Let's be honest: some office Christmas parties are unforgettable, and others are dreary nightmares you can't wait to escape. While we're in no way suggesting that these are the only two outcomes for your festive corporate bash, the unfortunate truth is that most Christmas parties leave little to no impact on their attendees.
So, if you're feeling a little deflated about your Christmas party's perceived or indeed very real lack of impressiveness, don't worry: there are a couple of things you should endeavour not to do to avoid falling into the dreaded 'meh' Christmas bash category.
Mistake #1: Failing to Plan Gifts and Games (That Your Attendees Won't Hate)
Forget awkward "ice breaker” activities that try to (and, let's face it, usually fail) have everyone mingle instead of standing in the corner. Instead, put an effort into planning activities that benefit your attendees in a fun and meaningful way.
Give your guests the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets towards coveted prizes. And no, we don't mean company branded t-shirts and coffee mugs -- it's worth splurging on items your attendees will actually use and value. For example, wellness items like journals, travel mugs, reusable water bottles, sports bags and yoga mats are much more sought after than a sterile corporate branded mouse pad.
Budget permitting, consider offering prizes like a month’s free travel in January, a paid day off, a free lunch or other office wide perks that will entice attendees to spend money on raffle tickets while boosting morale. Functional items are also always a good idea: iPhone powerbanks are valuable to any customer, as are travel adaptors and chargers.
Mistake #2: Choosing a Venue that Doesn't Work
When considering a venue, location is one of the main factors – are there public transport links; local bus or underground stations? It may be tempting to save money and throw a bash at your office, but unless you work in a super modern and upscale environment (lucky you!), office parties can often feel a little worn and, well, stuffy.
If you decide to host your party somewhere outside your office, make sure that the venue works for what you're trying to achieve. For example, an All Star Lane bowling alley may be fun, but it might not work across the board.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to Hire Game-Changing Props
If you want to avoid awkward clique huddles and get your guests to actually mingle, you'll have to do a little more than provide them with alcohol and canapes.
Interactive booths, air hockey and arcade games are some examples (to name a few) will help elevate your Christmas party and engage your guests in a way that is both fun and memorable. If you need more inspiration, check out our blog post, 'These 7 Event Props Will Elevate Your Christmas Party to the Next Level'.
Mistake #4: Not Involving Your Guests
Raise your hand if the thought of a pub-crawl treasure hunt fills you with exasperated dread? Yep, you're not alone. So instead of pulling your teeth and coming up with yet another overdone team building activity, why not encourage your guests to do something together that actually makes a difference and brings everyone closer?
You could take a page out of one company's book, who got their attendees to work together to make teddy bears, wrapping them together with children's books. Some employees did the sewing, others were in charge of stuffing the bears, and others selected the book and wrapped the two together with festive ribbon. The time spent working together and doing something for the broader community brought the employees together and allowed them to bond outside of their day-to-day work expectations.
Mistake #5: Missing the Bigger Picture
It's not always about getting your guests to bond by way of an unlimited supply of Aperol and calling it a day. Tying in a charitable cause to your next holiday party could be the one thing that makes this year’s event bigger and better than before.
Whatever the cause you choose to support, working with a social impact agenda is easy to do, and will make the event more meaningful. It will also show your guests that the holidays are about more than meeting financial goals, gaining new clients or selling more products; that giving back and reflecting on the world is an equally important part of your mission as a company. Not only will a charitable angle give your employees a “feel good” reason for attending your event, but it will also help make your Christmas party stand out from the rest. It truly is a win-win.