What did Christmas look like at work for you last year? Did you scrap the festivities all together or did you make the best of a tricky situation and organise a virtual event?
Whatever you did last year might have put you off the whole ordeal entirely! Making the best of a bad situation can take a lot of time, effort, energy and more often than not, money. That’s when we step in – it’s time to inject the joy back into the festive season, and remind ourselves of all the reasons why we should be thinking about organising a Christmas party this year.
The importance of a work Christmas Party
Let’s think about why anyone has parties in the first place. They’re an opportunity to meet people, spend time with friends and most importantly, relax. Christmas parties offer all of this with even more benefits just for good measure!
Hosting an office party to celebrate the festivities can play a huge role in how your employees feel about their overall work experience. It’s a great chance for them to strengthen relationships with their co-workers, build morale and improve the overall team cohesion. Having time to interact with the team outside of office hours can help create a positive work culture, which will have fantastic benefits for employee wellbeing.
Another thing to consider is how hosting a festive holiday party is a way of showing gratitude to your employees for all their hard work and dedication. Recognising your employees and offering fun rewards can help encourage, support and value their work within your team.
If you aren’t recognising your employees, what are you doing?!
Pulling off a traditional office Christmas party like we might have done a few years ago unfortunately isn’t really on the cards, but we believe that with a little creativity and tweaking you can still host a memorable and enjoyable Christmas office party that is safe and most importantly FUN!
So, let’s get stuck in with our advice on how to host a fun, engaging office Christmas party in 2021.
How do you organise a corporate Christmas party in 2021?
Assign a Christmas party committee
Depending on how large your company is, organising a planning committee for your festive work party could be a fantastic way to involve employees in the fun at the same time as sharing out the planning tasks throughout the festive period. The seasonal magic starts right here!
There’s a high chance you’ll be able to find some big time festive fans in your office, so why not ask if anyone would like to join a small committee to plan and organise this year’s event. Not only is this sort of involvement a great reward, morale booster and a chance to be included in the creative input of the event, it also makes the whole process easier for you.
Together, you’ll be able to create an incredible memorable event that can bring the whole team together to celebrate another great year!
Choose if you would like an in-person or virtual event
The last few years have transformed the world of work with more people working with flexible and remote working practices in place. According to the Office for National Statistics, in April 2020, almost half of the people in employment worked from home for some time. Now, in 2021, one in five workers in the UK want to work from home all the time.
A lot of you probably opted for a virtual festive holiday event, and it might have been a great success! No worries if it wasn’t though, putting together your first virtual event is tricky. This year, make sure you’re considering what your company’s current policy is on group gatherings. Do you still have most of your employees working at home? Are your staff in the office two days a week, but still with masks and social distancing in place? However, your company guidelines should determine how you plan your festive holiday event this year.
There’s still time to get organised for either event now, but it might be worth preparing for last minute changes and be ready to offer an alternative appreciation reward if, and we hope you don’t, but if you must cancel your plans last minute 💔
Decide when and where
Some of us might be planning on making up for last year’s missed social events and gatherings so our diary’s might fill up even quicker than usual this year!
If you already know you’re having a virtual event, it’s time to decide when it will be best to host the celebrations. You probably have a bit more flexibility over the day of the week without the need to reserve or book anything but keep in mind time differences if you’re working with a global team. Make sure you link the event in an email where it’s obvious and easily accessible.
In-person events might require some advance planning so you can get the reservations you want and have plenty of time to send out invitations or organise around the event. A weekday evening might be easier for more people to attend or why not offer a lunch hour Christmas party with the added bonus of the afternoon off!
Make sure you give your attendees plenty of notice with clear and timely invitations. They’ll need to know the date, time, directions and even attire if you’ve gone for a theme or specific activity.
Ok, so now you’re ready to get stuck in with the comeback office Christmas party that everyone will be talking about for MONTHS after! Let’s begin with Christmas party ideas for a remote office Christmas.
Top 10 social-distancing friendly festive virtual events
1. Online cocktail making class
Nothing quite says Christmas spirit like a delicious cocktail! Cocktail making classes are a tried and tested Christmas gathering event and always prove to be popular and the beauty of them is, you can easily do them online.
Becoming a master of mixology from the comfort of your home sounds great doesn’t it?! During lockdown, while we powered through several Zoom quizzes, companies were busy making sure there were plenty of ways to enjoy the activities we loved in an online format, and cocktail making is one of the most successful ones!
2. Virtual wine tasting
Another Christmas party favourite!
We love Christmas themed virtual events that invite guests to learn something new while they enjoy the socialising and the drinks! Show off your newly acquired wine knowledge with friends and family over the holiday and get to celebrate with your remote teams in a fun and relaxed way!
Thirty Fifty offers virtual wine tasting events that take place over zoom as a great way for teams or clients to get together for an activity outside of work and see each other socially online! There’s options for non-alcoholic drinks to be inclusive of everyone’s preference and you could even chuck in Lindt chocolates – that perfectly match with the dessert wine!
3. Online Holiday Bingo
Most of us have played bingo before, so this game is familiar and easier to turn into festive themed!
You could create your own bingo card or find one that you think would be fun online! Depending on the size of your team you could do this in one big team where employees can interact and chat with one another or in breakout rooms as part of the whole party.
Why not throw in a prize or reward for the winner?
4. Virtual Christmas Movie trivia
This is the perfect activity for having some fun and can make a fantastic event to allow all your coworkers and employees to enjoy the festive atmosphere and team spirit!
Everyone’s played charades before, and it can be a great ice breaker to get your virtual Christmas party really started and get everyone involved in the festive fun! This is another game that could be done in groups or every man for themselves.
You could add another fun aspect by getting the team to dress up as their favourite Christmas movies character. This can create a real buzz for the event and the element of surprise means the group are more engaged ahead of the big day too!
5. Online festive cooking class
This is another idea for your employees who love to learn at their work Christmas event!
This one is especially useful ahead of Christmas with family members that we may have missed out on last year! You could book a professional holiday cooking class, with loads of delicious and exciting courses to choose from, or you could make it even more personal by seeing if anyone would like to share their favourite festive recipes!
Ask who would be interested in hosting their own online cooking class ahead of your event and encourage them to share their knowledge! This is a great opportunity for employees to get to know one another better while they get ready for the holiday season and get to enjoy the work Christmas party.
In-person office ideas to spice up your Christmas party
1. Let there be lights!
Work Christmas party ideas need all the details!
This must mean organising fun, shimmering bright lights and office Christmas decorations to really get the whole team embracing the holiday spirit.
A study by workplace interior landscaping company Ambius found 85% of employees agreed that Christmas décor had a positive impact on their mood whilst they were at work. What’s more interesting is that nine out of ten UK office managers and business owners said they believe festive décor had a positive impact on employee wellbeing.
2. Themed secret Santa
Give this classic festive activity a twist this year and introduce a theme for your office Christmas secret Santa`exchange.
A lot of us still love exchanging presents and getting together during the work Christmas party to share our gifts around, but it’s still daunting trying to buy something for colleagues who we’re still getting to know.
Adding a theme or rules to your gifting experience make it a little bit easier! Get creative with them and try to make it align with your company's goals and values, to bring employees together to celebrate the year while reminding them of the bigger picture. After you’ve set a spending limit, rules could include:
- Gifts from charity shops
- Edible gifts
- Homemade gifts
3. Christmas party playlist
There’s no party without music!
A great way to get everyone involved and excited ahead of your in-person Christmas event is to open a public playlist on Spotify or another shared streaming platform where employees and team members can add in their favourite holiday songs!
4. Christmas lights street tour
The streets are always filled with wonderful extravagant Christmas lights and decorations, and this is the perfect way to have a Christmas party and celebrate together in-person while staying outside!
Get everyone to wrap up warm if you’re walking and make an evening of wandering around and taking in all the festive atmosphere. You could even provide some snacks, like mulled wine or mince pies. If you don’t feel like providing the snacks yourself, arrange that the walking tour ends at the Christmas market or local pub for takeaway beverages.
5. Holiday award ceremony dinner
Light-hearted award ceremonies are a great way to share praise and appreciation for employees after all their hard work and dedication throughout the last year.
For this one, you could either host one yourself or make a reservation at a function room or venue depending on your company size. Make sure you include some funny ones as well as congratulating the employees who have earned their award for their company achievements so that everyone can be included in the ceremony.
With these Christmas party ideas, you have no excuse! It's time to get creative and put on an incredible office Christmas party that you and your team will enjoy.