"The holidays" is a blanket term that covers a lot of ground. It's the time of year when people across the globe are busy celebrating traditions and holidays, many of which don't have much to do with Christmas or Easter.
From Diwali to Hanukkah and everything in between, it's easy to get lost in the fun of the season—especially once you've had that second glass of Christmas punch!
But if your office is anything like ours, then you'll want to keep things on track, so everyone has a chance at winning best costume or bringing home that coveted turkey trophy for their team.
In this post, we'll go over some simple themes for holiday parties that won't require much extra work from your HR department.
From silly themes like ugly sweaters (my personal favorite) to fun ones like drive-in movies under the stars (my partner's favorite), there are plenty of ways to make your corporate headquarters feel festive without breaking too much budgetary ground.
These ideas will make your company's holiday party great this year.
If you're hosting a corporate holiday party and want to make sure it's a success, here are some ideas that will help:
- Get a great location. Whether you're hosting at your office or going somewhere else, the space needs to be large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably. If you don't have an off-site locations available (or if it's too expensive), consider renting tables, chairs, lighting, and decor.
- Have a theme. This should tie in with the overall atmosphere of your company's culture—what makes people feel happy or excited? Making sure each department gets involved in planning is also important. People tend to feel included when they're asked for their input.
- Have fun activities planned throughout the evening so people can enjoy themselves without having to worry about returning home after work exhausted from partying all night long!
Make sure there are plenty of activities planned so everyone has something different available at any given time during this special event when everyone is together celebrating what matters most on this holiday weekend. That gives everyone a cause for celebration since it marks another year gone by!
You may think that the best way to plan your event is to do it yourself but hiring a pro can actually save you time and money. A corporate event planner in New York will have connections with restaurants and venues that may be willing to give you better rates, whether because they want the business or are hoping for more exposure on social media.
You may also find it helpful to enlist a decorator or florist who can help you bring your vision in line with reality (and within budget).
Telepresence robots are a great option for virtual meetings, especially if you want to meet in-person but can’t travel or don't want to spend the money on travel expenses.
Virtual reality headsets and apps are another way to connect with colleagues in different locations without having to leave the office. Some VR headsets work with smartphones, while others require specific devices that support high-quality video streaming.
Host a party-planning competition
A great way to get your team working together is by hosting a party-planning competition. You can have mini competitions within your department or across departments, depending on how many people are involved in planning the event. Some ideas include:
- The most creative team name
- The best menu options
- The most exciting decorations (think balloon animals!)
Get creative with your Zoom backgrounds
- Choose a background that is seasonal or related to the theme. This will get people in the mood for party, and it's more likely to make them remember your event.
- Choose a background that is appropriate for the audience you invited. If your audience consists of mostly young adults, for example, it might not be wise to choose an elegant background with lots of text and fine print; instead, go with something brighter and more modern like one of our bright corporate holiday themes.
- Choose a background that is visually interesting without being distracting from key information like speaker names or table assignments - this can be hard when there's so much design potential out there! A good rule of thumb: try using images instead of text whenever possible!
- Find a holiday playlist on YouTube to use as background music. Under the Zoom settings, choose to share sound so that everyone can hear the music and enjoy the ambiance.
You may have gone to a drive-in theater when you were growing up, but if not, it's time to plan your own drive-in movie.
The first thing you'll need is an actual drive-in movie theater (or a large field or roof), then set up the sound system and projectors.
Then get everyone ready for their roles:
- The projectionists will need to prepare both films by checking the reels and making sure they're loaded properly onto their projectors. They will also keep track of where each reel is in order so they can cue up the next part of the film at just the right time.
- Decide how many people will be needed for ticket sales, concessions and cleaning up afterward. Make sure these jobs are assigned before you start selling tickets so that there aren't long lines later on when everyone wants popcorn or soda!
Go for comedy gold
Think about the kind of comedy you prefer. There are many ways to get a laugh, and it's easy to forget how much variety there is in that space. Do you like shows? Movies? Games? Music? Books? Podcasts? All of the above! Here are some ideas for each type:
- Comedy Shows: You could watch one of your favorite shows live at a local venue or on TV. If your office The Comedy Cellar in Manhattan, you're all in for a night of non-stop laughs! There are many top New York Comedians performing on any given night!
- Comedy Movies: Try renting Wonder Woman or another favorite superhero film if everyone in your office has seen it already; otherwise, it's time for something new! If you're looking for something funny with more relatable characters than superheroes (and fewer explosions), try Popstar by Lonely Island or Vice Principals on HBO Go/HBO Now (both available through Amazon Prime).
- Comedy Games: For this option, consider whether there will be enough people interested in playing games at work who also like being silly together—the best bet will probably be something along those lines anyway because laughter is contagious! One option would be Cards Against Humanity—this game has been named one of Time magazine’s “25 Best Inventions” three years running now because of its ability to bring people together over topics like politics but also bodily functions (if that doesn't sound enticing enough already).
Throw an awards-show dinner party
Everyone loves a good awards show, but your team will love celebrating their own accomplishments with a fun and interactive awards show dinner party.
The best part is that you don't need to spend a lot of money on decorations or food! Instead, focus on creating an atmosphere that feels like the Oscars. Decorate with gold or silver balloons and use paper plates and cups to add some punch without breaking the bank.
You can also keep costs low by having everyone bring their favorite dish for the potluck portion of the evening. It's always fun to try new foods, and this way you won't have to worry about your team's dietary restrictions or allergies getting in the way of their enjoyment of the festivities.
If you're looking for something different, this is a great choice. It's also not too difficult to pull off, so it can definitely be done on short notice!
Embrace the holidays' chillier elements
Here are some of the best ways to use the winter chill to your advantage:
- Keep guests warm by providing blankets, hot cocoa, and space heaters. No matter how many blankets you provide (and we recommend supplying as many as possible), you're bound to have some guests who are cold. These people will appreciate having a blanket that isn't already occupied by another guest or their own coat. Hot cocoa is also a great way to add in an extra layer of warmth for those who want it!
- Dramatically dim the lights and light candles or fireplaces for an intimate setting. It may seem counterintuitive in colder weather, but don't be afraid of using candles and fireplaces indoors! The softer lighting will make your event feel cozier and more intimate than bright overhead lights would, even if your venue doesn't have much natural light itself.
Host the ultimate winter story hour
The winter story hour is a fun way to entertain your guests during the holiday season. This event can be held in any space with plenty of seating and a warm atmosphere.
It's easy to host a successful winter story hour: just make sure you have enough books available for all of your guests, and make sure they're appropriate for preschool-age children (or lower). Then, let them loose!
You'll want to keep things interesting by having different activities during the event that get people involved in reading together. Make sure these activities are age-appropriate; if you're having older kids at your party, you might have them act out some parts from the book or even write their own stories about what happened in the books they've been reading lately.
You could also have younger children participate by asking them questions about their favorite characters or authors when it comes time for discussion afterwards.
Tap into seasonal nostalgia with a "throwback" theme
While you may still be feeling the blues from unearthing all of your old prom dresses and high school yearbooks, there's no time like the present to get back into the swing of things with a fun theme for your corporate holiday party. And what better way to do so than by tapping into seasonal nostalgia with a "throwback" theme?
Whether you're going back to the 80s or early 2000s (or even earlier!), here are some ideas that will help set the scene for this year's festivities:
- Themed decorations: We've got plenty of options when it comes to decorating your office in retro style! You can go with a candy-striped table runner or add some neon flair to your bar area with a leopard print couch cover. For those who want something more traditional, how about gold tablecloths and red Christmas lights? You might also consider decking out each guest's name tag with pop art-style lettering—just make sure they're bold enough not to fade out over time!
- Food: To start off our list at number one we have "Mystery Bag" sushi rolls (the contents vary but always include at least one roll made from spicy tuna). We also see many variations on chicken wings including Buffalo Wingz®, KFC® Chicken Wings®, Popeyes® Chicken Wings®, Panda Express® Orange Chicken Wings™ (with honey), Raising Cane's® Cane Sauce™ Dipping Sauce™ & Garlic Parmesan Fries Basket Combo Packages (with spicy cajun rub), or even just plain ole' regular fries served straight up with diet soda.
- Drink choices: If none of these sound appealing then try mixing things up by serving hot chocolate instead of coffee drinks while everyone waits on their meals (and don't forget about those marshmallows
Make it a silent night
If you are looking to host a Christmas party but don't have the budget for it, consider hosting a Christmas-themed event with your colleagues and family. With some planning and creativity, you can throw together a memorable holiday celebration that will leave everyone in the spirit of the season.
The first step is to choose your theme. Themes can range from traditional ideas like "Santa Claus" or "Frosty", all the way through wacky themes such as "Who ate all my cookies?" or even "The Office Party." It is up to you what kind of theme appeals most; however, I do recommend choosing something festive - after all, that's really what matters at this time of year!
Make it an ugly Christmas sweater party
You could have a Christmas party, or a Thanksgiving dinner, or even just a regular ol' holiday office gathering. However, if you want to liven things up, we recommend making it an ugly Christmas sweater party!
This is one of those events that won’t just be fun and unique—it will be memorable too. Everyone will remember what they were wearing at this awesome event for years to come.
And when your employees are old and gray with grandchildren of their own running around the house (or “cribs” as they say these days), they'll remember how excited they got about that time you threw an ugly Christmas sweater party at work!
Take it to the streets … or the backyards!
Outdoor parties are a great way to take your event to the next level. Not only will they be more memorable, but they are also more likely to be fun. Because of their location and surroundings, outdoor events often have a more relaxed atmosphere and can provide the perfect opportunity for employees to have some fun away from their desks and cubicles.
Whether you're planning a holiday party for your company or just looking to throw a fun-filled celebration with friends and family, these ideas will help you plan the best one yet. We hope they inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to your party's theme and activities—and that they lead to many happy memories in the years ahead!
Before you kick off the 2022 holiday season, be sure to join the BIGGEST party of the year in New York. The Event Planner Expo's 10th year anniversary is sure to be an event that will leave its mark! Click here for more info!