It’s that time of year again – the sun is shining bright, you’ve got your flip flops on and suncream at the ready, when all of a sudden the boss puts you in charge of planning the work Christmas party…
Pretty daunting, right? Especially when you weren’t expecting to think about mince pies and mistletoe for another six months.
Planning a Christmas party can be a particularly time-consuming, stressful and difficult task, even for the most organised of people. Choosing the right date, location, theme and menu can cause major headaches with colleagues, as everyone has their own personal idea of what makes a great Christmas party.
So it’s a very good idea to start planning and book as early as possible. That way, you can sit back and relax for the rest of the year, rather than running around stressed as the calendar counts down to December 25th.
Here at JD Parties, we’re the experts at planning a Christmas party night out, so we’ve put together our top tips to help you get things organised!
The early bird
Planning ahead is key. The summer months are the best time to pick your venue and nab the best dates, before they get fully booked up. While other people are thinking about holidays on the beach, you could be stealing a march and getting the best seats in the house.
You can send out ‘save the date’ invites to all staff, to start the anticipation building, while putting your feet up and chilling out until the big night comes around.
Create an experience
Yes, you could always just call up the local restaurant and book a table with their set price Christmas meal, but it’s not the most glamourous option available.
Think bigger. Think better.
Choose a party that will delight all the senses, giving your colleagues something to talk about for the next 12 months, in the most positive ways. Whether it’s a themed night, a show or dedicated entertainment, they deserve something better than just the nearest pub ater all their hard work over the previous 12 months.
Cater for everyone, not just yourself
We’ll admit it’s tempting to tailor the Christmas party to your own tastes. But will Norman from accounts really be entertained by having to listen to your karaoke versions of Stormzy songs?
If your office is anything like ours you’ll have a mix of trend-setting Millennials, parents ready to take a rare break from their beloved kids for the night and more seasoned members who just want a good night out and a nice meal.
The point is, everyone wants something slightly different. Choosing a night out with a wide variety of optional activities lined up is the best way to please as many people as possible. You need to choose a night out that will cater for all ages – from the young party animal to older colleagues who might want a slower pace to proceedings.
Make 2017 different
A way to make sure that your hardworking team get to experience something different at Christmas is to choose a night out that has a strong theme. Themes make any party more fun, from 1920’s glamour to movie stars, from a masquerade ball to an Alpine lodge, a strong theme gives your party an air of mystery and intrigue way ahead of time.
A good theme also allows people to dress up, providing great opportunities to get a team photo to pin to the office kitchen fridge when you return to work.
JD Parties theme this year in Aintree is New York New York. You will be able to get your photo taken in front of a real yellow taxi cab and watch an amazing star spangled all-American show.
How much is in the kitty?
Let’s face it, the only thing worse than a disappointing Christmas party is a disappointing Christmas party that you’ve spent a lot of money on.
Everything you’ll be eating, drinking and doing will have a cost attached, and it can be easy to lose control of your spending and go over budget. Knowing what you’ll be spending and what your colleagues will contribute towards the night is key to setting a final budget and sticking to it!
Make sure you find a place that will give you the most bang for your buck. After all, it’s your Christmas party too, and you don’t want to spend it worrying about what your boss will say when they see the final bill!
Make lasting memories
Having a photographer at your party venue is a fantastic plus, as they can take amazing group pho tos to capture your night out.
A photo speaks a thousand words and, let’s face it, looks great on your Instagram feed!
Most of us use social media (even Norman from accounts probably has a Snapchat story on the go) so why not create a dedicated hashtag or set up a Facebook album to share your photos. Make sure you tag the venue too, so they know you’ve had such an amazing time!
Getting there and getting back
Making sure your colleagues know how they are going to get to your party, and perhaps more importantly how they will get home!
This is one of the hardest things to organise, with staff members potentially living miles away, all in different directions.
Depending on the amount of people attending, it may be worth looking into hiring a coach or minibus, rather than paying for taxis, or grouping people together if they live in the same direction.
Just be clear with colleagues that the bus will leave without them if they aren’t on it at the end of the night!
What do you think of this list? Did we cover all the bases so you can plan an amazing Christmas party? We’d love to hear from you if you need any more advice, so please get in touch with us. It’s our job to put on the best parties, after all!
Tickets to our New York New York Christmas party at Aintree are available here, but don’t miss out, they’re selling fast!