The office Christmas party is that time of the year when teams of colleagues all get together to socialise and have fun. After another 12 months of hard work and dedication, it’s time to kick back and relax a little. However, all that partying can come with a hefty price tag and, particularly for small business owners, it can represent a significant expense.
If that sounds familiar and you’re wondering how to throw a Christmas do that’s worthy of your team but doesn’t break the bank, here are a few ideas for arranging an office party on a budget.
Christmas party ideas
The first port of call – what are you going to do? You need to come up with an idea that will entertain and interest your guests, because if you don’t, no-one will want to come! The following are a few examples of the sort of office Christmas parties you could throw:
- Three-course meal
- Hire a DJ
- A hog roast
- A night at the circus
- A Christmas quiz
- Hire a manor house for a murder mystery night
- Day at the races
Christmas party themes
Choosing the right office Christmas party theme is key to throwing a good do. Here’s a couple to get you thinking.
- Black tie
- The Roaring Twenties
- Masquerade Ball
- Christmas Carnival
- Winter wonderland
- Nightmare before Christmas
- Christmas jumper event
- Night at the casino
The date and the time
When you have your party is arguably the key factor determining how much it will cost. On the Friday night before Christmas, for example, every venue and caterer in town will have their prices set to optimum. To really avoid the busy period, have a belated Christmas do in January, giving your team a fantastic way to welcome in the New Year. Another tip for cutting costs is sharing them with another SME. Joint parties can also be a handy way to forge new connections with potential clients, suppliers or partner companies.
One mistake party organisers often make when dealing with venues is to accept the first price they’re offered. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use your business negotiating skills to secure yourself a great deal on a party venue. Alternatively, how about holding your festivities closer to home, on your work premises. If you have a suitable area, this will always be the cheapest option and in-house food and drink is cheaper too. ‘Homemade’ party gives your team the chance to come together and make a joint effort on decorations. By simply using some card, glitter and scissors, you can design and produce some fantastic yuletide-inspired pieces.
If you’re not hiring a DJ, choosing the right tunes can make or break your Christmas party. You have to get an eclectic mix of chart hits, yuletide anthems and, of course, a whole lot of cheesy pop music for everyone to sing their hearts out to when the end is nigh. If you want the dancefloor to be packed, all the songs you pick will need a touch of groove about them. However, this is extremely easy to achieve with minimal expenditure. Use Spotify or Pandora and send an email around asking everyone to select their five favourite party tunes. You’ll need to ensure your sound system is up to scratch too, so investing in a decent set of speakers is advisable.
The fun and games
You don’t want your party to be boring, so a few office Christmas party games and activities can not only make for great entertainment, but help build camaraderie between your employees and co-workers. Plus, this is one element of the Christmas party that’s very easy to prepare without breaking the bank. Use the internet to find free downloadable games and customise them for your team. Award ceremonies always go down well too, whether they’re silly or serious in tone. Have team competitions where departments are pitted against one another, or why not really get back to basics with adult versions of kids’ party games? Quizzes are another super affordable way to get everyone engaged and in the party spirit.
Food and drink are a huge part of throwing a good Christmas party but that doesn’t mean you have to hire the most expensive caterers. One option is to do it yourself, asking everyone to bring along a buffet dish like fried chicken, potato salad, crisps or nuts. Stock the fridge with a selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for the party dwellers to enjoy, and make sure there are plenty of plastic cups on hand too.
Party planning for your office’s Christmas blow-out can seem an overwhelming and expensive job, but by following our savvy saving tips, you’ll soon be on the road to hosting a fantastically festive gathering, without going into the red.