7 Tips to Organising the Team Christmas Party

Organising the team Christmas party is a little different to organising the company-wide event. For starters, the guests attending are your immediate team mates. The people you work with day in and day out… They are people that you spend almost all of your waking hours with each week… And now you have to spend time socialising with them as well.
For some people this is not a problem – in fact, it’s a great excuse to let your hair down and have a great time with your colleagues who you actually get along with very well. They’re like-minded individuals who know how to have a good time (or at least they have the same idea as to what constitutes a good time as you). 
For others, organising the team Christmas party can be a delicate exercise in managing different personalities and preferences. Finding a solution that works for everyone can be a headache.

To help you avoid any party planning pitfalls, we’ve pulled together seven tips to help you organise the team Christmas party. Hopefully this will help you put together a fairly stress-free and fun event for everyone attending! 

1. Set A Realistic Budget

More often than not, the budget for the team Christmas party is not extravagant. Either there is a little cash thrown your way from the boss or people are paying their own way. 
Whatever the budget, be realistic before setting off in search for the ideal venue. $20/head doesn’t get you a lot these days (a large Big Mac Meal, three nuggets and a soft serve). So, if the boss is only contributing a little, consider asking guests to throw in a little too and you’ll all have a much better time. 

2. Long Lunch, Dinner Event or After Work Drinks?

Consider the following when deciding between a lunch, dinner or drinks event:
Lunch event:
  • A good idea if your business can spare your time away from the office – that includes the whole team, no one can be left behind to man the phones!
  • A good idea if a majority of your staff have young families or outside commitments that make attending evening events a little more difficult

Dinner event:
  • A good idea when your business cannot afford to have an empty office for the most part of a day.
  • A good idea if you’re a sociable bunch that doesn’t mind spending their own time with work colleagues.

After Work Drinks:
  • A good idea when your business cannot afford to have an empty office for the most part of a day. (Give the team an early mark if possible and consider starting drinks in the late afternoon). 
  • A good idea if you know your team members cannot all commit to a long evening out. Hosting drinks means that people can come for a little bit, before racing off to other commitments. And, the people who are keen for a night out, can continue on. 

3. Choosing A Suitable Menu

It’s likely that your team of 20 staff or even 5, all have different dietary requirements - so, make sure you take note of these before choosing a venue. 
Sharing style menus are great for creating a “communal” experience. These menus usually offer a variety of options for the table to share, but make sure you can accommodate all your guests before locking in this menu style.
If you have quite a few people with dietary requirements to accommodate, consider a set-menu with a few options for people to choose from or for small groups, an a la carte menu. 
Provide the venue with a list of your guest’s dietary requirements before the event date and ensure that at least one option on the menu is suitable for each person attending.
If you’re hosting drinks, make sure you have plenty of finger food to go around. Drinking at a work event is best served with food for RSA reasons.

4. Private, semi-private or in with the crowd?

Choosing between a private dining room, semi-private space or being in with the crowd may come down to budget. To save coin, being in with the crowd will be the most economical, but you can find some venues with semi-private or even private event spaces for no additional charge if you meet a minimum spend. 
You don’t necessarily need to find a private dining room - being close to others in the venue can give your event some instant atmosphere, which can be a good thing for some groups. Reserve the private event space for when you need to make speeches, presentations or have important conversations.

5. Searching For The Right Venue

By now we’ve established that your budget might be tight. We’ve also highlighted the type of event you’ll be hosting (lunch, dinner or drinks), along with the type of menu that would best suit your group… So, on to finding the best venue for your team Christmas party. Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Narrow your search down to restaurants, pubs and bars. Most have great group menus and many will have fantastic semi-private and private event spaces that you can book in advance.
  • Rule out venues with a venue hire fee – save your budget for food and beverages
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and family – where have then been lately that had good food and nice atmosphere?
  • Look for venues within close proximity to your office OR that are easily accessible by public transport (make it easy for guests to get to and from).
  • Search Event Birdie for venues – we’ve got plenty of great places in Sydney & Melbourne that would be perfect for group Christmas parties! 

6. Add Some Festive Cheer

Your team Christmas party should be fun, so add some festive cheer to get everyone in the mood. 
Here are some ideas:
  • Have everyone wear a Santa hat or reindeer ears
  • Put Bons Bons on the table 
  • Prepare silly games guests can play at the table or around the room
  • Award each staff member with a novelty award for their performance in the team (e.g. Mary gets the award for making the fastest coffee runs).
  • Arrange for a Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle) gift exchange. 

7. Send An Invite – Make it An Occasion!

To make the event feel like a special occasion, send each guest a personalised invitation, not just an Outlook Calendar appointment. By formally inviting guests you’ll find everyone will be more excited about attending. 

P.S. You may also like to read our Ultimate Party Season Survival Guide