The office holiday party is a classic sitcom trope. In our minds something will always go awry, someone will always drink too much, and there’s not a 0% chance that something catches on fire. With those (occasionally fire-y) images in our mind, it’s hard to craft a holiday party that can overcome these hesitations.
While it may be tempting to skip an end-of-year party, these celebrations are a great way to show your staff some appreciation for the hard work they’ve done and build your office community. So what can you do to ensure that not only do people have fun, but that people actually show up?
Well I’m glad you asked.
Here are 5 tips to make sure that your office party goes without a hitch!
- Make sure the main event isn’t booze
While having liquor available might be nice to help some people relax, it shouldn’t be the main star of the party. Having alternatives will not only make sure that no one goes overboard, but it will be refreshing for potential non-drinkers to feel included. Be sure to have other activities available to your party members to enjoy! Popular ideas include
- Theme Bowling nights where you can break out some old Halloween costumes and have a fun time at the bowling alley
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen where the staff can all cook together
- Photo booths at an event hall so people can get a picture of themselves all dolled up
- Ugly sweater contest at the office to keep things casual and fun
- Include a potluck
Have staff bring a dessert to share! Not only will this increase staff involvement, it is an easy icebreaker for your employees to discuss and a chance to let both them and their plus one shine in a group setting
- And the winner is…
Include end of year awards! Give out commemorative plaques and small prizes such as tote bags or speakers to your employees. Of course recognize your top employees for their achievements, but don’t be afraid to include smaller gifts for those who help make the office a better place with other categories, such as
- Excellence in Humor for the employee who always brightens the mood
- Healthy Living Promoter for the employee who goes above and beyond for staying
- healthy, taking walks, and encouraging others
- Lunch Spot Expert for the staff member who knows the best spots in town for a quick lunch or a happy hour
- Rookie of the year to celebrate new staff additions
- Get out of the office
This will encourage staff members to turn off the work side of their brain and engage with each other as friends. It is easy to rent an event space, or go to an event location (i.e. a restaurant or bowling alley as mentioned above), but you could also make it more intimate by hosting a party at the boss’ house if they are willing and able!
- Door prizes
Include raffles and game prizes during the night! You can have passive events such as guessing how many candy canes are in the jar, so more involved games such as a murder mystery! Prizes can range from gift baskets to extra vacation days
Perhaps most importantly, your staff should have fun, relax, and feel like they’ve accomplished something at the end of the year. Showing your staff that you recognize their hard work will strengthen your office community and ensure continued success for all parties involved. The holiday party can be the highlight of the year, so make sure you put in the time to make your staff members shine and (hopefully) avoid anything catching on fire.