pineapple wearing sunglasses at a holiday party

While holiday parties are meant to be fun, they can sometimes end up being a burden to your employees. In 2018, only 65% of employers held a holiday party for their employees. That is the lowest number since 2009. So, how do you breathe some life into a boring office party? Show your employees how much you appreciate them with a party they’ll actually enjoy.

Make The Holiday Party About Your Employees

Throwing a party for your employees is not a time for the company to show off. You shouldn’t be throwing a party to impress anyone, but to thank your employees for all their hard work. Before you begin planning the actual party or activities here are some questions to ask:

How Can This Party Be Inclusive?

Not all cultures celebrate Christmas and there are other holidays celebrated during the winter months. Make sure your party is welcoming to all cultures and traditions. Stick to non-denominational decor and avoid religious themes altogether. Every employee should feel welcome, regardless of their background or beliefs.

How Can This Party Reflect Company Culture?

A well-defined and consistent culture is an important part of maintaining a strong organization. Employees are more likely to enjoy work and keep their jobs longer if they agree with the ideals and values of the company. Having your party reflect your values is a great way to demonstrate your integrity as a company.

For example, does your organization value giving back to the community? If so, then your party could involve a fundraising event with all of the proceeds going to a charity. Or, instead of a party, you could organize a day for your staff to go out and volunteer within the community. Some companies even give employees paid days off so they can volunteer at a charity of their choosing.

What Do Employees Actually Want To Do?

Some employees want a low-key gathering with food and games, others may want a group outing or an event. Some employees don’t even want a holiday party, preferring a cash bonus or extra paid time off to spend with friends and family. Before you begin planning a party, send out a survey asking what employees actually want. That way, you can invest your time and money into a party your employees will actually attend.

Elements of a Great Holiday Party

Now that you’ve asked your employees what they want and thought about how to make the party inclusive and reflect your culture, we can begin planning the elements of the party itself. Here are some ideas you can mix and match to create a holiday party your employees won’t forget.

Have Great Food (And Drinks)

Good food at your holiday party is absolutely essential. A great meal or high-quality snacks can be what makes an event truly memorable. Equally important are the drinks you will serve. Decide early on how many drink tickets you’ll be providing and make sure that’s communicated to the employees beforehand.

Play Games (But Make Them Optional)

Games are a great way to bring people together and help them relax. Leave board games and card games out on some tables and encourage employees to play whatever they want to. Schedule an hour of time for open karaoke, or organize a ping-pong tournament.

If your employees are up for a challenge, consider organizing a group outing to an escape room or playing laser tag.

Get Creative

Providing a place to be creative can make people feel productive and help them relax. Your party could include a gingerbread house-making contest or a gift-wrapping station. If you’ve got a group of highly creative people, consider doing a “wine-and-canvas”. These easy Bob Ross style paint-alongs allow people to exercise their creative muscles and relax while having a few drinks.

Watch A Classic Movie

Pop some popcorn and pull up a chair. Watching a classic holiday movie like Home Alone, Elf, or It’s A Wonderful Life can make for a memorable party. Set up a watch party in the conference room or rent out a local movie theater to accommodate your group.

Hold A (Friendly) Competition

A friendly contest can boost camaraderie between employees and give your holiday party some excitement. Whether it’s an ugly sweater contest or a holiday cookie bake-off, a good-natured competition is a great way to liven things up and have fun.

Give Out Awards

An award ceremony doesn’t have to be as formal as the Oscars or as awkward as The OfficeDundies.” It can simply be a time to appreciate your hardest working, most dedicated employees. Mix in a little humor and give out awards for the “busiest bee”, or the “coffee addict.” Of course, whatever awards you give out, do it with more tact than Regional Manager Michael Scott.

Happy Holidays From Workbox Staffing

The holidays are a time to thank your employees for all their hard work and to tell them how much you appreciate their efforts. Whether it’s giving an extra day off or planning a great cookie bake-off, we hope you came away with a few ideas on how to liven up your company holiday party. Remember, keep it about your employees and they are bound to have a great time.