How to Plan a Last-Minute Office Christmas Party

How to Plan a Last-Minute Office Christmas Party

Last Updated on December 12, 2023

Still not planned a work’s Christmas do this year? You’re not alone. With the cost of living crisis and all the economic uncertainty that has cast a cloud over 2022, a lot of workplaces have held off making plans. But there is nothing to worry about. We will give you some great tips to plan a last-minute office Christmas party.

As they battle to control costs, a lot of businesses will have had to review whether they can afford to subsidise a Christmas get together. And among staff, there’s likely to have been a lot of doubt about whether you’d get the numbers to make a paid-for Christmas meal or party viable.

Everyone has plenty of other things to spend their money on at this time of year, after all. When we’re all having to watch our wallets, it’s things like work events that will be cut out first.

But on the other hand, after two years of COVID restrictions, a lot of people will feel Christmas 2022 is the perfect time to put our collective worries aside and let our hair down again. It’s been a long time coming, after all.

And now that so many of us are working from home a lot of the time, there is an argument that work social events are more important than ever. If colleagues aren’t seeing much of each other day to day, maintaining the team bond and morale becomes more of a challenge. 

You might be reading this thinking, but that’s all well and good. It would be great to get everyone together in one place purely to enjoy each other’s company. But this close to Christmas, surely we’ve missed the boat? Won’t all restaurants and venues be fully booked by now? Have we even got time to arrange anything?

As they say, where there is a will, there is a way. If you’ve been prevaricating on having a Christmas do for various reasons but are warming to the idea now things are starting to feel festive, never fear. There is still time to arrange a memorable bash that will raise everyone’s spirits at the end of another trying year. Here’s how.

Planning a last-minute office Christmas party is possible with some careful planning and a bit of creativity. It doesn’t need to be stressful if you follow these some steps to plan a successful last-minute office Christmas party:

1. Determine your budget

Determine how much money you have available for the party and stick to it. This will help you make decisions about the venue, menu, drinks, entertainment and decoration.

2. Set a date first

The key with last-minute arrangements is to keep things simple. If you use your own premises, you don’t have the challenge of trying to sync people’s diaries with what’s available at short notice. You can ask around to find out when colleagues are free and just go for the most popular date. 

Base your final decision on what to do on confirmed numbers. If it looks like only a handful of colleagues can make any particular date, then your best bet is likely to be a more straightforward night out at a bar or restaurant. Or, for a bit of variety, consider an activity like ten-pin bowling or an escape room.

If you have got more party-sized numbers confirmed, then see what the consensus is. A more informal bring-snacks-and-a-bottle type event doesn’t tie people down just in case they end up not being able to make it. But if everyone is up for something a bit more swish, don’t be put off thinking catering sounds like too much hard work.

3. Choose a venue

If you don’t have a lot of time, it’s best to choose a venue that is easy to access and has availability on short notice. Some options could be a a local restaurant or bar, or even a private event space. But, if you have one, you may also want to consider hosting the party in the office.

The office – remember that place? Where we all used to gather to do our jobs way back in the mists of time before work-from-home was a thing?

A lot of offices aren’t getting as much use as they once were, which is leading to a lot of businesses having serious discussions about the size and cost of their premises. Quite understandably, no one wants to pay for office space they don’t use.

But by the same logic, while you have got that space, you might as well put it to good use. And what better way than to hold a Christmas party there?

At one time, an ‘office party’ did literally mean a ‘party in the office’ for many companies. But over time, the trend has moved towards booking external venues, most likely because it’s just seen as easier to go somewhere where food, drink and entertainment are all taken care of.

But in the current climate, there is a lot to be said for revisiting the idea of hosting parties in your own premises. And even more so this close to Christmas – you don’t have to worry about places being booked up at short notice.

Throwing an in-office party is also a great option if you want to keep a lid on costs. With no venue hire to worry about, you can be as flexible as you like with your budget. Remember, ‘party’ doesn’t have to mean some great big extravaganza. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things very simple – drinks and nibbles, maybe a bit of music and a few games. After all, the main purpose is to bring people together to share a little festive cheer.

4. Plan the menu

If you want to throw a Christmas meal, hiring in catering will work out no more expensive than one of the big venue packages or booking a restaurant. You also get the benefit of a more intimate, private atmosphere. At Humdingers our festive sharing menu is available for parties of 16 people upwards – you don’t have to be a giant office to get the benefit of outside catering for your party.

You will also need to consider the dietary restrictions and preferences of your guests when planning the menu. If you’re hosting the party at a restaurant or bar, you can choose from their available menu options. If you’re hosting the party at your office, you can hire a catering company or ask employees to bring potluck dishes.

Here are some ideas for a delicious and festive menu for your office Christmas party:

  • Appetizers: Consider serving a variety of small bites such as cheese and crackers, bruschetta, mini quiches, or crostini.
  • Main dishes: Some options for main dishes could be a holiday ham, roast beef, turkey, or lasagna. You could also consider serving a variety of soups, stews, or chili for a heartier meal.
  • Side dishes: Some side dish ideas could be mashed potatoes, roast vegetables, stuffing, or cranberry sauce.
  • Desserts: No Christmas party is complete without a selection of sweet treats! Consider serving a variety of cookies, cakes, and other desserts such as peppermint bark, gingerbread houses, or fruitcake.
  • Beverages: Offer a variety of hot and cold drinks such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and eggnog. You could also serve a selection of cocktails or wine for those who are interested.

5. Invite your guests

Make a list of everyone you want to invite and send out the invitations as soon as possible. You can design the invitations manually or using an online invitation service or sending out an email to make the process quick and easy. Asking all guests to confirm their assistance by an specific date will help you organize the

6. Organize the entertainment

Consider what kind of activities and entertainment your guests will enjoy. Some ideas for entertaining activities that you can include in your office Christmas party:

  • Music: Consider hiring a DJ or live band to provide music for the party. You could also create a playlist of holiday music to play in the background.
  • Games: Set up a variety of holiday-themed games such as a gingerbread house decorating contest, a “Name That Holiday Song” game, or a gift wrapping competition.
  • Photo booth: Set up a photo booth with holiday props and decorations for guests to take fun holiday photos.
  • White elephant gift exchange: Set up a white elephant gift exchange where each guest brings a wrapped gift and the gifts are randomly assigned to each guest.
  • Secret Santa: Organize a Secret Santa gift exchange where each guest is assigned another guest to buy a gift for.
  • Karaoke: Set up a karaoke station where guests can sing their favorite holiday tunes.
  • Movie night: Consider setting up a movie night with holiday-themed films such as “A Christmas Carol,” “Elf,” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
  • Craft station: Set up a craft station with holiday-themed crafts such as ornament making or wreath decorating.

Remember to consider the interests and preferences of your guests when planning the entertainment for your office Christmas party.

7. Decorate

Don’t forget to add some festive touches to the party space. To create a festive atmosphere here are some ideas for festive decorations that you can use to decorate your office for a Christmas party:

  • Twinkling lights: Hang twinkling lights around the room to create a warm and cozy atmosphere.
  • Garlands: Hang garlands of greenery and holiday lights around the room for a festive touch.
  • Wreaths: Hang wreaths on the walls or doors for a traditional holiday look.
  • Ornaments: Hang ornaments from the ceiling or on the walls to add a pop of color to the room.
  • Centerpieces: Create holiday-themed centerpieces using items such as pinecones, red and green candles, and holiday ribbon.
  • Stockings: Hang stockings on the mantel or along a wall for a festive touch.
  • Christmas tree: Set up a small Christmas tree and decorate it with ornaments and lights.
  • Holiday-themed balloons: Fill the room with holiday-themed balloons in red, green, and white.

Remember to consider the size of the room and the number of guests when decorating. It’s important to strike a balance between enough decorations to create a festive atmosphere but not so many that the space feels cluttered.

8. Consider any special needs

If you have guests with special needs, such as mobility issues or food allergies, be sure to accommodate their needs. Make sure the venue is accessible and that there are options available for guests with dietary restrictions.

By following these steps, you can plan a last-minute office Christmas party that is sure to be a hit with your coworkers.

You may also like:

How to Plan a Dinner Party Menu

5 Tips for Hosting An Epic Wine Tasting Party with Friends

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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