How to Celebrate Employee Christmas on a Budget

Oct 18, 2021 · Blog
Christmas tree with lights

There’s a lot to look forward to during the holiday season. The cosy nights in, the enchanting decorations, the presents, and not to mention all the different social gatherings, celebrations, and fun activities!


Wouldn’t it be great if it was all free? Now, that’s a new holiday tradition we could get behind!


We all know money is tight around Christmas and unfortunately, holiday parties and celebrations can end up costing a fortune for you and your employees. There’s the secret Santa, the food, the party – and let’s be real, office Christmas parties aren’t known for being a cheap night! Luckily, there are still plenty of great Christmas party ideas or corporate holiday themed events and activities you can organise for your employees that won’t break the bank.

Celebrating end of year accomplishments and having a workplace festive celebration is the perfect opportunity for employees to get to know each other and bond. This kind of stronger connection can contribute to how well they work together as a team while allowing them to let their hair down and take a break from work to help retain focus and morale when they return after Christmas.


Let’s start off by quickly reminding ourselves why company Christmas celebrations are important:

1.    They provide an opportunity to show gratitude – this is your chance to recognise your employees for all their hard work this year and say thank you with a fun, memorable Christmas gift or event.

2.    They motivate employees – ending the year on a high  office Christmas party or festive employee reward before going away for a seasonal holiday can really motivate team members ahead of the new year, making them excited and thankful as they come back ready to work

3.    Time to unwind – prioritising the health and wellbeing of your staff will have company wide benefits. Employees who are recognised and appreciated for their work with breaks and time to enjoy themselves without any pressure or potential stress often have a much better work-life balance which can contribute hugely to their productivity

4.    Reinforces company values – Show them that their work is valued at this company! It’s time to refresh employees on what your company stands for and deepen their understanding of the wider company beliefs, goals and values.

5.    Encourages loyalty – rewarding your workforce with tangible gifts or events reminds them of the positive workplace culture they work in. This can emphasise morale and team spirit and can present an environment that employees want to continue to work in.


You might find that your employees are even more eager for festive celebrations and seasonal joy this year after missing out on some of the fun last year, which could be pretty taxing on your recognition budget. How do you even celebrate Christmas on a budget?!


Don’t worry, there are actually a lot of great options if you want to make your money last and spread the costs of your holiday parties and Christmas celebrations this year. Your employees will also be facing additional winter costs themselves so there’s a huge chance they’ll embrace the money saving options this year too!


Here’s the best festive employee celebration ideas for when you’re on a budget


No party is without music!

A lot of us already have subscriptions or access to a streaming site already, so why not create a group playlist where everyone can add their favourite uplifting, dance-ready tunes to soundtrack your office party or virtual festive games night.

It’s worth investing in a decent set of speakers, but luckily you can get some at a reasonable price these days. They don’t take up much room and can come in handy for all your future events - and even 3pm on a Friday - when you want to get people out on the dance floor!


Eating and drinking

The festive holidays go hand in hand with indulging in the best food and drinks there are to offer, which can get pretty expensive if you aren’t keeping an eye on spending!

There are still plenty of options that will allow you to serve up delicious food to your employees, attendees, and clients though.


A great budget-friendly idea is to host an afternoon party with appetisers and small nibbles instead of the larger three-course dining experience your attendees might expect if you organise an evening or dinner-time meal. People will love this method because it allows them to try several different dishes instead of just the same one.

Another festive favourite that can rally up the team spirit and employee morale in the whole office is organising an office holiday potluck dinner. The idea of a potluck is that everybody brings a dish that they can share with the rest of the group. It’s a great opportunity for colleagues to learn from each other outside the workplace and strengthen their relationships. To host a potluck lunch or dinner you need to organise and provide everything your employees will need when they arrive such as plates, dishes, cutlery and glasses. Embrace the holiday season and get some Christmas themed napkins too!


Everyone knows that festive drinks can end up costing us all a fortune without us even realising it.

Supplying an entire party with a constant flow of drinks can completely drain your budget, leaving very little for other recognition or appreciation ideas. Instead, why not offer a deluxe signature Christmas cocktail/drink or two for your company’s holiday party? Your employees will still be excited about the evening and trying something new and the idea of a special drink will give the event a certain je ne sais quoi.

You could also host your own cocktail making class if you have any experienced or willing staff who’d like to share their cocktail making knowledge.



When event planning for your corporate holiday party or Christmas party ideas, you might be looking to do something different from the more traditional festive season events. Such parties are great, don’t get us wrong! But there are still loads of ideas to consider in your Christmas corporate event that can still celebrate the festive season and boost morale amongst employees.

So you want to move away from the traditional office party and throw a memorable event for your employees that will embrace the holiday spirit without breaking the bank. Celebrating Christmas isn’t always about the drinks, remember!

A great idea is to host or organise a festive fitness or wellness activity. Winter and Christmas specifically can be a really stressful time for employees, with added pressure coming from increased workload and social or expectations – it can be really difficult to  get the right work-life balance! Instead of adding another big cost to worry about, organising a sponsored walk, swim or cycle could be a great way to recognise your employees for their hard work with a fun social activity that also raises money for charity at the same time. Donating to charities is hugely rewarding and you would also be encouraging healthy habits during winter to help with the wellbeing of your employees through winter. Not to mention it would save money for the company that can go back into employee recognition throughout the rest of your year!

Some more fun Christmas activities that wouldn’t cost much include a friendly non-traditional tree contest. This fun light-hearted activity is a great team building activity for the entire office. Give teams the task of decorating a Christmas tree using items they find in the office or building and see how creative they get! Staff members will love interacting with each other and you’ll save money too.


Christmas doesn't have to cost a fortune, what matters is the time your employees can take a break from their usual working lives to spend time together and look forward to another great year. We hope our budget-friendly company holiday party ideas will help you show your staff the appreciation they deserve!


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