This Party Sucks! 6 Simple Ideas to Make Your Office Holiday Party More Fun

Tell me if you’ve experienced this.

You show up at your company’s holiday party full of enthusiasm and expectation. After taking one look around, however, you instinctively know that it’s going to be lame – and judging by the look on your coworker’s faces, they’re thinking the same thing.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. In my conversations with people attending our trivia parties and corporate team building events in New York City, it seems that every other person has an eye-rolling story about how totally uninspiring their last company holiday party was.

Which is, of course, an absolute shame.

Here are 6 simple ideas for making office holiday parties more enjoyable for your staff, senior management, and you, too:

1.         Plan an Activity – This seems so basic, yet you’d be surprised how many companies are content to just have people show up at a designated time and place, grab a beverage, scarf down some hors d’oeuvres and then go home. Lame! Make the event fun by planning an activity – at the very least, it will show your staff that you are mindful of their enjoyment at the event.

2.         Diversify the Food & Drink – This is an easy way to make an office holiday party fun. Speak with whoever is catering, and tell them you want VARIETY. Also, place emphasis on fun, unique appetizers, dishes, desserts and drinks which people will enjoy seeing, smelling and of course tasting.

3.         Set a Dress Code – Now before you freak out, just hear me: an office event automatically feels classier if everyone is dressed up a bit. If your company’s corporate culture is business casual, ask folks to wear cocktail attire; if business suits are already the norm, why not suggest a “festive” dress code, and encourage people to break out their special bow ties and sweater vests?

4.         Serve Alcohol – Not every company does, for reasons ranging from bad history to fear of lawsuits to not wanting people driving drunk to having too many underage college interns on the team. However, the truth is alcohol is a social lubricant, and if you want your staff to loosen up and actually enjoy themselves at the company holiday party, a little booze helps (please note, I do NOT advocate staff drinking to excess at holiday parties – I just think a little bit of alcohol, when served & consumed responsibly, can go a long way towards make people feel more comfortable).

5.         Give a Rousing Speech – The boss should take advantage of his/her “on-air time” during their toast to really fire people up. Don’t be meek or timid here, really get people’s blood pumping. Use humor (so long as you’re funny), make people feel great about themselves, and encourage them to have a great time. Set a relentlessly positive tone in your office holiday party speech, and your attendees will respond in kind.

6.         Give Away Tons of Free Stuff – Give people favors upon arrival & departure, hold a raffle – anything, really, you can think of, and your people will appreciate it. The more the better!

Assuming you’ve got the time to commit proper planning, there’s really no reason why your office holiday party should be lame. Can you think of any other ideas to help spice your staff party up this holiday season?

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