It’s that time of year again:  it is officially office holiday party planning season! If you’re the lucky employee in charge of planning this year’s festivities, here are some eye-opening stats that could throw a wrench in your party planning plans:

What gives? Are your co-workers just a bunch of grinches or is it that company holiday parties of the past haven’t been very merry? We think it’s the latter – despite those bah-humbug type feelings, 54% of workers actually enjoy holiday spirit in the workplace and attribute a happier workplace environment to the holiday season.  So, how can you ensure you’re planning a company holiday party that celebrates the year’s success, shows gratitude to employees, and is just good old-fashioned fun? By using our handy dandy company holiday party planning checklist of course!

  1. Pick a Theme: Whether it’s an ugly sweater party or a Winter Wonderland, parties become more fun when everyone is all in on a theme. Plus, a unifying theme will make it much easier to think of fun décor ideas. The possibilities are endless – just make sure your theme won’t set off alarm bells in the HR department!
  2. Decide on a Date: Obviously, you need to pick a day and time for your company event – but there’s more to it than simply choosing a random day on the calendar. If your office has a lot of staff, then a quick lunch hour potluck won’t be enough (plus, some employees may be stuck in meetings and unable to attend). If the company is looking for a bigger event, then finding a venue with holiday party availability may be tough – especially on Fridays.  Mid-week parties are a great way to cut costs AND encourage employees to drink responsibly (if you’re serving alcohol). Another thing to keep in mind: time of year.  If you aren’t doing a Christmas-specific theme, January prices may be cheaper than early-mid December.
  3. Embrace the Spirit of Giving: Hand out fun gifts or door prizes that will get employees excited. From gift cards to gadgets, unexpected gifts are a great way to show appreciation for a job well done.  If your budget doesn’t have room for physical gifts, never underestimate the power of adding a few vacation days to the calendar!
  4. Don’t Skimp on the Entertainment: Music is a key part of any event and there’s nothing worse than a terrible DJ! Hiring good entertainment will take your company party from run of the mill to the next level. Do your research, explore your options, and make booking your entertainment one of the first things you do – live entertainment can book up quickly during the holiday season.
  5. Get a Photo Booth: People LOVE photo booths – and they love having a keepsake to remember a fun night. Use a festive backdrop and provide fun holiday-inspired props to encourage employees to let their hair down and get silly!

When done right, a company party not only celebrates its employees, it boosts morale, keeps employees engaged, and builds relationships.  The best holiday parties are ones that fit the company culture and leave employees happy and feeling appreciated – regardless of budget or company size!