Holiday Planning Guide

office holiday party planning guide

It's that time of year again to start planning your holiday office party. Holiday parties are a great way to show appreciation for employee’s hard work and celebrate the years successes. Plus, they offer a perfect break from the busy holiday season for a time to unwind with co-workers. Our holiday guide is a great place to start when it comes to planning your holiday party whether you are celebrating at the office or at an off-site venue.  We'll help you stay organized, have fun, and plan a memorable holiday bash!

1. Choose a date and time. December dates book up quickly for caterers so make sure you decide on a date early on. An evening event after work is great for a more party atmosphere whereas a holiday luncheon is more casual and good way to break up the day. Popular December dates for 2019 will likely be the 7th, 11th, 14th, and 18th. Since these dates will be in high demand you will want to get on your caterers calendar early if you are planning for any of these dates. If you're on a tight budget or planning a bit last minute, consider having your party in early January. January can be ideal for those companies that are very busy in December and often allow for greater attendance because you're not competing with other holiday obligations. 

  1. Guest list. Will the party be for only employees of the company or will invites be extended to family as well? The estimated guest list will help you determine the best location for your event.
  2. Style of party. Determining the type of style of event you are looking to have is important whether it be a formal plated reception, casual buffet dinner, or a fun cocktail style event. Many venues can accommodate a range of guest counts, but they are often dependent on the style of event. A cocktail style reception needs less space than a dinner event. If you are considering hosting at your office, you will want to determine what style of event does the space best lend itself to. A celebration with passed hors d'oeuvres  and food stations is a great option for those looking for a more casual party vibe while a sit-down dinner with a buffet or plated meal is ideal for those looking for a more formal feel.
  3. Location. the location is important and can play into the overall vibe of the event. Having an estimated guest count and style of event will also help you narrow down the ideal location. If you are looking for somewhere in the city for an after-work party consider the distance and how easily guests can get there. If hosting at your office, you will want to consider the style of party and how easily it can be accommodated within the office space. Hosting at your office can typically help when you have a tight budget but if you will need to bring in lots of rentals and staging than it may be more cost effective to choose an off-site location. Museums, historical buildings, nightclubs and special event venues are all great options for providing a unique backdrop to your event. Check out our list of top venues in New England for hosting your holiday party at. Our Event Designers are a great resource for helping you find the perfect location for your event and can get creative with floorplans if hosting at your office.
  4. Choose a Theme. Deciding on a theme will help you narrow down the style, feel, and food options. Your caterer can work with you to take any theme and style of event and determine the perfect food to go along with it. Interested in a lodge style holiday party? A hot chocolate bar, passed hot toddies, savory waffle station, and warm hearty chili compliment this kind of celebration perfectly. Check out our blog on holiday theme for inspiration for your holiday party. 
  5. Food and drink. By this point you likely know if you are interested in a plated meal, buffet dinner, food stations, or cocktail style menu. Our team will work with you to devise the perfect menu. Knowing what your crowd likes or any allergies that need to be considered will be helpful to determine the best menu. The bar is an important part of any event. Do you want to do a full open bar, beer and wine bar, or some fun signature cocktails? By offering a limited bar with a few themed drinks can help keep budgets in line. If you are concerned about drinking at your event, a beer and wine bar would be the best option, along with only hiring TIPs certified Bartenders who are adapt at monitoring drinking during your event.
  6. Send Invites. The next step is to send your invites – evites and email newsletters can reach your employees the fastest. If you want a more formal invite opt to send a physical invite by mail. Plan to let employees know at least four weeks in advance of the date. 
  1. Plan entertainment and decor. Incorporating fun entertainment can help elevate your event. Dj’s or live music are always great for a party atmosphere. Hiring live carolers can add a truly festive feel. Other unique entertainment options to consider are – an ugly sweater contest, chocolate truffle roulette, casino games, employee cookie swap, photo booth, caricature artist, or a wine or beer tasting. 
    Most importantly, try to have fun and enjoy the process of planning your holiday party. Contact us today to learn how our team can help bring your holiday party vision to life!