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Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Are you organising your Christmas party for the first time? Perhaps you just need some advice and new ideas to help you wow your colleagues? We've condensed everything you need to know into 12 simple steps.

  1. Decide on Timing
  2. Set your Budget
  3. Choose a Venue
  4. Send Invitations
  5. Plan Theming & Décor
  6. Organise Food & Drink
  7. Book Entertainment
  8. Decide on Dress code
  9. Prepare the Table Plan
  10. Get Ready…
  11. Confirm Transport
  12. Be ready for The Morning After

1. First things first - you need to set a date.  Do you go for the traditional months in November and December or extend Christmas (and save money) by holding your party in January?

  • December is at the heart of the festive season, guaranteeing that even the most bah-humbug of colleagues will be in a good mood!
  • January is a good option if your industry is busy over Christmas and you want to give everyone something to look forward to in the New Year.
  • Unless your team are always party-ready you might struggle to evoke enough festive cheer in November. Although some companies now have the main Christmas party in November with a less formal drinks gathering closer to the big day.
  • Monday and Tuesday are good thrifty options, but your guests might end up limping through the rest of the week if it's a particularly heavy night.

2. Don't get a nasty shock when the bills land - find out exactly what budget you've got to work with and plan accordingly

  • How many are invited?  Is it all staff or maybe partners too?  Try to get a clear answer on this early on.
  • Would you be better with an all-inclusive package or planning the whole party yourself? Going it alone means you'll have to cover the costs of staff, security, a cloakroom, catering, drinks and so on. With an all-inclusive package you'll have certainty of costs early on, and fewer headaches!
  • Always keep a little of your budget back for unexpected costs.
  • If the finance team are balking at your budget at this stage, remind them -  every UK company is entitled to a tax-break of £150 per employee each year for staff entertaining.

3. You've agreed on timing and know how much you've got to spend, now you've just got to decide on where is best! Here's a few top tips:

  • Book early - the best dates and places always go quickly and sometimes companies book straight after their party every year to make sure they get the best date
  • Make sure the location you choose is accessible for everyone.  Holding your party in a hotel means that those who don't fancy the journey home afterwards have the option of booking a room for the night.
  • If your chosen venue has an event planner make use of them. They'll have done this kind of thing countless times and will have excellent advice to share with you.


4. Now you know when and where - make sure everyone else does:

  • As soon as your party date is confirmed, get a 'save the date' note out to all invitees to ensure a good turn out.  Diaries fill up quickly around the festive period.
  • Once more details are finalised you can issue a more detailed invitation
  • To save yourself from having to answer the same question 50 times, give comprehensive information at this stage including times, dates, dress code, meal options etc.
  • This is also the time to ask for dietary requirements. Make sure you set a deadline for people to respond!

5. It may be Christmas, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to a festive theme. 1920s themes remain popular and it's likely that the bad-taste Christmas jumper parties will also put in another appearance this winter.  Or, how about trying something different this year like a music festival theme complete with wrist bands as entrance tickets? Putting on a themed event is an excellent way to not only make the night memorable, but to show that you put some thought into it.  Don't forget to ask your venue's event manager if they can help you with putting your themed night together.

6. Don't underestimate the importance of good food! Choose a menu with choices for everyone, and remember  to include a good vegetarian option, as well as ensuring the venue can cater for vegan, gluten intolerant and other dietary requirements.

  • Pre-booked drinks packages offer good value and ensure the drinks are waiting at your tables when you arrive. You could even arrange a festive drink on arrival. Mulled wine anyone?
  • Don't forget about your non drinkers - ensure that plenty of good quality soft drinks are available
  • Remember people often get peckish later on in the evening, especially if they've had a couple of drinks. Arranging to have bacon sandwiches or hot dogs available at midnight will go down extremely well!


7. Nobody wants to see an empty dance floor at a Christmas party, so getting the music and entertainment right is crucial. Whether it's the classic hits that we all know and love, the latest tunes, or a combination  of the two, knowing how your audience will react is key.

  • Take This or Take That? Tribute acts are great way to get the party started.
  • Fun casinos are always a popular choice and a nice option for those with two left feet.
  • Photo booths with amusing props are really popular this year, and will give guests a fun reminder of their night.

8. Fancy Dress? Black Tie? Smart Casual? It's a mine field but something to communicate early on, otherwise you'll be inundated with emails asking what to wear

  • If you decide to go for fancy dress, then make the theme easy for everyone. Letters of your company name is a good idea (Queen, Quasimodo, Quarterback) or pick a decade - who doesn't love an '80s party?
  • If you want everyone  to make an extra special effort, make it black tie. Every man looks better in a black tie and the women will love the chance to dress up…swit swoo!
  • Or keep it casual with anything goes - apart from jeans and trainers. A lot of venues might not accept jeans at parties, and do you really want someone to look like they do at home?

9. Do you put Amy from Accounts next to Charlotte in Communications? Even though they don't know each other? Do you put friends together or mingle everyone? If you're creating a table plan, our suggestions will help you navigate this social minefield:

  • Organise early and deliver late.  It'll take longer than you think and you will need to account for the inevitable last-minute changes and complaints!
  • Plan the tables so colleagues get a chance to get to know people they don't normally work closely with.
  • If your party-goers are really reluctant to leave their comfort zone, let them sit with friends during the main meal then have everyone move seats for desert.

10. Finally, a little bit of time for you! Make the most of it when you book your Christmas party at a QHotel and book a relaxing treatment at one of our 18 spas. But if you haven't got time, here are a few hints:

  • Ask the boss to let people leave work early to go home and get changed - no one wants a 20 minute scramble in the office toilets!
  • Book in your hair and nails early - either at the hotel where you're holding the party, or your favourite salon.
  • Make sure your outfit is ready - don't leave it until the morning to realise your best party dress is still at the dry cleaners or you forgot to take it at all!

11. Whether you're moving the office en-masse or everyone is making their own way there, organising transport can be a logistical nightmare, but with our simple steps it  won't be:

  • If you're organising buses to transport everyone, then make sure you've got the party tunes playing on board to get everyone in the party atmosphere early
  • If everyone is making their own way there, email out directions beforehand and give people the times of trains/buses etc.
  • At the end of the night the priority is to make sure everyone gets home safely - so speak to a local taxi firm to make sure they are ready on the night.

12. The sign of a good party? More than a couple of tender heads in the office the next morning!! Have a couple of these ready the next morning and the office will love you

  • If you have a canteen extend breakfast and have some hearty breakfast specials on
  • Ask the boss to let people come in a little bit later - it is Christmas after all!

Ready to organise your Christmas Party? First check out QHotels' Christmas Party Nights here