Organizing the annual holiday work party can be a lot of fun if you approach things the right way. Like all event planning projects, the primary focus should be on the attendees. When your guests have a great time the event will remembered as a success, regardless of any details that were accidentally overlooked. And the nice thing about holiday parties is that everyone wants to have fun, so all you have to do as the planner is keep the positive vibe flowing. Read below for a list of ideas and activities that will help you do just that!
Guess the Santa
This is a simple game that is guaranteed to get some laughs. Secretly ask one of your co-workers if they would be willing to wear the Santa suit. During the event introduction, have Santa come in the room and deliver gifts or make a brief announcement. Then, while Santa is on stage, ask the audience to raise their hand if they think they know who it is. You can offer a prize as a reward or just enjoy the funny responses.
Here is another idea that you can incorporate with any size group. Extra vacation days and gift certificates are always crowd pleasers. As far as awarding prizes, you can either do a straight drawing or add more interaction with a game like guess how many candy canes are in the jar.
Christmas Around the World
Spice up your catering selections by featuring an international menu. The most popular options are always Mexican, Italian and Asian foods, but don’t overlook traditional Christmas cuisine from places like Finland, Sweden and the Philippines. You can find an excellent overview of traditions from each country on this Wikipedia page.
Incorporate a Special Cause
The holiday season is of course a time for giving, and most companies include charities in their community engagement programs. The holiday office party is a good time to recognize both the efforts throughout the year and to designate a special gift for a worthy cause. If your company sponsors a children’s organization for example, you could invite a small group of children to sing carols at your event and then stay for lunch. Another idea is to sponsor a family and ask for volunteers to purchase an item or two from their wish list.
Bring Your Own Dessert
I don’t normally recommend “pot lucks” because they can be disorganized and messy, but a homemade dessert table typically works well for everyone. You should probably add a few basic parameters like a registration form to insure you get enough participants and variety. Another way to build the excitement is to add nomination forms for the best dessert.
Celebrity appearances always lift the spirit of the audience, so if you have the budget then this might be a fun option. A short ten to fifteen minute performance by a comedian or musician is enough to play to the crowd without annoying those who aren’t interested. Other celebrities like actors and athletes can also be fun, but make sure you have a plan for how they will engage with the audience. You don’t want to drag the party down with a 45 minute speech.
It is much easier to incorporate funny gifts than traditional presents when you are working with a wide range of personalities. Some popular ideas for gag gifting include finding the worst gift under $5, or having a mystery draw of wrapped gifts where only a few items are actually worth keeping. Just be sure to keep it clean or you will find yourself in the HR office on Monday!
The best ideas for holiday work parties are the ones that make people laugh and smile. Remember, you don’t need an endless budget to plan a successful holiday party. Get creative and don’t be afraid to ask your co-workers to participate. You might be surprised at what you can do with a little creativity!