6 things to nail down in advance of hosting a successful company holiday party

September 20, 2021Lauren Windle

Holiday parties are a staple for many companies – especially since so many were cancelled due to COVID last year.

If you've been tapped to help plan the annual employee holiday party, your goal should be to get the most out of this special event while keeping costs manageable – and employees feeling valued.

By taking the time to evaluate the best way to approach and execute this party, you can create an experience that not only boosts company morale, but also increases employee satisfaction levels. That’s a win-win!

Start with the basics: What theme should the party have? And where should it take place? Then move on to how many people are expected and what food and drinks should be served? Then move on to specialized planning and event execution.

  • Plan out the parameters

First, create a project plan that identifies the event parameters: Theme, venue, time, date, guest count, food and beverage selections, decor, and event agenda should all be set before everything else.

  • Nail Down the basics

Begin locking down the details (like booking a caterer, securing your venue, and nailing down an agenda). It's always a good idea to work with a team to decide which details are right for your  company.

  • Choose an ideal time 

If it’s a smaller and casual group, consider a lunch hour party. A lunch-hour event curbs costs and reduces the obligations on employees’ personal time and commitments.

For an evening event, many folks prefer Friday -- but -- it's also the most popular day of the week at restaurants and catering venues—meaning the most expensive time.

  • What about off-season?

Instead of defaulting to the annual Christmas or Thanksgiving party, why not consider hosting an event that's specifically for employee appreciation, when nothing else is getting in the way?

Early November and late January are great times to hold an annual appreciation party. Off-site venues are more available, and you can save money on catering expenses and party packages during an off-season event.

  • Create a cost-effective menu

There are a number of tricks can save money while still providing an excellent meal. For instance, plated meals can be more cost effective than buffets, and they allow for a more elegant presentation than having everyone stand in line and serve themselves.

Make sure your menu reinforces the theme of your event, choosing menu items that incorporate event colors or brand. You can also save money by choosing fresh fruit for centerpieces, limiting alcohol consumption, and hosting at a venue that has standard holiday decorations and food pricing options. All are excellent ways to cut costs while giving your employees a good experience.

  • To serve or not to serve...

For years now, organizations have been limiting the alcohol at holiday parties for a variety of reasons. Still, most employees don't want to attend a company party that doesn't feature some form of alcoholic beverage.

You might also consider limiting the menu to only wine, closing the bar early, or offering drinks only during the meal to help cut costs further and limit the risk of employees getting too rowdy at a company event.

Be sure to check your company’s insurance policy in advance to make sure you're covered if any issues arise.

  • Company etiquette

Hosting an annual company holiday party is meant to bring your team together and lower inhibitions around the workplace. It’s also meant to let employees know they are valued members of your company.

Be aware of  differences in religion, celebrating styles and food restrictions. It's good You can create a fantastic event with a little extra planning on the front end of the party, and offering many food choices.

Of course, if you need some help with themes, entrée ideas, color schemes or venues, just give us a call. Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering has over 20 years’ worth of successful holiday party ideas.





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