Party Planning 101: How to Throw a Killer Christmas Party

Spice spoke to some hardened professionals to learn the dos and don'ts of throwing a seasonal soiree that'll be remembered for all the right reasons.

So you’ve been tasked with planning the office’s Christmas party. No pressure, right? Just a spectrum of  personalities to appease, expectations to juggle and a tight budget to achieve the perfect result. Again, no pressure. Right? Well, if you’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed — don’t fret. A LIST Guide
(Spice’s sister publication) spoke to some hardened professionals to learn the dos and don’ts of throwing a seasonal soiree that’ll be remembered for all the right reasons.

Do – Find the right date to maximise attendance

Schedule the event to come straight after work — or better yet —  organise an early mark on a Friday to really get everyone involved and excited.

Don’t – Include the children

Marianne Edmonds, co-founder of Queensland agency LOUD Events (and party planner extraordinaire) says: “There are times throughout the year for family fun days or bring your children to work for the morning days. Christmas is ultimately for the work unit. We believe these should be separated to allow for all to enjoy.”

Do – Treat your office Christmas party like a team building exercise (but not blatantly so)

The Christmas party is essentially a team bonding exercise — not just a chance to drink for free on the company. Be conscious of those electing not to drink and make sure you think of them also when planning your silly season soiree.

Don’t – Be tight or hold the party at the office

“A party with no expenditure will only backfire,” Edmonds said. “Don’t be lazy or tight and hold the event in the work place. Not ever.”

Do – Give the managers a job

“We often place senior management in front of the employees and give them a job like cooking sausages, or to be part of a flash mob or a dunk tank,” said Edmonds. “Personifying senior staff goes a long way”.

Do – Include a level of interactivity

Think ping-pong competitions, boules, trivia, bubble soccer…the opportunities are endless! Click here for more interactive ideas.

Don’t – Wear your uniforms to a Christmas Party

Plain clothes or costumes only! This is in your best interest as if drunken debauchery occurs, it can’t be traced back to the company.

Do – Choose a theme

Aside from adding some visual flair and pizazz, a good theme has the power to set the tone for your guests, says Tracy Wood,  Director of Funktionality. “We recommend researching the guest demographic thoroughly to find something that appeals to their interests, whether it be pop-culture relevant to their era or a trending theme.”

Don’t – Just make your guests sit down all night

Add a layer of interactivity to your event to get everyone moving and networking.

Do – Get some roving entertainers

People attend parties to be entertained, Woods said. “The importance of roving entertainment for cocktail events has been more pronounced of late, with performers acting as a great icebreaker or conversational talking point among guests, helping to ease people into natural areas of dialogue and ultimately encouraging engagement.” Woods tells A LIST Guide that the days of plugging in an iPod are well and truly over. “Instead, opt for live entertainment such as DJs and bands that can really lift the atmosphere of an event to help get everyone up and dancing.”

Need ideas? Click here to browse A LIST Guide’s entertainers.

Don’t – Put spirits on the bar tab

Experts agree that this is just a recipe for disaster. It’s been trialed and tested rigorously. Trust us on this one.

Do – Create lasting memories

Whilst the importance of great good, theming and entertainment should not be overlooked, guests are now coming to expect more from an event, says Woods. “We recommend incorporating fun activities that have a take away element so guests are able to leave the event with a memento of the incredible time they had. Custom-branded photobooths are a common choice, but for a bit more of a treat you could try custom perfume mixing or cigar making stations.”

Need help planning your Christmas soiree? Click here to browse event management companies on the A LIST Guide.

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