Corporate holiday parties are a time-honored tradition for businesses throughout many industries. Not only are they a way to show your employees appreciation and celebrate annual accomplishments, but they also reinforce your company values. Whether your business hosts a corporate holiday party each year or you’re planning an event for the first time, you’ll need a little creativity and a unique space to ensure your event thrives.
In this guide, we’ll talk about why corporate holiday parties are so valuable and also offer helpful planning tips that even a seasoned professional will find inspiring. You’ll discover ways to make your event fun and memorable, and we’ll also cover holiday-specific ideas your employees will love.
Why Host a Corporate Holiday Party?
The holiday season is a busy time, for both your business and your employees. However, having a full calendar makes it even more important to stop and recognize your team’s hard work and celebrate their accomplishments.
When your team feels their efforts are appreciated, it can create a renewed sense of passion and motivation. A well-planned holiday party will be a memorable event for your staff and can help foster a greater sense of community, along with many other benefits, such as:
- Instilling greater trust and cooperation between management staff and employees
- Boosting morale and reinvigorate your team
- Offering your staff something exciting to look forward to and providing valuable relaxation time
- Encouraging more casual and relaxed interactions
How to Ensure a Great Party
No matter what holiday you’re about to celebrate, it’s critical to throw a high-quality event your guests will love. For corporate events, in particular, it’s important to create an atmosphere of celebration and make having fun the ultimate goal. The best corporate holiday parties feel like an escape from the stressors of daily life. The following sections will outline your plan of action for organizing an unforgettable evening.
Begin Planning Early
Organizing any large event takes time, and this is even more true during the holidays. If your corporate party is going to take place towards the end of the year in particular, you can expect venues and caterers to be booked up fast. To avoid any disappointments or unnecessary challenges later on, reach out to your team five to six months in advance and ask for their ideas about celebrating the holidays.
Since this event is ultimately meant to honor your staff, it’s a good idea to get their opinions before getting started if possible. Then, begin looking at venues early, when they are most likely to have openings in their schedule. Getting started on your party planning well in advance brings another benefit as well—it generates more excitement and anticipation, giving everyone something enjoyable to look forward to.
Select an Inspiring Space
The location you select for your event will set the tone for your entire evening. While incorporating personalized decorations is always recommended, the most impactful step you can take is to select a venue with soul. When your guests step inside a warm and inviting space, they will instantly feel more at ease.
A good tip to keep in mind when viewing possible party venues is to stop and consider how a room feels. You want to avoid anything that feels sterile, boring, or unwelcoming. Of course, it’s also important to verify that a venue offers access to the amenities your event will use. Some key details you should look out for include:
- A combination of indoor and outdoor spaces
- Accessible kitchen facilities
- Areas for incorporating audio and visual equipment
- A welcoming atmosphere
Plan to Create Opportunities for Interaction
After you’ve chosen a venue for your event, it’s time to begin envisioning how you will use your party space. A memorable corporate holiday party will encourage relationship-building and fun by using a venue to its fullest potential. One smart way you can accomplish this is by creating multiple conversation areas. This allows your guests to freely explore the event and become more engaged in the experience.
If you select a venue with additional outdoor space, you can utilize this area as a bonus space for serving drinks, enjoying relaxed conversation, or listening to live music. No matter what the layout of your venue looks like, consider how you want your guests to congregate and use the space for a relaxed atmosphere and more engagement. You can also ask your venue’s staff for tips on how guests have set up their space in the past.
Set the Stage for Excitement
While your venue alone can go a long way toward creating a magical atmosphere, there are other elements you’ll need to bring into the space to ensure your event makes a big impact. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Mood lighting. Don’t rely on harsh overhead lights. Instead, choose a venue designed with great mood lighting or incorporate lighting at multiple levels throughout your space, such as by placing candles on tables, installing fairy lights through outdoor spaces, and whenever possible opting for lamp lighting in warmer, yellow tones.
- Music. Playing background music at a low level instantly puts guests at ease and helps fill any silences that might occur throughout the evening. Make sure your playlist is at a suitable volume for listening, but not so loud that it overpowers conversation.
- Themed decorations. Since this is a holiday party, you’ll want to be sure and use decorations that speak to the night’s theme. Before you start shopping though, consider the tone you want to set for your event. No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, you can always choose a more formal, elegant, and tasteful event or something relaxed, vibrant, and fun. Whichever you choose, your decorations should match.
- Menu planning. This is an excellent opportunity to offer holiday-related foods and drinks. Taking the time to plan your menu thoughtfully will surprise and delight your team. You can ask your caterer for recommendations.
The Most Fun Holiday Parties to Host
There are so many opportunities for celebration throughout the calendar year. For corporate parties, selecting a holiday you can be really creative with is a great first step toward creating an unforgettable event. The following are some of the most fun holidays to frame your event and some tips to get you started.
A corporate Halloween party is a surefire way of putting your team into a carefree and fun-loving mindset. Filling your party space with spooky decor and low lighting is simple to accomplish yet highly impactful. You can have a costume contest, organize pumpkin decoration, play murder mystery games, and serve themed cocktails and treats.
Thanksgiving is an excellent time for strengthening your workplace morale, showing gratitude for your team, and giving back to the community. This type of holiday party can be lushly decorated in warm decor that speaks to the harvest season.
You could offer a traditional meal or host a potluck, organize a gratitude workshop, or run a food drive for Austin’s Central Texas Food Bank. Another option is to host a cocktail party where your team can simply relax during the busy holiday season.
Always a popular choice for corporate parties, Christmas is simple to plan and decorate for. You could organize something dressy and elegant or host an ugly sweater contest. For activities, you could build gingerbread houses in teams, decorate cookies, or host a Secret Santa gift exchange or even a charity gift drive.
The time around New Year’s Eve is perfect for reflecting on your team’s accomplishments and setting new goals. Parties around this time are great for giving out achievement awards, enjoying celebratory toasts, and sharing New Year’s resolutions. You can host a giveaway or raffle and treat your team to an evening of delicious food, music, and drinks.
Many lesser-known holidays are very fun to celebrate with a little creativity, and can even play into your unique line of work. Hosting a corporate holiday party during the non-traditional holiday season is also a great way to keep your employees feeling valued throughout the year. Lesser-known holidays are perfect for celebrating inclusivity and reinforcing company values.
In addition, you’ll enjoy added perks such as:
- Avoiding the busiest time of the year and celebrating when your employees have less on their plate
- Having an easier time booking an available venue
- Demonstrating your company’s values by celebrating more unique occasions you want to emphasize.
Some holidays you might not be aware of but should consider include:
- Employee Appreciation Day: March 1
- Be Kind to Humankind Week: August 25-31
- World Day of Social Justice: February 20
- World Health Day: April 7
- Better Business Communication Day: January 28
- National Pizza Day: February 9th
- National Relaxation Day: August 15
Start Your Corporate Holiday Party off Right with a Magical Venue
Planning a corporate holiday party is an excellent way to reinvigorate your workplace and generate renewed enthusiasm for the work that you’re doing. By starting your planning early, focusing on the event’s finer details, and selecting an unforgettable venue, you’re sure to create your most successful party yet.
At Vuka, we support all types of businesses by providing an inspiring space that’s ready to be personalized for any event you can dream up. To give your next corporate event the perfect place to thrive, get started today.