Strictly’s back on the box, sharing boxes of chocs are lining the supermarket shelves and you’ve had debates about when to put the heating on … there’s no doubt about it – Christmas is around the corner!
If you’ve been tasked with organising your office Christmas party night out, then it’s time to get the wheels in motion and get party planning. Those who’ve been in your shoes before know that organising the annual office Christmas night out can have you reaching for a large glass of mulled wine yourself, so here are our top tips for getting your Christmas party sorted.
Step 1 – Budget
Get a clear budget from the boss upfront – either per person or for the whole event.
It’s also worth clarifying expectations of how it will be spent – do you want food? Drink? Entertainment? Or all three for the price?
Step 2 – Set the date
Rather than having lots of different dates for people to choose from, in our experience, it’s much simpler for the organiser to offer a single date around the office or, if you’re being generous, a choice of two (although for any Christmas party of more than 50 we’d recommend setting one date!).
Check that the boss can come (you’ll want the company credit card after all!) and that you’re also free before circulating the dates to everyone.
A a free tool such as Doodle is really handy for managing people’s availability.
Once decided, send an outlook diary invitation to get the date provisionally held in people's diaries and help you manage attendance.
Step 3 – Think about practicalities
Although you might love the thought of an office sky dive over the Lake District, a Christmas party should be something everyone will enjoy to reward them for their hard-work during the year.
Some key practicalities to consider:
Location: Are you organising your Christmas party for one office or multiple office locations? You’re going to want to choose an option that's convenient for everyone to get to.
Travel & Accommodation: Do you need to organise transport or will people be making their own way to the party? Is anyone travelling far that would need a hotel room? Organising a mini bus or taxi for a small group is pretty straightforward and for larger events you can likely negotiate a discount on hotel rooms and transport.
Accessibility: Does anyone in your group have specific accessibility requirements that you need to consider? Most venues will have information on accessibility on their website.
Step 4 – Get researching your options!
It’s time for the fun part – getting your ideas together. We’d recommend getting two options together that fit the budget.
Google is a good place to start but a local what’s on magazine will also have lots of ideas and inspiration too.
Local restaurants and pubs will be offering a Christmas menu but for something a little more special, other leisure and entertainment venues will often be hosting themed Christmas party nights that include food, drink and entertainment. Plus, there’s just one location to get everyone to!
Step 5 – Check availability & payment options
Before presenting your ideas to the boss and getting the go-ahead, it’s worth checking availability for your group size with the venue. You can often provisionally hold your space for a day or two as well.
It’s also worth checking what you need to confirm your booking. Will they invoice you? Is there a deposit? Or do you pay on the day?
Step 6 – Finalise your plans
You’ve done your Christmas party research and have some great ideas. It’s time to present them to your manager to get the party confirmed.
Make sure you’ve got the menu to show them, a brochure and the cost per person, plus highlight any extras like transport and drinks that would be an additional cost.
Once your idea has been signed off, make sure you confirm your booking!
Step 7 – Send everyone the details
It’s time to send out your official invitation for people to accept which includes all the details about your Christmas party.
You can create a fun and engaging e-invitation with an online tool such as Paperless Post for a small fee. Make sure you’re telling people everything they need to know – timings, menu (including vegetarian and dietary options), dress code and entertainment. It’s also worth highlighting what is being covered by the company and what isn’t so people know any costs they will be to contribute upfront.
Although you’ve got the date in people’s diary, now is the time to get more formal RSVPs. For smaller groups, an email response is normally fine to manage with a spreadsheet but larger groups might benefit from you using an online RSVP tool, such as RSVPify.com.
Remember to put a deadline for RSVPs!
Step 8 – Finishing touches
Your guest list has been finalised, you’ve sent the venue your menu choices and any dietary requirements and you’ve organised a minibus. It’s time to think of any extra finishing touches to make your Christmas party extra festive!
Do you want name places to mix up the table? How about a festive quiz or short game as an ice breaker when people first arrive? How about a secret santa? Is this also a chance to give extra thanks to those people who’ve gone above and beyond during the year with some employee awards? Adding some finishing touches can make your office Christmas party extra special and memorable for everyone attending.
Step 9 – Time to party!
It’s time to party!!! Finally, it’s the day of the Christmas party. Make sure you enjoy yourself and try not to worry if Bob from accounts is getting his side order of stuffing – you deserve to enjoy the party too!
Oh, and remember to get lots of recognition from your colleagues in the form of rounds at the bar!
Want to find a fun Christmas party in Bath or Bristol?
Better known for its horse racing, Bath Racecourse has been hosting popular shared Christmas party nights for many years. A great option for a work Christmas party night, join like-minded groups for a night of delicious food, drink and entertainment.
This year, Bath Racecourse has two great themes to choose from – Après Ski Christmas or the Masquerade Ball. Starting from £42 per person, the shared Christmas party nights all include a glass of ice-cold prosecco on arrival, delicious three-course festive feast, tea, coffee, mince pies and black forest cookies, DJ and 'Survivors' Breakfast' for those who make it to midnight!
There’s still availability for selected dates during November and December. For more information and to check availability, click here.