As Andy Williams sings in his hit from ‘63, Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year”, and we couldn’t agree more! Christmas makes us feel festive and excited. It is the perfect time to slow down, reflect last year’s achievements and have some rest before kicking into next year’s journey. And last but not least – it deserves to be celebrated!
Organising a party can be total chaos or a perfectly planned event. We have prepared a precise 10 steps guide on how to plan a corporate Christmas party which may help you to ease the overall process of putting it together.
Find out what’s the best time for booking a venue for Christmas party, how to plan a budget, why choosing a theme is important and what not to forget about before letting everyone know details.
1. Set the date & let everyone know
Setting the date should be the first thing to do when planning a party. If you are booking a Christmas party in a restaurant or any other venue, the date depends on the availability. Christmas time is the busiest time of the year when it comes to social events and parties so calendars are filling up quickly.
Date of a venue is usually the first info you let your colleagues/employees know so that they can set the date into their calendars. Let everyone know when to count with the party so that they can’t make other plans for the day of Christmas party.
Extra Tip: Ask all the possible attendees if they are in town for the day/week of the party so that as many people as possible can join, and set the date afterwards depending on when most of the people are in. This tip is extremely useful for small or medium-size companies where every person counts.
2. Book a venue in advance
Golden rule: don’t wait for too long! All the Christmas parties happen in December, which means everyone is booking as soon as possible to grab the best spot in favourite clubs or restaurants. From our own experience, first bookings for Christmas party in our restaurant are coming in late July/early August. Don’t wait until December because you take a risk of not finding a spot at your dreamy place.
Extra Tip: Choose an area of town where it would be best to have a party, and then make a list of nearby restaurants or venues. We suggest book online if there’s such an option on the venue’s website, or you can be even more proactive and call there to make sure somebody answers your query straight away.
3. Plan the budget you can afford
Let’s be honest – it’s very important to know how much money you can operate with when organising a party. When it comes to planning and calculating costs, you have to count with all the details which might come across. There is a lot of to roll around the budget – venue booking, food & drinks, any other activities coming along, and also allocating extra budget for unexpected costs.
Extra tip: There might appear costs which will be over the planned budget. Allocating a budget for unexpected costs is something many people don’t plan, and can be extremely useful.
4. Guest list
As we mentioned above in Step 1, informing your colleagues/employees about the date should be the first info they receive before the Christmas party. You can decide what’s the best way on how letting everyone know (via email, internal chat, cards, etc.). Make an initial guest list and don’t be shy to ask all invited ones if they are willing to come. Two rounds of checking if everyone is coming will secure a spot for everyone, and also is handy when it comes to knowing the exact seats to be booked.
In the first round, right after setting a date, instead of asking who can come, ask who CAN’T MAKE IT – it’s easier to cross a few names rather than checking all the names on the list of invited.
In the second round, a few days before the Christmas party, double check if everybody who assigned previously can make it to the party. This should be the definite answer from those who are coming.
5. Choose theme & dress code
Let all attendees know what’s the theme and dress code. Is it a “sparkly party” or “White Christmas”? Is it a colour-themed party? Should everyone come wearing a Santa hat? Don’t let them doubt what to wear and expect from the party. Make it funny or elegant by choosing a specific style and theme for the venue. Pay attention to details when it comes to decorating the venue. Be respectful to everyone’s preferences, try to put together various options which might be the perfect match for dress code for the venue – if you decide for a particular colour, leave the freedom of wearing anything in that colour so that it’s easier and affordable for everyone to adjust to this request.
Extra tip: No limits, all imagination in!
6. Create & send invitations
You can create invitations by yourself (craft them or create them online using specific graphic tools, for example, Canva which is easy to use even for beginners) or you simply decide to send invitations in text format via email complemented by a Christmas-themed image, it’s totally up to you. Try to stay in the theme you have chosen for the event and adjust the design and tone of the invitation accordingly. Every invite will appreciate the effort of creating a visually sweet invitation, so impress them!
7. Food & drinks
Will meals & drinks be served in the venue? Would you like to have a round before? Booking a restaurant for your Christmas party is a huge advantage of dining & partying at the same place. As it was said earlier, the theme is the king, so try to keep your meal & drink choices on the same line. If you decide on a sparkly elegant theme, it should be accomplished by a visually beautiful and tasty several-course menu. Here at BANG Restaurant, we will help you to decide on the best match for the menu & drinks. We also offer Matching Wines for each course to offer you an extra experience while dining (available on request from our Award-Winning Wine List).
Finalize your meal choices preferably three or two weeks before the event, and perhaps consider shopping for any essentials needed for your event now (finger food, Christmas sweets or drinks to have in the office or generally before coming to the venue).
Extra tip: Discuss your ideas with the restaurant’s staff to create the best match possible for your drink & meal choices. Also, consider different dietary restrictions and preferences of every guest to make sure the offer is not limited just to a few meal options and everyone can enjoy dining. Feel free to ask about who is vegetarian or vegan, who can’t eat lactose or wheat products.
8. Visualise & make a schedule
Visualising the event is very important to have an overall idea. Start planning it a few months ahead and schedule various tasks well in advance before the Big Day. If a notepad helps, put everything on paper and plan steps to be followed in the next few months to ensure doing everything on time. There is a no bigger reward than having no stress during the last days of organising a party!
Also, don’t underestimate the event itself. Take some time to visualise each part of the day from a guest’s point of view. Schedule different parts of the day and activities which go along. When the party starts? Do you go straight from the office? Do guests need transportation to the venue or is it within a walking distance from the office? Do you plan to go somewhere before the party starts to have a few drinks? Ensure you covered all the stages of the party day, details and possible scenarios in your plan.
9. Speech time
It’s always nice to hear some words of appreciation, especially when it comes from your manager or boss. Ask your boss for a brief acknowledgement as a summary of the company’s past year. Speech is usually given before meal eating or before gifts exchanging if there’s any. A little wrap up of the past year’s company’s achievements and reflections never killed anybody!
Are you planning to cover gifts exchanging on the Christmas party? Have you considered Secret Santa? It’s fun! Whether it will be Kris Kindle or any other way of giving and receiving gifts, make sure to include this part into the party schedule. Everyone loves gifts. If you decide for Secret Santa, we recommend to set a budget limit and let everyone know about that. To save your time and keep it easy, try to use a tool or an app which chooses your Secret Santa for you and also gives you some Christmas gift ideas which stay in your budget.
Apart from Secret Santa and gifts exchanging, make sure you talk to your HR team or your boss about gifts from the company to all employees. This is a beautiful way to thank everyone for their hard work over the past year. If your boss asks for any quick ideas, vouchers are always an option. In this case, make sure all the vouchers are the same value to be fair to everyone!
11. Extra tip: ask for feedback after the event
Christmas party vibes don’t end by the departure of the last guest. Make a brief survey or send a quick email to all attendees about what they liked about the party, or if there’s anything they would suggest to do differently. Asking for feedback is very important to learn how to do it even better for next year’s event! Try a little help by using a tool for making surveys where everybody stays anonymous when leaving comments and expressing opinions.
Now you know the 10 crucial steps needed for organising a Christmas party for your company! Celebrate this special occasion with BANG Restaurant – Award-Winning restaurant based in Dublin 2. Enjoy private dining, corporate dining or celebrations.