Image of airplane on ground

Resources for Planning Unforgettable Company Holiday Parties

We get it. Your company holiday party isn’t all fun and games—not when you’re the one charged with all of the planning.

However, your corporate holiday party is a once-a-year opportunity to make progress on many of your essential HR goals. Done right, it’s the team-building activity of all team-building activities—a surefire way to build camaraderie and enhance your culture.

But how do you make it special, keep it simple—and keep your sanity, too?

Here’s how: by breaking it down into basic components and tackling them one-by-one, while leveraging available corporate event resources. Success is closer than you think!

Event Budgeting for Office Holiday Celebrations

The first step to company party organization is identifying your budget. Knowing your financial limits and anticipated headcount influences all of your party-planning decisions.

Here’s a shortcut to event budgeting: consider each element of your company holiday party—defined below—and rank them. Once you establish that delicious food matters more to your group than live entertainment, it simplifies your options.


Venue Selection Tips

Evaluating potential company holiday party venues can be daunting. To narrow the field, keep these factors in mind: 

  • Capacity - can the venue accommodate your group?
  • Location – is it an easy, convenient trip for employees?
  • Ambiance – does the venue hit the right note (say, formal vs. fun)?
  • Cost – how much of your budget will it consume—and what’s included?

 One of the best corporate event resources for venue hunting is as close as your go-to search engine. Simply key in “great company holiday party venues near me” or specify your city…and voilà!

Beyond traditional hotels/restaurants, consider less-conventional sites like microbreweries, galleries, community centers, or even barn rentals, an up-and-coming choice in some areas.

Company Holiday Party Themes & Activities

The liveliest corporate celebrations provide more than a meal—they offer an engaging theme, activities, and entertainment.

 Some venues come with a built-in theme. For example, take that barn rental. The perfect theme might be “Holiday Hoedown” (or, better yet, Ho-Ho-Ho Down), complete with country-themed holiday music and line dancing.

 Or, visit websites geared to event planners, such as Skift Meetings and Endless Events.

 When selecting corporate holiday party activities, look for those that encourage interaction—i.e., games and team-building activities—rather than spectator-based entertainment options. When your goal is to get employees laughing with one another, “carol karaoke” beats the best live band.


Menu Planning & Catering Services

Don’t be overwhelmed by menu planning. Follow these three tips instead. 

  • Choose tasty over fancy. Not only are buffets and food stations less expensive than formal dinners, but they also offer a built-in mingle factor. (Who doesn’t like to talk about food?) 
  • Be inclusive. Make sure there are options for vegans, vegetarians, and those with dietary restrictions. Most catering services are prepared for this.   
  • Some corporate holiday parties include adult beverages; others don’t. That’s up to you and your company’s alcohol policy. For event-budgeting purposes, consider limiting your bar menu to beer and wine or offering attendees a fixed number of drink tickets. Also: mocktails are an increasingly popular choice at corporate events.


Party Decoration Ideas

A few themed party decorations will set the scene for a festive, upbeat event. Beyond your local party store, find creative inspiration on websites like Pinterest and Etsy.  

 If your company is committed to sustainability, consider environmentally-friendly décor options—say, switching out balloons for recycled/recyclable paper lanterns. Consider natural centerpieces like greenery or seasonal flowers and offer them as take-home prizes to lucky attendees.

Corporate Holiday Party Invitations

Eye-catching party invitations will go a long way toward driving good attendance. If you have a graphic designer in your ranks, ask them to lend their talents. Or, websites like Canva and Adobe offer a treasure trove of free party invitation templates that look great and are easy to customize.  

Whether you create digital or paper invitations (or both!), practice good RSVP management by setting a firm deadline date. Tip: asking employees to respond to a well-timed RSVP email helps ensure a good response.

Make This Year’s Holiday Party One for the Books

Arranging an unforgettable company holiday party doesn’t need to be a Herculean effort. With a little creativity, a proven game plan, and some solid corporate event resources, you can plan a corporate event that your employees will talk about for months to come.

 For more ideas on holiday team-building fun, read our companion blog, How to Support Inclusive Office Holiday Celebrations.  

Want to keep up with new content in our library? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Group Wateringflowers

See how Namely's flexible solution will help you streamline your HR processes by having your people, payroll, and benefits info all in on place.

Get a demo

Get the latest news from Namely about HR, Payroll, and Benefits.

CTA Image Rocket
CTA Image Mobile