Creative Corporate Holiday Party Ideas

Give a New Twist to the Traditional Company Holiday Party

Image Source/Getty Images

Stumped for a corporate holiday party idea? 

The annual office holiday party can get stale pretty quickly if it follows the same format year after year.  Instead of delivering the predictable, deliver the unexpected. Check out these creative corporate holiday party ideas to get your party planning efforts into full swing. 

Creative Corporate Holiday Party Ideas

It All Starts With a Theme

As every event planner knows, the best parties start with a theme.

And that is particularly true when planning a corporate holiday party when the right theme can really drive the whole event. Seize upon the energy and excitement of the holiday season and design a theme that will keep employees energized and filled with good will.

Winter Wonderland

Immerse your guests in a winter wonderland. This holiday party idea provides an elegant escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Guests enter a calming world of small white twinkling lights and sparkling reflective balls. Tables feature white tablecloths, shiny dinnerware, and glistening glass barware.

For entertainment, hire local jazz musicians for employees to unwind and relax. Center an ice sculptor to carve while guests mingle and mix. A professional magician dressed in all black completes the picture, entertaining guests with walk-around card tricks and magic.​

‘Tis the Season of Giving

For many, the holiday season has become one nonstop commercial urging us to spend, spend, spend.

Tap into that shopping mindset and put it to good use. Host a charitable ball and encourage employees to give towards a designated charity.  

A few charitable corporate holiday party ideas to consider:

  • Toy Collection for underprivileged children
  • Adopt a local family
  • Blanket Drive for a local shelter
  • Donate time and talent to a local cause

    Studies have repeatedly shown that volunteering and giving to others boosts the mood and fosters a connection among volunteers and with the outside world. What better time to embrace giving to others than the holiday season?

    Contests

    Encourage employees to get in on the fun and have your corporate holiday party include a contest, complete with prizes. Those with a competitive streak will love the challenge. Quiet types will welcome the opportunity to show another side. 

    Some fun contest ideas:

    • Ugly Sweater Contest
    • Most Festive Outfit
    • Most Colorful Socks
    • Best Holiday Fashion Accents

    Instead of presenting traditional corporate gifts engraved with the company logo, reward fun prizes to the winners. Issue gift cards to a local wine shop or restaurant. Look into certificates for a spa treatment at a nearby venue. Secure tickets to a local event. These gifts are far more personal and enjoyable.

    Photo Booth

    In today’s age of social media and the popularity of “selfies,” photo booths are all the rage. Designate a place for one or more photo booths that can be customized with a backdrop. 

    If your corporate holiday party budget does not allow for a photo booth rental, create your own unique photo booth with props and a backdrop.

    To save the cost of hiring a professional photographer, use a remote shutter release on the camera. This allows guests to take their own photos and get in on the action.

    Caricaturist

    Hire a caricaturist to draw caricatures of your guests. A professional caricaturist can complete a drawing fairly quickly, and the final results are sure to provide a laugh or two. This provides entertainment for those sitting as well as those watching. 

    Set up a display of the drawings for guests to view. Have employees guess who is featured in each sketch. Make sure the boss sits for a caricature. Employees will receive a take home keepsake as an added bonus.

    Fun Food

    Offer a menu of interesting foods that encourages interaction. Made-to-order dishes cooked over an open flame are tasty, and preparation is fun to watch.

    Offer wine and beer tastings that feature wines from local wineries or breweries. Hire servers that are experienced and knowledgeable.

    Chocolate fountains provide an elegant display and an indulgence for those guests with a sweet tooth. Small parfait dishes with sorbet are also elegant and complement richer foods.

    Engage Your Employees

    The corporate holiday party is a way to celebrate the festive holiday season as well as the close of another business year. Encourage employees to engage with one another outside of the typical office small talk.

    If you are featuring live music or a DJ, have a limbo contest on the dance floor. Rally guests for some line dancing. Employees will enjoy joining in and watching the fun.

    Don’t Let a Small Budget Hinder Festivities

    Creativity can do wonders with a small corporate holiday party budget. If you would like live music but a band is too expensive, reach out to local colleges or schools for assistance. Student performers are often available, charging less than music professionals but still providing professional performances.

    Serve food buffet style. This costs less than a sit-down meal but can still deliver the “wow” factor. Select a theme and carry it throughout the buffet.

    Make your own sodas are a fun alternative to standard carbonated beverages. With colorful drinkware and easy to follow instructions, your guests will enjoy customizing their drinks.

    Gift Swaps

    White elephant gift exchanges — or similar exchanges that go by other names — are great fun at a company holiday party. Predetermine a monetary amount and other guidelines for appropriateness. Send employees shopping in the stores or for items they have at home. Employees bring their gift to the party, completely wrapped, and the game begins.

    Be Family-Friendly

    Often, employees who are parents with young children have to forgo the company holiday party due to childcare issues. Consider providing on-site supervision for children. It shows the company genuinely wants their employees to partake in the festivities. It also demonstrates a commitment to family-friendly policies and the need for work-family balance. Both are a win-win.