Ah, the office Christmas party. Believe it or not, it’s not just a time to drink your fill of holiday cheer, show off your mad wassailin’ skills and stuff your face on the company dime: it’s also a time to come together with the people with whom you spend ⅓ of your life.
Here at Steam Whistle, our office Christmas party is an opportunity to gather at the Roundhouse, toss back a few frosty pints and reflect on the year that’s passed, and look forward to the year ahead. From our humble beginnings, our holiday parties have been pretty amazing, and we owe our unblemished yuletide success to our ability to know what makes people feel all warm and fuzzy inside — and we’re not just talking about our beer…though there’s that, too.
If you want to throw a holiday Christmas party and want some tips from the Good Beer, Good Festive Folk, then read on. Here are our top tips for throwing one helluva holiday office party.
It’s Gotta Be Gratis
Ever show up for an office Christmas party only to find you’ve got to foot the bill? Or part of it? Believe it or not, it happens. Everything — and we mean everything — at your workplace holiday party needs to be on the house. We’re talking open bar, we’re talking free photo booth, we’re talking complimentary commemorative glassware to take home. A holiday Christmas party is the time to thank your employees — don’t make them pay for it.
Give a Little Gift
Christmas bonuses are still the preferred Christmas gifts, but if your company can’t — or just doesn’t — do bonuses, or, if your company wants to give a gift in addition to bonuses, then consider a small pressie for each employee. You don’t have to drop a ton of money. Some quality glassware, gift cards you bought with company rewards programs or some tasty goodies to take home: these are all wonderful and easy ways to give your staff something to take home.
Not everyone at your office Christmas party is going to be a team sport kind of person, but that doesn’t mean your seasonal shin-dig can’t benefit from a few organized activities. You don’t have to do many. Even one can add some excitement to the event. Your activity can be as low key as a raffle for a ‘suped up gift basket or as high energy as an office wide tobogganing party. Just be forewarned, we speak from experience when we say not everyone will want to don their retro Steam Whistle snowsuits and head out into the brisk air, so make all activities encouraged, but absolutely optional.
Save the Date & Make it Convenient
Your staff already schedules their lives around work. Going to the office Christmas party shouldn’t be another thing they have to try to squeeze in to their busy schedules. First, set the date for your office Christmas party by the first week of November. The holiday season books up quickly, so if you want your employees at your party, you’re going to want to give them plenty of notice. Secondly, make the time and day convenient. Scheduling it on a work night, for instance, is a real drag. Late nights and early mornings don’t make for happy, productive workplaces. Friday nights are generally the best bet, since your staff is already at work and they don’t have to spend a precious weekend day or evening with their coworkers, when — let’s face it — they’d probably rather be chilling with close friends and family. Especially during the holidays.
Let the People Speak!
Allow your staff to have a say in their office Christmas party. You don’t have to give them free range (though a trip to the Maldives does sound swanky), but you can invite them to choose from a list of pre-approved options. For instance, do they want to come to Steam Whistle for a tour and then after-party at the Roundhouse? Or do they want to nosh on some grub and tap a keg of Steam Whistle at the office before heading out for skating at Nathan Phillips square? Or, do they want to go axe throwing then out to dinner where they can order a pint o’ Steam Whistle, fresh from the tap? You see the theme: options. Give the people options! Options let your employees know that you not only appreciate their work, but value their opinions, too.
Whether it’s providing taxi chits for safe rides home, delicious non-alcoholic drinks for non-drinkers or DDs, or arranging accomodations in nearby hotels, it’s imperative that everyone be safe — and safety starts with the host and/or party planner. Do what you need to do to make sure your staff enjoys the party, and arrives home safely — whenever they get there.
Here’s to safe and happy holiday office Christmas parties everywhere! Cheers, from all of us at Steam Whistle!
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