Every year it seems to come around sooner. Before you know it, winter has closed in, and it’s time again for the annual office holiday party. It’s also time to decide where to hold your celebration, and what kind of party you will have. For smaller businesses and offices the choices can be simple. Employees can gather at the bosses home, or at a local restaurant. But for large businesses, the choices aren’t so simple. With a greater number of employees to accommodate, it becomes necessary to put greater planning into your holiday celebrations. But with a little forethought, it is possible to throw a festive party that celebrates the season, and rewards your employees for a year’s worth of hard work.
Setting a Budget
The first step in planning a holiday party for a large office or business, is to set a budget. Tally up the number of employees at your business, and figure out how much you can afford to spend per head. This will help you make all of your party planning decisions further down the line. With a solid budget, you can begin to scout out party venues, and can begin to interview caterers. Remember, a holiday party is not just about celebrating the season, it is a way of showing appreciation for your employees’ hard work. So be generous in your budgeting, but once that budget is set – stick to it.
Finding a Venue
Some business owners like to have their holiday parties on company property. It seems easier to organize, and appears to be less expensive. But staging your holiday party off-site, at an events space or hired venue, is actually very cost efficient and often much easier to manage. It also offers all of your employees a chance to socialize outside of the work environment, and makes for a much more festive celebration.
When choosing an events space for your holiday party, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to choose a venue that is centrally located, and easy for all of your employees to find. You will also want to choose the venue that offers adequate parking, preferably attended, for the convenience and safety of your guests.
Most private event spaces will offer a choice of banquet halls, suitable for different sized parties. Once you have set a budget, and know who many people will be attending your party, you can consult the events coordinator to help you decide on a hall that best suits your needs. Many venues provide decorating services for their clients, and you will want to decide if you are going to leave the holiday decorations in their hands, or if you will be appointing members of the office staff to handle the décor. If you choose the latter, you will want to coordinate with the venue’s management to set a time for your people to get in early to decorate. It is often easier though, and cheaper, to leave this to the venue’s staff. They have the expertise, the equipment and the decorations on hand, and are more than ready to create a festive atmosphere.
Food and Refreshments at Your Holiday Party
When choosing a venue for your holiday party, you should also consider whether or not they can provide catering services. On-site caterers make planning the refreshments for your party much easier, and allows you to avoid contracting yet another outside service. Using the in-house catering service can also help to save money, as many venues offer discounts when clients bundle services together.
Your catering needs will be determined by the type of party you are planning. A good caterer should be able to offer a wide range of choices, from a full service sit down dinner to an attractive holiday buffet. As you work with the catering service to prepare a menu, keep in mind that some of your employees and their spouses may be vegetarians. So you will want ask the catering chef about alternatives suitable for your vegan or vegetarian guests.
As you are going over the prospective menu for your holiday party, it is a good time to ask the caterer about liquid refreshments. If you want to provide an open bar for your guests, be sure to ask the caterer, and venue management, if they are licensed to serve alcohol. Now is also the time to ask about the availability of service staff for your party. You want to know that they can supply all of the staff needed to make the evening fun, festive and free of difficulties. The caterer should be able to provide servers, bartenders, and clean-up personnel as part of your contract agreement.
Throwing a holiday party for your employees is a wonderful way to thank them for the hard work they’ve put in throughout the year. It is also a great opportunity for employees to socialize outside of the workplace, giving them the chance to create tighter bonds that will lead to more productivity in the year ahead. With a little forethought, and with the right venue and catering staff, you can give your employees the kind of holiday party they will talk about for years. Or at least until next year’s holiday celebration.