Company Christmas Party Ideas

How to Make Sure Your Office Christmas Party Is a Success

Colleagues cutting cake at Christmas Party
Company Christmas party. Image (c) Anna Bizon/ Getty Images

So you're the one or one of the members of the committee that has to come up with the company Christmas party ideas this time around. And you want it to be a big success.

Which means, for one thing, you want people to show up. It's a busy time of year and your office Christmas party faces a lot of competition from other events - events that may be seen as more desirable than your invitation.

Employees that are tired and stressed and more than ready for a workplace break may be hard to entice into spending even more time with one another, especially if the annual Christmas party has become a tired tradition.

Having shortbread cookies and drinks at the office while sitting around a flashing Christmas tree just isn't very inviting.

How can you have the kind of company Christmas party that people want to come to and even look forward to being invited to next year? Follow these tips:

Company Christmas Party Ideas to Make Your Party a Success

1) Take it out of the office.

The unbreakable rule of hosting a successful company Christmas party is that you don’t hold it at the office. Even if you follow all of the other suggestions in this article, you'll never have a fun, can't-miss-this-next-year event if you hold it where employees normally work. Being in the place where they normally do it will make the temptation to talk about work too irresistible.

2) Get out of the night time groove.

While we tend to think of parties as evening affairs, they don't have to be. Even if your office Christmas party idea is to host a meal for your guests at a restaurant or hotel, people will drink less at a luncheon rather than a dinner.

So just switching the time of day can help make alcohol less of an issue and help ensure that your party doesn't turn into a drunken debauch.

3) Break the mold.

Whatever you normally do, change it from year to year. No matter what you did for your last Christmas party, there will always be a certain percentage of people who will find it boring if you do it again.

Try thinking of your party as an event, rather than a get together. Instead of the traditional sit-around-somewhere-and-eat party, you could host a disc golf, skating, curling or bowling party. Or turn your party into a Christmas-themed murder mystery or scavenger hunt. Remember, though, when choosing Christmas party ideas based on  activities, to pick something that everyone can do.

4) Turn it into a family affair.

If you change your guest list from inviting just staff to inviting staff and their families to your company party, people's expectations and behaviors will change too. For one thing, alcohol consumption will decrease. And as an added bonus, more people will be likely to attend as they don't have to get sitters. Activity based parties are especially good for this. People of all ages can skate or bowl, for instance.

5) Mix up your guest list.

Instead of hosting a Christmas party that's just for staff, widen your guest list to include extended family, friends, neighbors and business associates.

Mixing up your guest list this way will make your party more interesting for attendees as they'll get a chance to meet new people and have less chance to get trapped into endless shop talk conversations.

One example of this company Christmas party idea is to hold an open house with a purpose, such as raising and decorating a tree.

6) Dealcoholize your Christmas party.

Then there's the alcohol dilemma. Should you serve it at your Christmas party? As a human being, you want all your guests to have a good time and be safe. But both happiness and safety can be compromised when people are drinking. And as a social host, legally you have a duty to supervise your guests and make sure they all get home safely if they're consuming alcohol at your party.

There is no rule that you have to serve alcohol at your office Christmas party. If doing so makes you uncomfortable or anxious, don't. People can certainly have a good time without drinking alcohol. Just make sure that everyone knows that it's an alcohol free party ahead of time and that you have plenty of other things for people to drink.

Besides juices, teas, coffees and alcohol-free punches, mocktails can be a fun alternative. Here are some "0% cocktail" recipes from the LCBO. If you do decide to serve alcohol at your party, these safe party host tips will help safeguard your guests and your company.

The Right Mix for Success

The trick to successfully hosting any party is to blend just the right amounts of excitement and comfort. With these company Christmas party ideas, you can host a party that staff look forward to attending rather than coming up with excuses for avoiding.

Read more about your company and Christmas:

Business Christmas Card Dos and Don’ts

Create a Christmas Window Display for Your Business

5 Ways to Create a Holiday Retail Rush for Your Small Business