10 Steps to Planning the Perfect Staff Christmas Party

Saros Logo

The most festive time of the year is right around the corner. Again! Another year is almost done and dusted. So, as we gear up for our favourite holiday season, it’s time to start planning the staff Christmas party. 

If you are the chosen one chosen to do the party planning, here are some tips. With some simple steps, you’ll never dread planning and hosting Christmas parties again. 

Turn on your Christmas jingles and tune in for ten top tips for planning an unforgettable staff Christmas party.

Why is a company Christmas party important?

Before you begin your checklists, it’s important to understand the benefits of throwing a Christmas party for the staff. Like other social events, such as after-work drinks, Christmas parties are supposed to be good for team-building and company culture. 

There’s nothing like a party to get staff to loosen up and get to know each other. Plus there’s the extra benefit of feeling appreciated after a year of hard work. 

Now that you know the main objective of these parties, you can improvise and throw in some prizes, bonuses, gifts, end-of-year reviews, and any other form of gratitude or employee recognition. 

Remember, this is a social event that helps bring co-workers closer together, and the festive spirit will help set the mood.  

How do you plan the perfect office Christmas party?

Whether you have a team of 5, 10, or 100, it can be challenging to come up with something that everyone will enjoy. Parties like these require great attention to detail, from choosing the right food and ideal location to entertainment and dress code. 

Step 1: Set a budget

A budget is probably the most important step. Once you know how much money you can spend per head, it’ll be easier to make the rest of the decision. 

Figure out how you’ll divide up the budget. For instance, if your colleagues are into games or music, you can set a higher budget for planning the entertainment. Alternatively, if you want to make a big impression, you may want to prioritise party decorations. 

Step 2: Pick a date

When choosing and booking a venue for your Christmas party, the earlier you do it, the better. 

Ideally, you’d want to have the party close to Christmas or at least sometime in December. Many companies prefer to host their functions on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. You can either choose the date yourself or create a poll at the office with a few dates and get the majority vote.

Step 3: Book a venue 

Choosing the right location and venue depends on a few factors, such as location, budget, cuisine, venue size, and style. Luckily, there are a ton of venues to choose from in Melbourne. 

Thinking outside the square, your party could be at a bowling alley, amusement park, rooftop bar, restaurant, function room, or private house. 

Once you’ve worked out what kind of party you are planning, make a shortlist and contact the venue managers to discuss your ideas. When you’ve found the right place, book it straight away so you don’t miss out. Christmas is the busiest time of year for most venues.

Step 4: Send invitations

It’s time to send the invitations or at least a save-the-date email. And don’t forget to ask for an RSVP by a certain date. 

Consider sending the event program, dress code, how to get there, and transport options. Include any other relevant information and clear instructions. 

Make sure everyone at work is aware of the event and ask them to spread the word. Add the Christmas event to the company calendar so everyone gets reminders prior to the party. 

Step 5: Prepare gifts for all

Everyone likes gifts, especially during the festive season. 

Christmas gifts for the staff don’t have to be pricey. They can be meaningful, fun, and silly. It all comes down to your budget. If budget allows, you can take your gift-giving up a notch and give everyone the gift off their wish list. 

Almost everyone is doing Secret Santa as a fun way to exchange gifts. Consider having a Christmas wish list for the Kris Kringle, and a maximum spend to keep things fair and avoid disappointment. 

Step 6: Good food equals good mood

A party is not fun at all without good food and free-flowing drinks. Again, it all depends on the budget. 

If you’re hosting your staff party at the office or a private venue, then you can hire a catering company. Some venues even allow you to bring your own booze, cutting the costs drastically. 

If you have the budget to book a restaurant, then your party will go much smoother. Consider whether to go with finger food, a three-course meal, or a buffet. Also, do you want an open bar or a limited number of drinks? 

Food is very important, especially when guests are consuming alcohol. Make sure there’s always food to nibble on throughout the duration of the event and have the drinks flowing to keep the festive vibes going. 

Important tip: Familiarize yourself with your guests’ dietary needs and allergies and make a list to give to the caterers or the restaurant. 

Step 7: Choose the party theme

You may think this step is unnecessary, but it’ll add to the festive mood and make your party more memorable. 

Ambiance plays a crucial role in the overall experience, and there’s no better way to set the mood for the party than the perfect lighting and music, color combination, or fun dress code. Again, you can create a poll at the office with a few themes and see what gets the best response. 

Once you know the theme, you can plan the details like table decorations, tablecloths, lanterns, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; keep it tasteful and within the budget. 

Step 8: Plan fun games and activities

Party entertainment will depend on a few other factors, including the number of guests, the venue, and, of course, the budget. 

Besides a fun playlist and a DJ, you can also plan a Karaoke. Karaoke is always a crowd-pleaser, whether you’re a group of 10 or 100. 

Consider music and movie trivia, costume contests, and gift lottery. Whatever you end up choosing and if budget allows, make sure to hire a photographer to capture all the fun moments or set up a photo booth with funny props (always a good idea!) 

Step 9: Prepare the agenda

An event schedule will keep people in the loop and give them the assurance that the party is well organised. Instead of wondering what’s next, they’ll know exactly what’s happening at what time, so they won’t miss on a thing. 

You can print the agenda and place it on each table, send it by email, or put a big welcome sign at the entrance door with the event program on it. 

Step 10: Last-minute preparations

It’s time for the biggest event of the year! 

Make sure to arrive earlier than everyone in time to introduce yourself to the staff and the venue manager. Check that the chef and wait staff have a list of guests with allergies and dietary needs, as this is very important. Let everyone know where to find you if they need something. Then check all the details, from tablecloths, decorations, and playlists to microphone and lighting. 

Finally, remember that this is your party too and, like everyone else you should loosen up and get in the festive spirit. 

Tis the season

As you are planning your office Christmas party, remember you’re not the only one, so the earlier you start preparing, the better. This goes for booking the right venue, as popular places are in high demand. 

At Saros Bar + Dining, we offer the perfect package for a successful Christmas party, from the capacity to accommodate a large-scale event to a fantastic variety of canapes and a la carte menu. Don’t wait until the last minute. Book your spot with us as early as you can. 

Finally, once you’ve ticked each box on your checklist, pour yourself a drink and turn up the volume so you can soak up the Christmas spirit and cheer. You’ve done an incredible job. This year’s staff Christmas party will be more than perfect!