The holidays are a busy time for everyone and most of your employees dread the bing they hear in their inbox when they receive an email titled “Holiday Party.” Every office party I’ve been to consisted of poorly mixed drinks and employees sneaking out the back door one by one while the boss gets wasted. The holidays are a time to bring your staff together and loosen up the stuffy work environment.
Plan an office get-together that your employees enjoy and expresses how much you appreciate them. These colorful party ideas can make your annual get together the best yet.
Themes That Don’t Suck
An Offbeat Theme. Just because your car needs to warm up for twenty minutes before you head to the office, doesn’t mean winter wonderland is the only theme option for your bash. Instead, heat up the cold weather with an out-of-the-box theme for that time of year. Have a Hawaiian luau and require employees to at least wear a lei or tropical shirt, but encourage everyone to go all out. Have extra straw hats and tikis around and serve drinks in pineapples and coconuts to get the party started. Folks will forget the nippiness outside and warm up to each other over pina coladas and hula dancing lessons.
Sunday Funday. Everyone loves the weekend, specifically for veg out days where the only concerns are what football games and television show times intersect. Make Sunday Funday your next party theme and make guests feel right at home. Encourage pajamas and sweatpants or guests’ choice of comfy attire. Serve beer, pizza, and junky snacks. Hey, diets start Monday, right? Have television screen with classic television shows and sports on so the scene never gets awkward. Plus, the casual atmosphere will automatically put everyone at ease and make the staff and their family (if invited) feel more comfortable and social. Most holiday themes can be predicted, so make yours a theme that’s not usually associated with the holidays like a masquerade or 80s.
Games Aside From The Usual
The episode of The Office where the team swaps gifts during the holiday party, is the fear of all employees no amount of eggnog can eliminate. Do everyone a favor and don’t set a minimum budget for mediocre thoughtless gifts that people are most definitely going to regift to their Aunt Rose anyway. Forcing secret santa amongst employees is weird and impersonal. Instead try games that get people talking and laughing. Someone in the office is bound to have a Wii. Ask them to bring it in a few days prior and set it up on a big screen. Two player tennis is bound to get rowdy and have people making wages against the Senior VP in no time.
Christmas Carol Relay
Relays and group games are awesome team building exercises and gets your crew working together without them even realizing it. Before playing, write out a list of ten to fifteen Christmas carols that only the host can see. Split players into even teams, giving each one a sketch pad and a marker. On “go,” the first players of each team go to the host to see the name of the Christmas carol. The players then return to their team and draw the name of the Christmas carol without speaking. It is exactly like Pictionary but with a holiday twist. The first team to complete the carol list wins.
Don’t Do Dinner
Your teammates deserve a cool holiday party to inspire them to continue working hard all year round. Most people will expect the sit-down, dinner-and-drink office party and will automatically assume this party will be just as boring as their last company’s. You need to make the party an event and not make employees feel like it’s another day at the desk. So center your party around an activity. Rent a bus and go to an amusement park, bowling, or a comedy club, or paint balling. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, just something interesting. Rent a pull down screen or an actual theatre for a classic movie marathon. The movies don’t even have to be holiday themed.
Spirit, Spirit, Spirit
Even the greenest of grinches can’t help but crack a smile when decor is heavy. There is something about the lights, the fake snow, the shimmery glitter that gets people excited to sip peppermint drinks together. Any fixture you can add decorations to, add! Any chance you have to incorporate your theme, do it. Employees will appreciate and fawn over the effort and won’t mind if they leave with a few pieces of confetti on them.
A holiday party may be a tradition, but it doesn’t have to be traditional.