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Tips for your work Christmas party

What should I plan for this year’s staff Christmas party or end-of-year social occasion? This is a common question for businesses at this time of year.

Christmas is fast approaching and you are wondering how to better last year’s Christmas staff activity and how you can reward and thank your staff for their contribution to the business this year.

We have worked with many organisations in planning and delivering their office Christmas parties and understand the challenges and concerns you face in deciding what to do.

This is a quick guide to help you start planning for a memorable and rewarding event this year and give you some different ideas to consider.

Before you even start contemplating the event or function, there are two simple but important things to finalise first:

1. What is your budget?

 This will help you determine other aspects like venue, catering, type of recreational activities, accommodation, transport and entertainment.

2. Who do you want to attend?

Your staff is a no-brainer but this question is really about any additional people. Do you want to invite partners of staff, family of staff and any of your stakeholders like suppliers and sponsors?

Once you have answered these two questions, you can determine expected numbers and a per head budget.

Now it’s time to consider whether you feature Santa and Rudolf, a DJ and band, Christmas-themed cocktails, an illuminated dance floor and an inflatable North Pole for kids. It’s time to bring your Christmas party to life.

In recent years, businesses from all over Australia and New Zealand have engaged us to deliver Christmas parties that meet their budget, audience and company values.

Here are five popular and different ideas for your Christmas party:

1. Family Fun Day

Family events are a great way to acknowledge your appreciation of the support that families make to your staff, especially for those long hours they have contributed through the year. Some key elements in these events are catering for all ages, entertainment for children and also adults and any furniture and infrastructure to bring in. You might want a bouncy castle, petting zoo, sumo suits, ice cream van, picnic tables with umbrellas and even utilise an online registration system to get accurate numbers.

2. Team Building Event

Team building activities followed by a barbecue and drinks can create a fun and casual Christmas party with some twists. We have designed some special Christmas-themed team building events, which combine fun with various bonding exercises. These can even be tailored to have a charity outcome for those in need at Christmas.

3. Luxury Retreat

Why not reward your staff with a relaxing weekend away together. Invite partners and include some optional activities throughout the weekend such as golf, spa treatments, wine-tasting, cooking classes, yoga and team building exercises. Most winery and beach resort properties offer an array of activity ideas.

4. Unique Experience

You may decide to wow your staff with a Christmas party that is different to anything they have done before. Think about what may be a different way to experience the city that you all live. Some ideas are dinner under the stars or on the beach, breakfast in a hot air balloon, swimming with the dolphins or jet boating on the local waterways. These events typically require a larger budget and are best suited for smaller groups.

5. Cocktail Christmas Party

Don’t underestimate a simple and casual Christmas party at a local venue that is close for everyone to attend. There are so many ways you turn a simple cocktail function into a party to be remembered – entertainment (DJ, band or karaoke), delicious catering, the style or theme (fancy dress and decorations), the presentation of Christmas gifts by Santa, some fun and all-inclusive games and a good layout for everyone to mix and mingle and enjoy good conversation. The venue can make all the difference!

There are hundreds of great Christmas party ideas that can work effectively. It’s just a matter of choosing one that meets your budget, caters for your numbers, is suitable for the background and interests of your staff, and aligns with your company values.

Rachael Ziccone, Conference & Events Manager, Corporate Challenge Events