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.
- Decide on Timing
- Set your Budget
- Choose a Venue
- Send Invitations
- Plan Theming & Décor
- Organise Food & Drink
- Book Entertainment
- Decide on Dress code
- Prepare the Table Plan
- Get Ready…
- Confirm Transport
- 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
- December is at the heart of the festive season, guaranteeing
that even the most bah-humbug of colleagues will be in a good
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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