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How to plan the perfect Christmas party

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Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes the work Christmas party. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t magic itself into existence and does in fact need someone willing to take on the task of planning it. Arranging a party for your colleagues can be a stressful experience, especially if you’ve never done it before and are trying to come up with something that everyone is going to enjoy. If you’ve volunteered for (or been lumbered with) the job of organising your work’s celebrations this year then here are some tips to help you ensure it’s an event to be remembered for all the right reasons.

Set a date

If your company’s party is always the last Friday before Christmas then great, you’re good to go. Otherwise send a quick email around all staff with a couple of dates to find out when most people will be available (make sure that your MD and other senior staff are free first). Fridays are usually a good choice, as your colleagues don’t have to get up and drive to work the next day. Try to avoid a Saturday as people may be less inclined to socialise with work mates on the weekend. As soon as you’ve settled on a date let everyone know so that they can keep it free.

Find out your budget

For many, the Christmas party is paid for by the firm so have a word with your managing director or finance manager to find out what kind of budget you have to spend. This will impact on everything from the venue to the food and drink so it’s important to establish costs early.

Establish what form the party will take

Work Christmas parties can vary widely. Some will involve a meal in a local restaurant followed by a pub crawl while others go all out hiring a function room with caterers for a private party. Much of this will depend on your budget as well as the type of people you work with and the size of the company; there’s no point in booking a large hall with disco if there will only be 10 of you there. Likewise, few restaurants will be able to cope with a single booking for 200 diners.

Venue

christmas partyTry to pick a venue that is close to your place of work. This is particularly handy if you are all heading there at 5pm but it also means that everyone should be able to get there easily – after all they do it every day. Before you book, make sure that the venue is suitable for the number of people attending and ask what is included in the price. Some places will provide a band or DJ while others will expect you to hire one and you might want to check whether the room will be festively decorated or if you’ll need to arrive early to set up.

Finalise numbers

Once the venue is booked you can finalise the numbers that will be attending. Send an email around all staff to let them know the date, time and location and ask them to RSVP by a particular date. If staff are paying for their own share of the party then ask for a deposit to be paid upfront with the balance due a couple of days before the event.

Taste the menu

Food is a crucial element of any Christmas party so you need to get this part right. Your menu will largely depend on the venue so take that into account when thinking about it. Traditional turkey dinners with all the trimmings are perfect in the right venue but if you’ve booked a speciality restaurant then you’re probably better sticking with what they’re renowned for. Go to a menu tasting if at all possible and make sure that there is at least one appetising vegetarian option available.

Delegate!

If you’re organising a large scale party then draft in some of your colleagues to help. Allocate tasks so that you have someone else chasing responses to invitations and a couple of people responsible for decorating the venue. This leaves you free to liaise with the venue and entertainment providers.

On the night

Introduce yourself to members of staff at the venue so that they know to come to you if there are any issues. Try to get there a bit early to check everything is in place and that there are no last minute hiccups. If you have a ‘free’ bar but with a spend limit it might be an idea to hand out drinks tokens to make sure everyone gets a fair share.

And above all, enjoy the fruits of all your effort!

 

 

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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