Celebrate, Appreciate and Recognize: As the calendar year closes, most business organizations take time for a teamwide holiday party, meal, or outing. Is your company hosting a year-end event simply because “we’ve always had a holiday party?” Successful leaders recognize that their holiday event is a valuable touchpoint in their year-round plan to celebrate, appreciate and recognize their team members as essential to company success.
Considerations for a successful holiday event include:
Timing — Will you be asking your employees to give up an evening of their time, or will your event take place during office hours? If your event is after-hours, think about including their significant other or guest.
- When budget allows, a unique venue intensifies your guests’ feeling of distinction. Having a movie theater dedicated to your private group, using a portion of a sports arena, or renting a segment of a local food hall are distinctive possibilities.
- If a company principal is willing to open their home, a professional planner can provide reassuring assistance in making sure the venue is respected and returned to its original state.
- If budget dictates a restaurant location or onsite location, then consider incorporation of theming via linen rentals, centerpieces, and place settings.
- Consider a venue that includes an activity: Harbor Cruise, Ice Skating, Bowling, a progressive meal at a food hall or a local dine-around are a few group-friendly options.
Safety — If you will be serving alcohol at your event, providing door-to-door driver service is a matter of safety, as well as an appreciated amenity. Always remember that the party is an employer-sponsored event, and the company may be responsible for whatever happens during, and sometimes after, the occasion.
Theming — Here’s a straightforward element in creating a memorable event to to celebrate, appreciate and recognize: A strong creative theme aids in decision-making throughout the planning process, from venue selection to décor, from invitation to food selection, from entertainment to amenity selection. Current or vintage movie and television themes are popular, as are color, texture, or pattern designations (think “Black and White,” “Paisley Nights,” “Denim & Diamonds,” etc.), travel destinations, and song titles.
- Inspired by your event theme, your event planner can consider how your event theme can be established via linen selection, table settings and centerpieces, signage, lighting, and service personnel apparel.
- If possible, provide comfortable, open seating areas where folks can easily relax and chat, especially at the beginning of the party.
- At any holiday event, a professional emcee, host, or DJ keeps your audience informed and entertained while making sure the event proceeds on-time.
- Depends on timing and budget, but live entertainment can be musical (soloist, duo, quartet, group) or performance artists (dancers, musicians, illusionists, acrobats, etc.), and local colleges and high schools often have groups that will perform for an honorarium or donation.
- Caricaturists, portrait or roaming photographers, and photo booths with props offer impromptu fun as well as providing event keepsakes.
- Make sure to include an icebreaker activity to encourage mingling and good cheer. Providing low-key conversation starters like trivia questions or other games in table settings or décor allow guests to relax and “decompress.”
Food and Drink
- Remember that not everyone drinks alcohol or eats meat; providing dietary alternatives helps make every person feel included.
- If your corporate policies do not permit drinking either on your company’s premises or during work hours and you plan to have the party at the office as a part of the work day, don’t serve alcohol.
- Once you’ve decided on a food budget and type of service (seated, passed, buffet), printed menus (which might include programming or an agenda) are always appreciated. “Renaming” menu items to match your event theming can add an element of whimsical fun.
No matter the size of your holiday event budget, your company’s investment is always significant to your employees. Hiring a professional event planner can make a meaningful difference in delivering a memorable experience to celebrate, appreciate and recognize your team, providing inspiration for months and years to come.
Relevé Unlimited has been the ultimate Planner’s Partner throughout Southern California since 1992 — contact President Diane Hamilton to find out how we can support your next event in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange County (including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Ojai, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Newport Beach, and Dana Point).