Saturday, Jun 17, 2017

Six Tips for a Company Holiday Party to Remember

We've all been to one. A company holiday party that takes place in a big meeting room one day after work. Everyone stands around in their work clothes eating sugar cookies before sneaking out early to catch their favorite TV show. When asked how the party was, the response is usually, "It was nice."

This type of party is OK — certainly better than no party at all — but why not go the extra mile and throw a holiday party that your employees will rave about for days, even weeks, after it's over? One of the best ways to show appreciation for your employees' hard work throughout the year is with a rockin' holiday party. 

Here are our top six tips for planning a company holiday party to remember!

1. Consider a venue outside the office.  If you can, take the party outside the office to give your employees a break from the everyday scene. Consider hosting your company party at a comedy club, a hip new art gallery, the event space of a local craft brewery, a museum or a bowling alley.

Obviously, the choice of venue will be guided by the budget and the number of expected guests, but the point is to think outside the box (or office). A unique venue can get you a long way towards a company party to remember, especially if it inherently provides an activity or something interesting to look at or learn about.

2. Choose a festive theme.  A celebratory theme can liven up any party. It can also provide a way to tie everything together and incorporate memorable details that will wow your guests. Some of our favorite holiday party themes include Candyland, Holidays in Hawaii, Mardi Gras, Winter Wonderland, Masquerade and Willy Wonka. Be creative!

Once you've chosen a theme, search the internet for inspiration on how to bring that theme to life (Pinterest is great for this). Themes can extend way beyond decor to attire, food, favors, prizes, games and entertainment!

3. Choose lively entertainment.  Entertainment in this context can mean of a lot of things. How you will want to entertain your guests may depend on your venue, theme or budget. But don't overlook this universal truth — all great parties include some form of entertainment. No one has ever raved about a party where the only thing happening was mingling and eating/drinking.

Entertainment options include, but are in no way limited to:

  • a DJ;
  • live music;
  • games (e.g., casino tables, an interactive game show);
  • non-music performers (e.g., comedians, magicians, dance troupes);
  • caricature artists; and
  • local celebrity appearances.

If you're not sure which route to go or are wondering what other entertainment options are out there, contact your local entertainment company. Surely they would love to discuss options with you.

4. Include a photo novelty product.  Technically, this may be a subset of entertainment, but it gets its own section because it's almost a "must have" product.  Not only do photo novelty products provide your guests with something fun to do, they also provide your guests with a tangible favor that they can take home at the end of the night! In a world of digital images, people actually crave photos that they can put in a frame or stick on the fridge.

There are more photo novelty options that you may realize. Consider:

  • A traditional mobile photo booth — guests step into a booth with curtains or walls that takes 3-4 pictures and prints out a photo strip;
  • Green screen photography — guests are photographed in front of a green screen then superimposed onto the chosen background(s), resulting in a fantastically fun 4×6 or 5×7 photo within minutes;
  • A custom designed photo scene — guests are photographed in a scene that is designed based on your theme (for example, for a Winter Wonderland theme, a scene could include fake snow, giant snowflakes, winter trees with twinkle lights, fake icicles, a giant snowman, etc.) and get to walk away with a 4×6 or 5×7 photo;
  • Step and repeat — a photographer snaps photos of guests at random or at a designated point (perhaps as guests enter the party, which is especially fun if there is a red carpet entrance) and guests pick up their photos at a designated print station.

Keep in mind that each of these options can be branded as you see fit. Add your company's name and logo, or simply the name of the event and the date. The possibilities are endless!

5. Use event lighting to enhance the space. Though often neglected or forgotten, lighting can make a huge difference when decorating any space. Event lighting can transform a boring, monochromatic room with fluorescent lighting into something truly special and luxurious. A good lighting company will work with you to custom design a light show based on your theme and your needs.

Use uplighting around the perimeter of the room in a color (or colors) that matches or coordinates with your theme. Ask for pin spots to light up those areas to which you want to draw some attention (e.g., a display, the dessert table, etc.). If you really want to pack a punch, use light towers and moving heads at the focal points of the room (e.g., stage, area from which announcements will be made, area where entertainment will be provided).

6. Incorporate a Charitable Cause.  The holidays are about more than just fun and games — they're also about being thankful for what we have and being mindful of others that are not as fortunate. Incorporating a charitable cause into your company holiday party can be a great way to help those in need.

Perhaps your city has a youth dance troupe that relies on fundraising. Your company could make a donation to their cause, and also invite them to perform at your party (thereby satisfying two objectives with a single action)! Other great options include holiday toy drives, canned food donations and 50/50 raffles (with 50% of the proceeds from ticket sales going to the chosen charitable cause).

It's hard to go wrong when giving, but you can make it especially meaningful by finding a charitable cause that aligns with your company's core values, mission statement or purpose.