Category Archives: company holiday party ideas

Planning a Company Holiday Party: 10 Questions That Lead to Success

company holiday party entrance after using company holiday party checklistThere’s planning the regular annual office holiday party, and then there’s planning a successful company holiday party that everyone wants to attend. If you want to plan the latter, we’ve compiled a checklist of questions to ask that lead you to a successful company holiday party that people can’t wait to RSVP for.

What is the goal of our holiday party?

Sadly, having fun is not specific enough.  What is the goal of your party? To show appreciation to your employees? Giving your company employees a networking opportunity? Bring your employees and their families together as a token of gratitude?  The goal of your holiday party dictates every step of your company holiday party planning: guest list, venue, date and time, theme, cuisine, favors, etc.

What is the guest list?

Before you decide any details, put together a guest list so you have approximate head count to expect.  This number is vital in deciding your holiday party venue, discussions with the caterer, budget, etc.

What is the budget?

Set a budget appropriate for the size of your party and goals.  Breakdown your budget into categories so you have an adequate amount for each area of your party and are not crunching funds for vital elements of your party planning.

Can we hold it off site? What is the holiday party venue for our party?

Your guest list, budget, and location should be taken into consideration when choosing your party venue.  If you need to keep your venue in budget, consider holding your holiday party during off-season or on a weekday night or for a Sunday brunch.

To accommodate your guests, and increase your attendance, consider the location of your venue and transportation options.  Choose a venue near public transportation for a weekday holiday party, or with parking for an afternoon or evening out with family. To increase favorable RSVPs, research unique venues that catch the attention of your guests, such as a historic setting (for a formal or family party) or a family event venue your guests want to attend.

What date works best for our company and employees?

Factor in your busy season, and the schedule of your employees when choosing the right date for your company holiday party.  The ideal date depends on your goal and guest list; there are three common approaches to choosing a date and time:

  • January or February party. Want to wait until after the crazy holiday season, both for your business, budget, and for the sake of your employees? Set a date for your corporate holiday party in January or February.
  • A longer party for bigger crowds. If you’re worried about having staff to answer phones through the day, or have a larger crowd but don’t want to book a large venue for your hundreds or thousands of employees, hold a holiday party open house with festivities that last throughout the afternoon and early evening. You’ll not only save money on venue rental but your employees appreciate the option to come when it works best for them.
  • Afternoon party or luncheon. Consider a luncheon at a venue outside of your company. Book a venue for an “off day”—a week day when events are typically not held—during the afternoon when venues offer discounted rates. Host a simple, professional party or a more casual affair during the work day.

What is the theme of the company holiday party?

Along with budget, a theme is vital to company holiday party planning because it gives direction to almost every element of your party planning (find ideas for your holiday party theme here). From themed décor to food, don’t miss an opportunity to create a wonderful holiday party atmosphere.

What are our cuisine needs?

Your menu choices depend on so many different holiday party details such as theme, party date and time, and expected guest list.  When choosing a menu, take the opportunity to incorporate your theme, such as gingerbread cookies as part of Santa’s workshop.

Are we serving alcohol?

This holiday party decision is not as simple as it sounds; there can be liability and risk concerns.  If you are considering serving alcohol, discuss your options and risk with your venue staff.  They can give you information, or connect you to a knowledgeable party that can outline the issue.

What are our holiday party entertainment needs?

Whether your guest list is employee-only or a family event, consider the entertainment needs of your guests.  For a family event, consider elves to help with cookie decorating or passing out presents to your youngest guests.

Is our company giving out gifts or favors?

Dependent upon your budget and holiday party goals, gifts or favors can be a fantastic show of appreciation.  Be strategic about your gifts or favors; tie them into your holiday party theme in some way.  If you need ideas, be sure to talk to your venue event planners.  Experienced staff members can give you ideas of what they’ve seen at other parties.

Budget-Friendly Company Holiday Party Ideas

company holiday party decorJust because your company holiday party has a budget doesn’t mean you have to gather around your conference room, eating Chinese food in shifts, and wishing each other “Happy Holidays.” There are still affordable ways to throw a company holiday party, and ways to minimize expenses for your office mates. It’s not an impossible task if you follow these budget-friendly tips for your next affordable (and fun) business holiday party.

Carefully choose your venue

Don’t feel that you have to be stuck in your company building; you and your employees are there every week, so why should you be anchored to the same place for your company holiday party? Choose a holiday party hall with parking to minimize the costs for your employees, and the cost of transportation. Don’t assume that those locations are out of your budget; contact your local party venues first. Most halls are more affordable than you think.

Make your event a luncheon

There are three advantages to a holiday party luncheon: 1) holiday party venue rates may be more affordable 2) you can alternate your front office staff during the holiday party so everyone can attend 3) it’s easy for your clients to understand if you run with minimal staff during the middle of the day. Holding your holiday party as a luncheon also minimizes your guest list, since significant others won’t be joining for the festivities.

Book your company party after the holidays

The holidays are crazy for your co-workers and employees, both personally and professionally. Don’t feel obligated to hold a company party during the holiday season. An appropriate winter-themed holiday party can be held after the holidays when business and personal obligations have lessened, and when many holiday party venue rates are more affordable due to less weddings and other events.

Choose a day that’s not a Saturday for your company holiday party

Most venue and hall rates are the most expensive during the most popular day of the week: Saturday. If you want to save money, inquire about the cost of a hall on a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, when rates tend to be more budget-friendly. To get the best price, ask about several different dates instead of tying yourself to one particular day.

Don’t skimp where it counts but minimize expenses

This seems like a contradiction, but it’s actually more of a holiday party planning strategy. Use affordable strategies such as choosing a venue that doesn’t need much décor or serving appetizers for an afternoon holiday social, but invest in carolers for the occasion or in giveaways or refreshments. Every company is different when it comes to prioritizing items in your holiday party budget, but the goal is the same: holding a memorable holiday party without blowing the budget.

6 Different Company Holiday Party Ideas

corporate holiday party ideasTrying to deviate from the same old company holiday party? Looking for new ideas for your annual company holiday party? Or are you looking to revive an old tradition of showing your vendors your appreciation? We’ve got a few ideas of company holiday parties that can give you and your guests a warm holiday spirit, even in the midst of our cold Wisconsin winters:

Give them a lunch break or afternoon off they won’t forget. Instead of making your employees get a babysitter or a date, book a local venue for a weekday afternoon with delicious appetizers and music or mid-day lunch off site. Find an entertainer to keep them entertained, and set up a gift exchange or company giveaway to give them an afternoon away from the office that makes them feel appreciated.

Treat your employees to dinner and a show. Deviate from the “normal” drunken holiday party with a night at the theater (though the venue doesn’t have to be a theater). At your holiday party, treat your employees to a nice dinner and a musical or holiday show.

Enjoy a tropical holiday. Give your guests that tropical holiday feel without the expensive plane tickets. Book entertainers that give the party a ‘getaway’ feel, such as a steel drum band playing holiday carols. Complete the feel with tropical decorations, drinks and food, and you’ve given your guests a holiday vacation in the Midwest.

Capture kids’ attention at Santa’s toy factory. Give your employees and their families a holiday night or afternoon full of Christmas spirit. Hire elves, a Santa Claus (or find one at the office), and some carolers for music. As everyone enjoys holiday food, bring Santa Claus out to distribute the elves’ packages for a new twist on the traditional holiday atmosphere.

Magical holiday party. Embody the spirit of the holidays with the traditional elements—snow, Santa, elves—and a bit of magic. Hire a magician for your entertainment who can get everyone in the jolly holiday mood by the end of their act.

Make your holiday party an after-holiday gathering. The holidays are a busy time, so make your company holiday party an evening winter wonderland in January or February. Give your employees a snow-themed event complete with an ice bar, hot cocoa sampler table and a warm feel of appreciation. To make sure they don’t have to find parking during our cold Wisconsin winter, book a venue with convenient parking.

Want to take your company holiday party off-site, and give your employees the chance to get away from the office? Contact us about booking 1451 Renaissance Place for your holiday company party. Our venue has a great location, excellent service, convenient parking, and a staff who can help make your holiday company party a wonderful token of appreciation for your guests.