If you haven’t seen Office Christmas Party (2016), starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston, don’t do so until after your holiday event. Why? Let’s just say if you take any of their tips, you may end up with a HR issue on your hand.
Regardless, you want to throw a Christmas party to get your staff together to let off some steam and get into the festive spirit. Here is how to balance office-appropriateness with fun for all with our top ideas for throwing a legendary office Christmas Party.
Feature image credit: Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash
5 Office Christmas Party Ideas that Aren’t Boring
1. Corporate scavenger hunt.
A corporate scavenger hunt office Christmas party doubles as both fun away from work and a team-building exercise. You can either have a party planner organise the clues, check points and finer details, or use an app like GooseChase.
Scavenger hunt apps are becoming all the rage. They allow each team to download the app on a phone and have their check-ins tracked by GPS. Then, when they arrive to their location or do the activity required to get the next clue, it’s automatically given to them.
When selecting teams, try and partner people together who don’t frequently work together, but who have a variety of skills to make up a good team.
2. Corporate group spa package.
A spa retreat is the perfect alternative office Christmas party idea for a smaller workforce or team. It gives your crew time to kickback and relax, while someone else looks after them for a few hours.
Many day spas will include a light meal, champagne or herbal teas with their group packages, so everything will be covered in the price. Then, you just choose if you want massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, maybe a yoga session or other treatments included.
3. Hire out a theme park, putt putt course or bowling alley.
There is something really special about unwinding with a childhood activity that lets people come out of their shell. A way to build up the anticipation is to load everyone up onto a coach bus, without a word of the plans and surprise them when you arrive. Although, let them know a dress code.
Even if you don’t have a theme park, putt putt course or bowling alley in the nearby area, you may wish to hire out some equipment and make your own fun activities, complete with concession stand snack favourites.
4. A skirmish or NERF battle.
Who hasn’t felt a little frustrated at someone we work with at some point or another? A good-hearted round of skirmish or a NERF battle is the perfect way for everyone to let off some steam, have fun and bond.
Even if you don’t have a skirmish field near you, nearly every department store has NERF guns. Simply pick a few up, cordon off a section of the office or find a field, set a few rules and let loose. Whether you plan to pit team against team or an all-in battle to the exhaustion, remember to cater with food, drinks and some towels for after.
It’s quite common for workplaces with a high number of parents to be lacking the numbers at their Christmas party. If this is the case for your business, a top office Christmas party idea is to throw a picnic or event where people can bring their families to.
To make your corporate picnic a success, have a variety of food (especially to cater to any fussy eaters), eskies loaded with drinks and plenty of activities for all ages. You may even want to organise someone to dress up as Santa and hand out some small gifts.
Top Tips for Throwing a Traditional Office Christmas Party
It’s better to have too much to eat and drink than not enough.
Nothing kills a party quite like people being hungry or thirsty. Before planning your catering, it’s best to send out an RSVP (Google forms is great for this) and find out who is coming and if they have any nutritional intolerances you need to know about.
Then, sit down and organise your menu. Even if you’re only having finger party foods, you’ll want to ensure you have a variety of things for people to choose from.
With drinks, if you will have alcoholic beverages, also have some non-alcoholic options (including chilled water) available.
Music can kill or fulfill party expectations.
One of the biggest complaints heard about office Christmas parties is the music or lack thereof. It’s one of the biggest things party organisers tend to forget when a gathering isn’t very big, but it’s still crucial to have a little background noise, even if it’s just a streaming service playlist.
To cater to most music tastes, mix top hits from a variety of decades. Pop hits tend to be songs carried throughout the generations, so they’re always a good bet.
Check the weather forecast, but still plan for a weather event.
Australian weather during the summer can be unpredictable at the best of times. It doesn’t matter if you’ve come up with the best office Christmas party idea, if people are too hot, cold or, even worse, wet, it’s going to ruin the event.
While it’s easy to think of having undercover areas for outdoor events, don’t forget about keeping both indoor and outdoor spaces cool. There are some handy outdoor fans with soft water spray that are ideal for parties, or even just handing out some little hand fans.
Give your staff enough notice.
When you’re involved in the planning of an event, it can be easy to forget not everyone knows all the details. It’s best to give your staff at least a month’s notice, so if they need to arrange babysitters or other events, it’s possible.
Some workplaces will even arrange to have their office Christmas party in November as many people get swamped with responsibilities and other events closer to the holiday season.
Hiring an event organiser may actually save you money.
Event organisers will normally have access to wholesalers for decorations and other office party necessities, so they may be able to save you some money. Plus, you’ll be able to continue on with your normal workload as well as be able to throw a party your staff will actually enjoy.