Holiday Office Party Tips

10970163_S-125x125Holiday office parties are often the most dreaded “reward” of the year. These events can range from stressful to a booze-fueled lawsuit waiting to happen when not planned properly. However, if you take the time when planning your party, you can often come out on top for it, especially when you follow these tips.

Pick a Theme
Choosing a theme for your holiday office party will make the planning process much smoother, as there are particular foods, activities, and locations associated with every theme. Again, be sure to consider the diversity of the employees in the workplace. In other words, don’t cop out and throw a Christmas-themed party. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, and it’s been overplayed. If your employees tend to be open-minded or silly, perhaps try a costume party? A 1970s or 1980s themed holiday party could yield some ridiculous outfits. Costume parties can also be great for parties that welcome your employees’ entire families. The theme can also help determine what kinds of foods you might want to bring in.

Make a Budget
Holiday parties can be quite the expense, so make sure you know how much money you can spend and what you plan to spend it on. Your budget can help you determine an appropriate menu and venue, as well as whether catering can be done or not, and also help you decide whether it’s reasonable to foot the cost of alcohol. This is an area where it is crucial to consider your employees. A holiday party isn’t a substitute for a bonus, so if they aren’t getting a bonus this year, avoid an exceptionally opulent event. You don’t want them to think that the company’s money could have been better spent.

Decide on a Location
If you plan to hold the holiday party at the office itself, make sure that you budget enough for food and decorations to compensate for the lack of special location. Though ballrooms and bars can be great party locations, it can be nice to see the office cast in a different light. The key is to make the environment suggest that the event is a reward, not an obligation. This is especially important when it is at the office, because some people just want to go home at the end of the day.

Bring in Families
If you fear that your holiday party could inspire behavior so crazy that it could inspire conflict, have your employees invite their families along. If your employees are raising families, this gives them an additional opportunity to spend time with them and will help you to choose themed activities that aren’t centered on drinking. Cash bars can have the same effect in terms of limiting your company’s alcohol expenses, but cash bars don’t acknowledge that your employees have lives and families outside of the office. And after all, who wants to get crazy around their family? It’s just an all-around effective way of culling problems in the party.

When it is all done, don’t forget to have fun yourself. The planning part doesn’t have to be the only time you get. And don’t forget those activities! They can even be stuff you can join in with.