14 Holiday Party Planning Tips to Throw the Best Bash Ever
The corporate holiday party is one of the most anticipated events of the calendar year—after all, what better way to wrap up twelve months’ worth of hard work and company milestones than with a big bash, bringing the entire team together, building camaraderie, and boosting company morale? To ensure that your end-of-year celebration is a major hit that the entire company will reminisce on for months to come, consider some of the holiday party planning tips we’ve compiled here.
Choose the perfect venue
The perfect location sets the stage for your event in a big way. Predictability is a perfectly legitimate reason to book a standard banquet room. Sometimes we like to know exactly what we’re getting. A windowless room shaped like a box and with questionable lighting is perfect for — oh, who are we kidding?
If you’re looking for a unique venue that leaves a lasting impression, book a Peerspace! Spaces such as galleries, creative lofts, and penthouse rooftops delight guests in ways that standard, stale banquet halls just do not. Your team is a hand-selected group of smart, creative professionals, and your holiday party is designed to celebrate them. Book a venue that suits who your attendees are and what they do!
Choose a design theme
When planning your holiday party, if you decide to decorate your venue, make sure to do it right. It doesn’t take a tremendous budget or amount of additional effort to take your design theme from average to professional. Here are some simple holiday party planning ideas when thinking about themes:
A festive winter wonderland
Transform your space into a sparkling snow globe with clusters of clear balloons illuminated with uplights, oversized snowflakes suspended from the ceiling, and curtains of twinkle lights.
A classy wintertime fête
Create a contemporary, sophisticated vibe with cool hues of winter. Accent with varying shades of blue, tables with silver candlesticks, and centerpieces of white flowers with silver curls. Fill the corners and food tables with delicate crystal ornaments hanging from sweet huckleberry branches.
A warm and cozy get-together
Nothing says toasty and cozy like rustic-chic. Choose tablecloths in deep reds and greens, or rich, flannel accents. Use wood slices to elevate food displays, as well as a mix of evergreen and raw branches as centerpieces with dark, warm, creamy-colored flowers.
Choose activities for entertainment
Plan out activities that will bring people together. Add simple but thoughtful entertainment to keep things moving. Make sure you’re able to accommodate as many people’s diverse interests as you can.
Decorate a Christmas tree
Secret Santa and White Elephant exchanges simply aren’t practical for every office. Instead, invite each guest to bring a single ornament to hang on a beautiful artificial tree, then donate the tree to a local charity or group. And don’t forget to find creative ways to involve those employees who don’t celebrate Christmas.
Similarly, invite a local women’s shelter or youth service bureau to provide you with “wish lists” for their clients. Decorate the tree with the wishes, and ask your team to select one or more wishes to fulfill in order to make someone’s holiday brighter.
Dance to live music
You already know that music is necessary, but we’re talking about adding professional dancers to the mix! Bring in a local dance troupe to shake things up and offer on-the-spot lessons. Hip hop, swing, samba — there are endless incredibly fun and surprising possibilities.
Rent a photo booth
This trend is still going strong, and the very best vendors are keeping things fresh and fun with imaginative props and backdrops. Rent a booth with a magic mirror, digital elements, or a glamour filter.
Enjoy an outdoor cocktail hour
It’s the holiday season! Hand-pass varieties of gooey s’mores and grilled mini hot dogs on sticks with a dot of mustard. Stock the bar with to-go thermoses of hot cocoa and spiked (or not) cider.
Line the space with torches; in fact, if your venue allows, fill the terrace — or even the parking lot — with fire rings and have guests cook their hors d’oeuvres to order.
Top it off with a giveaway of flannel wraps for every gift. They’re incredibly simple to make: purchase bolts of flannel at the fabric store, cut to size, roll and tie with twine, then stack in wooden apple crates.
Choose what food and drink to serve
The very best part — and sometimes the most overwhelming — is selecting the perfect festive food for your holiday party! Bars and buffet stations are the easiest way to accommodate a variety of taste preferences, keeping guests up and mingling.
Indulge in a warm drinks bar
Carafes of coffee, hot cocoa, and special teas are an absolute necessity. Make it festive by adding bowls of fresh whipped cream, citrus zest, crushed candy canes, mini chocolate and caramel chips, and tiny marshmallows. Arm an attendant with a variety of liquors for those who’d like an extra warm-up.
Charm your guests with a Southern culinary experience
Fight the cold with sweet and savory Southern cuisine! Enjoy pulled pork BBQ, brisket, small plates of shrimp & grits next to a tiny pillow of collard greens, and desserts of individual bourbon bread pudding and caramel pecan pies. As condiments, provide assorted hot sauces ranging in heat for the brave and not-so.
Warm up with a chili and fondue bar
Fill tureens with beef and bean chili, white chicken chili, and a vegetarian option; add fondue pots with beer and cheese fondue, as well as authentic Swiss fondue. Provide large mugs with handles and small plates for assorted breads and other items for dipping — but, really, bread is going to be the most popular. After all, it’s a delicious guilty pleasure.
Don’t forget, when planning your holiday party, keep it fun and moving. Plan an event you can’t wait to attend. When it comes to company morale and team bonding, the pay-off couldn’t be bigger!