How to Plan a Corporate Holiday Party

RedWater Events
September 29, 2021

How important is it to have a corporate holiday party? How beneficial can it be for the company and for employees? In an era when people prioritize the workplace environment when choosing a career, creating a sense of team and togetherness among employees in today’s competitive workplace is more important than ever. This post will help you learn how to plan a corporate holiday party.

Corporate Holiday Party Planning Checklist

The last thing you want is for your party to flop, so make sure you don't skip any of these major considerations for hosting a holiday party. Making a plan to accomplish each of these checklist items is key to throwing a successful soiree.

1. Choose a Date

The first item of business when planning your office holiday party is choosing a date. While it may be tempting to pick the day before the big holiday, your employees' calendars are likely already full with family plans, vacations, and time off.

Conduct a survey to investigate what your employees have to say about the date. You could do this by emailing them with a questionnaire. It’s not likely that a single date will work with every employee, especially if you work at a large organization, so once you have their responses, you’ll have to choose what date works for the most people. Smaller organizations may have less of an issue with this. 

2. Set a Budget

Setting a corporate holiday party budget is key as your budget will determine a lot of things. A portion of the budget will need to go to entertainment, whether you choose to have a live band, party games, a white elephant exchange, or some other kind of entertainment. So, plan your corporate holiday party entertainment budget based on activities that will work best with your team.

Besides entertainment, other things you will need to budget for include decorations, invitations, food, and beverages. Food and drinks can be a huge party budget item, so decide early what type of menu you want to offer. 

Equally important items you will need to budget for include gifts. Make sure that gifts for the corporate holiday party are appropriate for your employees.

Other things to plan for include transportation and anything else you think would be a nice addition to the party.

3. Determine Your Venue

Next, you will need to decide on a corporate holiday party venue. Keep in mind that if you choose to host the party at your office, someone will need to be assigned to set up, keep food and beverage stocked, and clean up after the event. Many companies decide to hold their party at an event venue to avoid this stress and ensure that all staff get to enjoy themselves. 

Consider how far away from work your holiday party should be (if you choose to provide transportation to the event, you’ll need to factor those costs into the budget).

Choose an appropriate site based on what type of corporate holiday party you want and how many people plan to attend. Your corporate holiday party venue will need to have the appropriate space, food, drinks, and entertainment.

Plus, the venue should meet any other corporate event needs as determined by your corporate holiday party planning checklist.

Some of the venues you may want to consider besides your business location include the following:

You could simply search ''corporate holiday party venues near me,'' and Google will give you endless options.

4. Determine the Type of Party

So, what type of work holiday party will you be holding? This is a great way to get everyone involved and engaged. You’ll need to decide if the party will be a gala or informal, and the types of food and drinks available (and whether they’ll be alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

These types of parties will help bring all your employees together. You can also hire some professional event management companies who could bring some extra fun to the party.

What activities will be available? You could have an ugly sweater contest, or you could play games like poker. If it is a formal event, you can hire some guest speakers to talk about the company history or their recent successes.

5. Set an Alcohol Policy

Typically, corporate holiday party planning ideas include a signature cocktail (or mocktail). But, you will need to set a policy about drinking.

Decide if it is an open or cash bar. Also, do some research about how much people drink during office parties and see if you have enough alcohol for their consumption.

When setting the alcohol policy, communicate what you are covering and other important info to the employees. Will you allow them to drink all night for free? Will you cover a certain amount of their drinks? At what time will the bar close? Is it beer and wine only? What time will alcohol be served? Are there drink tickets?

Clear, well-timed communication around alcohol will set employees at ease and encourage them to look forward to the holiday party.

6. Figure Out Your Menu

Determining the menu is an essential aspect of corporate holiday party planning. First, you need to make sure that it is something your employees will like and that it’s within your budget. Then, you can decide if you will need to source the food from a local catering service or restaurant or use in-house catering from your event venue. Keep in mind that you will also need to have someone to set up and serve the food, as well as clean up after the meal. Most venues with in-house catering provide these services which removes the responsibility from the event host.

When deciding on the menu, you will first need to decide if the event will be seated with plated meals or more casual with a buffet or a variety of hors d'oeuvres. Do some research on what dishes will work best for your employees (dietary restrictions and preferences could be requested as part of the date survey). You may also want a menu that matches the theme of your party.

Additionally, as mentioned above, the menu needs to be within a budget. What you eat and drink at your party needs to be something that the company can afford. Event venues with in-house catering and outside catering companies can help with this part of your planning, but you should have a budget in mind for both food and beverages.

7. Communicate to Employees

Communication will also play a vital role in the success of your work holiday party idea. Once you've planned everything, you will need to communicate the information to your employees. Again, you should do this in advance so that they can plan their wardrobe, arrange their transportation, and find childcare if needed.

Are the attendants going to contribute some money towards the event? Will the party be formal or casual? Are employees allowed to bring their significant others? Are they supposed to carry some gaming gear? You should get everybody on board so that nobody has any complaints when it's too late.

Office Holiday Party Ideas

Here are some work holiday party ideas that you may want to consider:

Corporate Holiday Party Game Ideas

When it comes to corporate games, they should be competitive yet enjoyable. Below is a list of games to play at a company holiday party:

Crafting a Successful Holiday Party

So that's how to plan a corporate holiday party. Just remember that the event is for the company employees and to do something fun for them to let them know you appreciate them. Hopefully, this list has provided you with the information necessary to plan a holiday party of your own.

For corporate party venue ideas, catering and more, contact the party planning professionals at RedWater Events today to discuss an event for your holiday party this year!