7 Tips to planning your Work Christmas Party

If you have been given the responsibility to plan the work Christmas party – don’t fret, it doesn’t need to be as stressful as it sounds.

When I first started working full time I was an Office Manager – which always meant the task of planning any work events fell at my feet. If you have read my post on ‘5 things that make me feel anxious’ you may remember that event planning is one of them. Hence, this specific task was not fun for me!

However, I have picked up some great tips over the years that made the planning a little less stressful and help you to make it more fun for your staff and easier for yourself.

Check out my tips below:


Get input

Even if it has been delegated to you to organise, that does not mean that you have to do it all on your own and without any input from others in the office.

Your best option is to set up a meeting with the ‘powers that be’ (the boss) and also set up an ‘ideas’ committee to help you come up with ideas and formalise a final plan.

This will take some of the pressure off you and hopefully, make the process more enjoyable if you can plan with others.

Also, unlike a wedding or a New Year party with friends, you do not need to put a personal touch on the event. It doesn’t need to reflect you but it will need to represent the company.

You can’t please everyone

This is never truer when planning an event for work. The workplace is the ultimate eclectic mix of different people you are catering for.

You are planning an event for colleagues with diverse interests, contrasting passions, and from various backgrounds and, as such, it will be physically IMPOSSIBLE to plan the perfect party for every single person.

Your best bet is to make a decision, keep it simple and then stick to it.

Do not allow people’s ‘opinions’ of the plans to deter you. I guarantee the dude from IT who keeps complaining will end up having the best night of his life!

Keep to the budget

Do not forget who is paying! Not only is it important to remain within the budget that has been provided to you but I assure you, even if they don’t say it, the person paying (or the boss in charge of such decisions) does care are about what is going down.

I always found it best to keep people in the loop. Not only does it make them feel ‘important’ but ultimately it is their money being spent and you will be surprised how many ‘opinions’ they tend to have.

Send and Invite

This is something that people sometimes forget but it really makes a world of difference to everyone perception and anticipation of the event.

If you simply send a generic email there is no excitement generated. A huge factor to the success of any event is the enthusiasm of the guests, by sending an official invitation (easily whipped up using Microsoft word) you will create a buzz that makes all the difference on the day.

Food and drink are the most important

For a work party (well any party really) the food, and especially the drinks, are massively important.

For some reason, the Christmas party is a time when people completely let loose and go a little crazy! You will be surprised some of the dark horses out there! People intend to drink – so make sure the bar tab doesn’t run dry and the food is substantial to soak up all that alcohol.

The key here is to prioritise. Don’t overspend on things no one will care about as people will always complain about the lack of drinks over not having a magician at dinner.

Have a friendly competition

One great and ‘inexpensive’ way to break up the evening and get people talking is to have a competition throughout the evening.

It could be a full-blown quiz that needs to be completed in teams and could be related to your companies business or it could be a simple as a best Christmas jumper competition.

One year my company actually purchased a Polaroid camera and the competition was to take the best picture of the night. When everyone walked in the next day I had displayed all the Polaroid’s on a board and the best picture was chosen by a vote.  It was great fun throughout the night and also provided some great memories the next day.

Arrange after party (just in case)

This is my final tip, and it is more of a ‘back up’ depending on how the night goes. Simply make a reservation (or put a group on the guest list) at a bar or club nearby to your party venue, just in case people want to keep the party going.

Most work parties to not plan to go on until the early hours. In fact, a lot of Christmas package events will end by 11pm, and it is always best to put an ‘end time’ on your invitations so some of those who do not want to hang around all night have a time frame.

However, there will always be a group who want to keep going, at their own cost of course, but there is nothing that can kill a buzz better than no plan. Simply by having this backup will be hugely appreciated by those who are having a great time and don’t want to go straight home!

I hope the above may help in the lead up to your Christmas party – and even if you’re not planning it I assure you that whoever is planning could do with a friendly helping hand so go and check they are ok. You may get some extra booze vouchers!!

Have a great party season and remember to drink responsibly!!

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