Oct 09 2017
Lauren Hamer
2 Minutes to read

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But it may not feel like it — not when you’re the one tasked with planning your organization’s holiday party. You know that holiday parties are great for company culture and increase morale. There’s just so much to do. Setting a date, choosing the venue, and planning the party agenda sounds like a mountain to climb amidst all other daily responsibilities. But no matter your budget, there are ways to make your life easier.

Check out these unique corporate holiday office party ideas for a good start.

Small Budget: Less Than $75 Per Person

While businesses and budgets vary in size, Credit.com says that the typical office should plan to spend about $75 per person for corporate events. It just takes a little creativity to conjure up a holiday party that wows on a tight budget.

  1. Breakfast Theme: If you have a smaller team, you may not want to go all out when planning your holiday party. So why not celebrate over breakfast? Find a local caterer who specializes in breakfast dishes and take catered meals at the office to the next level. Consider innovative ideas like coffee bars, yogurt stations, breakfast burritos, or sprawling bagel spreads to treat your office.
  1. Potluck 2.0: Revamp the traditional lunch or dinner potluck and create a dessert, breakfast, or international-themed potluck instead. Celebrate your team’s diversity by asking everyone to bring a dish that symbolizes their personal heritage and their own holiday traditions. Create an online sign-up sheet so that everyone harnesses their ideas in one place.
  1. Volunteer Together: The holiday season is about giving back. Although fancy parties put even the grumpiest employees in a better mood, volunteering with a local organization that serves the community is priceless.This party idea is unique, memorable, and a surefire way to build lasting relationships with coworkers in a meaningful environment.

Medium Budget: $75-$150 Per Person

A slightly larger budget allows for a whole new set of planning opportunities. A festive cocktail party brimming with delicious appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, for example, encourages guests to mingle with drinks and food in a casual, relaxed setting. Here are a few more corporate holiday party ideas for a medium budget.

  1. Pop Culture Themes: A casual cocktail party can be elevated with an original and engaging pop culture party theme. “Christmas Vacation”-themed parties are always a hit. Or, take it one step further and incorporate a theme like 007, Masquerade Ball, White Christmas, or even “Game of Thrones.” Send out matching invitations and encourage guests to come dressed appropriately. A costume competition that awards the night’s “best dressed” is sure to get the creative juices — and conversation — flowing.
  1. An Office Outing: A few days before the event, ask your CEO to dress as Santa and present everyone with a $30 (or some other amount) ticket for “fun and games” at the local arcade, midnight bowling alley, or sports venue. Then invite everyone to spend a few hours working through their voucher with food and drinks at the location. This gets everyone away from the office and into a celebratory mood. If a sports theme doesn’t suit your team, gift everyone with a “free ticket” to see a play, movie, or other local event on the house. So long as you’re doing it together. That’s what matters.
  1. Photo Booth: Photo booths can usually be rented for an entire evening at a reasonable price. Everyone loves an over-the-top photo booth that invites the team to loosen up and celebrate the season. Polaroids are also the perfect take-home prop that’s sure to wind up as a framed desk accessory come January. Deck it out with holiday cheer by including joyful ornaments, festive signs and props, or other North-Pole-approved attire.

Large Budget: More Than $150 Per Person

There’s plenty of ways to maximize holiday cheer for a bash that guarantees perfect attendance records. If you spare no expense when it comes to end of the year holiday celebrations, employees can end the year in style with these elaborate big-budget corporate holiday party ideas.

  1. Dinner from Around the World: One of the greatest things about the holiday season is the accompanying traditions from various cultures. Step up the party food this year by catering a smorgasbord that encompasses cocktails, main dishes, and desserts from around the world. This could include Prosecco from Italy, stuffed turkey from Mexico, and Chocolate Yule Logs from the United Kingdom.
  1. Rent a Venue: Consider upgrading the party venue to something noteworthy like a local winery, a trendy rooftop bar, or a swanky downtown museum. SmartDraw found that 53% of workers have more fun with a significant other in tow, so expand the party to allow everyone to bring a guest. To really jazz things up, add a live performance to the mix. Professional DJs, musicians, magicians, fortune tellers, flame throwers, or whatever is appropriate for the venue will add a special something to your party. And they’ll keep guests entertained without a really detailed agenda for you to plan.
  1. Professional Photographers: Whether your holiday party is planned at the boss’s house or the convention hall down the street, you can add flair by setting up a professional picture scene near the entrance. Break out the red carpet and encourage your team to dress to the nines. Then escort them down the aisle toward a photographer that snaps a professional photo in all their glory. When capping off another wonderful year, it’s important to mark special occasions and allow your peers to celebrate as adults with a night of fancy fun.

Planning a holiday party can be daunting without proper planning and an innovative idea to get your creative juices flowing. Consider how these suggestions could suit your team best and get started organizing an end-of-the-year bash to remember.

What are your best corporate holiday party ideas?

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Lauren Hamer

Written by:

Lauren Hamer

Lauren Hamer is a North Carolina based writer and entrepreneurial career consultant. She has crafted office management, workplace trends, and lifestyle content for clients including The Muse, Glassdoor, Yahoo!, Office Ninjas, and more. When she’s not writing about work or food at work, look for her in the kitchen making up recipes and flipping fry pans like she’s on an episode of “Chopped”.

Posted in: In the IndustryOffice Management

Tagged with: Catering, Events and Meetings