The Company Holiday Party Checklist (Part II)

310490_10150434622281803_1655992384_nPlanning your ideal company party is a big job with a long checklist of details to plan, so extensive that this blog post is a continuation of our original post The Company Holiday Party Checklist. In our last post, we discussed picking the date and time of day that works best for your employees, and your business. Remember, the holiday party is supposed to be about team-building and appreciation, so you want to make sure that every detail puts your employees, and their families, in the holiday spirit:

Theme. A holiday party without a theme is an event without direction. Decide on a theme, and use it to plan your refreshments, decorations and entertainment, even if you use it in subtle ways.

Food. Food is an integral part of every party, with many different options:

  • Finger food/appetizers. If your party is being held in mid-afternoon, a luncheon, or a late evening affair, make your party an assortment of finger food and appetizers that fit with your holiday theme.
  • Holding a luncheon or evening cocktail hour? Treat your employees to a full buffet to show them you care. A buffet is also suitable for a holiday party where your employees are coming in shifts, making it easy to keep the food warm while still providing food for everyone.
  • Traditional meal. The traditional sit-down meal is always appreciated, whether you are hosting your employees and their significant others for an evening affair or for a luncheon. If you are shutting down your business for a mid-day luncheon, a sit-down meal ensures that everyone gets lunch and can head back to the office.

Transportation. Book a venue with parking so your employees don’t have to pay for parking. This is a small (and often unnoticed) way to show appreciation for your employees.

Entertainment. Your entertainment for the event depends on the type of event you are holding. A 45-minute speech by your president is corporate entertainment, but does not always enhance that holiday atmosphere. If you are hosting a simple or small gathering, carolers or a Santa Claus are simple ways to create a festive mood. For a large gathering, contact a booking agent about selecting the right entertainers for your event.

Gifts. Don’t feel you have to give gifts to your employees, but don’t break tradition either. If your company has traditionally given out gifts, continue the tradition or communicate with your employees about your plans for this year before the holiday party. Want to create a new, charitable corporate holiday party tradition? Put a giving tree with requested gifts for local children in need up a few weeks before in your office. Have your employees bring the gifts to the party, and place them under a tree. Another option: hold a food or toy drive, and have your employees bring their donations. This is a way to show you are a giving corporate member of the community. DON’T forget to show appreciation to your employees for making it happen.

If your holiday party planning checklist is the length of Santa’s gift list, contact a venue with event planners on staff. Having an event planner from the venue allows your company to have a single contact before and during the party. A designated event planner also frees up your employees to enjoy the party, each other’s company and the appreciation of a job well done.