help you determine which activities to have.
- Want to do something more formal, at night? You can go as full-on as you like! We have had businesses choose a sit-down silver service meal, complete with awards ceremony, while others have gone for a fun dress-up theme, a DJ, and a big night on the dancefloor. We can bring in karaoke or entertainers (comedy, impersonators, you name it!) or you could opt for the full casino set up – when we can’t get to Las Vegas, we can bring Las Vegas to us!
- How about a day event? Choose the right venue and you have sooo many options here. Create a relaxed festival vibe with music, bean bags and garden games. Have a high-tea or long Italian lunch under the trees. Make up your own wine festival, with bottles from the local vineyard. Kill two birds with one stone and pair team building games with a gourmet BBQ and speeches to close. Just remember to provide sunscreen!
- If you’re using your work Christmas party to recognise people, do it early on! Do your speeches, thank yous, prize givings or gift-giving early on, before the festivities hit full swing. This is your chance to talk to your company about the year gone, the year ahead, the contributions made and what they should be proud of. Do it early to make sure you have their full attention – and memory!
- Don’t underestimate games. Entertainment is great – giving people something to do eases the social awkwardness for many and can help temper the drinking. There’s heaps of great non-cringey games you can get now, like Kubb, boules or large Jenga or Connect 4. Go hard and turn it into a tournament for some easy team-building fun!
- Make sure you pick the right sized venue for your team. Too big and it feels like no one wanted to come to your party (awkward); too small and it looks like you went cheap. Having your party at work is often a cost-effective option but some people can never quite relax at their workplace while others sneak off to “send a quick email”. Treating them to an off-site celebration will have them talking for months.
- Get someone else to organise it. Things like this can be a thankless time-sucker, right when you have a tonne of other things on your to-do list. Look for a venue that will help you organise everything, so you can put down the clipboard and enjoy the party too!
- Decide whether to allow a +1 or not. There are pros and cons to this and every company is different. Pros: it’s a nice gesture to include the supportive partner who may have put up with lots of late nights and weekends of work talk! It’s also a good opportunity for them to meet those colleagues they’ve heard so much about! Cons: some people prefer to keep work and home separate, and they want to let their hair down with their team-mates without being distracted by looking out for their loved ones. It also increases the price.
- If you do include plus ones, or your company is a large one, consider name tags. Add a fun fact to them as a conversation starter, if you can ie Johnny, accounts, baked 5 sourdough loaves in lockdown.
- If you do decide to invite partners and kids, get something fun to entertain the kids. Not only does this keep them busy (read: out of trouble!), it also gives the adults a chance to enjoy themselves without having to be so hands on with their offspring. Things we’ve done here include bouncy castles, magic shows, visiting princesses, face-painting, petting zoos, pony rides, and, of course, having the always-popular Santa make a guest appearance!
- Get the Christmas vibe going with Santa hats, Christmas crackers, Christmas-themed food (like Christmas pud and pavlova, of course), tinsel, baubles, a Christmas tree, Christmas music, and a visit from the big man himself (present-giving optional!)
- Good food is a MUST. We’ve all been to events where the meal let the night down. Make sure your venue knows how to cater for many, and do it well! Don’t leave the eating part too late – that’s often what leads to some overindulging… We can provide you with your own menu, catering for all the cultural and dietary requirements your team might have.
- Book in your date ASAP. It seems ridiculous to be thinking about Christmas so early but the good venues are busy at that time of the year and book out fast, so get your date in the diary now!
Hope these help! Covid has provided so much uncertainty for so many this year – Christmas seems like a good time to shrug off the year gone by and celebrate 2021 ahead! If you’d like to see if Allely Estate would be a good venue for your work function, we’d love to help – contact us with ideas, dates or for a tour of our beautiful estate!