This holiday season, you can celebrate with your colleagues and friends in an unforgettable way. Whether you’re planning a corporate holiday party, office get-together, or community event, it’s the perfect time of year for a celebration.
A holiday party can be a great way to show appreciation for everyone’s hard work this past year or honor those in the community. But with so many options out there, where do you start?
We have compiled some helpful tips on how to plan an unforgettable event that will keep your team motivated and excited about finishing 2021 and starting 2022.
Holiday Event Planning Tips for a Memorable Celebration
1. Ask for feedback on your holiday event ideas
When planning a holiday party, allow your team to provide feedback on ideas. Their input may make all the difference in the success of your event. By soliciting their opinions, they will feel more included and invested in your final decision-making process.
You may want to get their feedback on the following:
☐ Venue/Room Setup – Where should we meet? What about a company retreat or hotel meeting room? A restaurant or theater space? Or maybe the park?! It’s entirely up to you and your team. Holding your party at a local venue will give it more of an informal, casual atmosphere.
☐ Type of Event – Do we want a formal event or a casual get-together? A formal dinner will attract more people, but it might be harder to plan (and more expensive). At the same time, maybe you do not want the hassle of catering and coordinating with servers. You may want to keep things simple and go for an icebreaker event such as a holiday happy hour.
☐ Logistics – How will we get there? Where should we park? Will we need to pay for parking and valet service? These details seem minor, but they can also be major points to consider. By consulting with your team about logistics, it allows everyone to attend and increases attendance rates.
2. Break up your holiday event planning tasks
Break up tasks between different teams. Working together will make the process easier and more efficient. But to make sure nothing is missed, all team members should report back to the chairperson who communicates directly with the venue.
Here are things you should consider parsing out :
☐ Chairperson – This person should communicate with the reception or party venue and oversee all of the event’s details. They will need to make sure everyone on the team is informed and working towards a common goal.
☐ RSVP team – The main task of this team is to invite all members of the company, office employees, and community members. This can be done via email, or if you are feeling creative, you may even create a fun, festive event website that people will enjoy visiting, depending on the size of the guest list.
☐ Menu – You need a food and beverage plan. This can be a group effort or a task that a team member takes on.
☐ Clean-up – It’s the day after your event, so someone has to be responsible for collecting all signs and decorations.
3. Plan your holiday party early
You’ll have more time to arrange everything from the venue to food choices by planning your holiday event early.
Some examples are:
☐ Location – Securing an appropriate venue guarantees you’ll be able to celebrate on the day and time that works best for your team.
☐ Food – What kind of food? How will it be served?
☐ Invitations – Will you mail out invitations or send an email blast to your guests? If sending paper invitations, have they been mailed yet?
☐ RSVP – Have you sent your guests a way to communicate their attendance (a link or online form)? What is the deadline for responses?
☐ Entertainment – Will there be entertainment? Who is the performer or presenter you’ve invited?
Of course, working with an on-site planner will help with all the nuts and bolts of planning a successful event. Our staff at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center is well-trained in planning events, and we are there to help you every step of the way. Contact us here to learn more.
4. Celebrate for a cause
You’ve heard the saying before: “It’s better to give than receive!” Helping others will go a long way in creating a positive impact on our community while at the same time creating a memorable event that leaves people talking about their holiday party for years to come. Your team will certainly appreciate this gesture from you and may even want to get involved.
Some ideas for incorporating a cause into your celebrations include :
☐ Collecting donations – Ask your guests to bring donations of food, clothing, or toys for local charities.
☐ Fundraising – Plan a fundraising event where the money raised goes directly to a charity.
☐ Volunteering time – Before planning an event, research local non-profit groups and see if they’d like additional support. Partner with them before the holidays and make it fun for volunteers AND recipients. Invite key stakeholders to your holiday event and allow them to speak with attendees about their non-profit work.
5. Plan festive activities for your holiday event
Whether you are hosting a holiday happy hour or a formal dinner, have an activity or mission that your team can work on together for the event. A fun icebreaker activity will help generate conversation and break the ice between colleagues who do not know each other well. Plus, it gives your guests something fun to do while they wait for all of their food and drinks!
Here are some examples:
☐ Holiday Decorating Contest – Have everyone decorate their name tags using holiday jingles or other festive items/materials (i.e., putting candy canes in hair). Then vote on contestants by having guests write down the names of people they would like to vote. Award a prize to the winner!
☐ Secret Santa – Exchange name tags with your team members to buy gifts for one another. Odd number of people? Arrange an even swap with somebody else in the company or outside of work.
☐ Group Drawings/Photo Booth – Set up a designated area where guests can take silly pictures together and get photos printed on-site. These photo booth moments are always fun, memorable and will surely get laughs from everyone involved.
☐ Santa Says – When Santa says “Ho ho ho!” you must say “Hey!” and so on…the next person must replicate the last person’s statement and so forth!
☐ Christmas Carolers – Line up your team members and have them sing a Christmas carol together. You can choose to vote for your favorite “caroler” by using stickers or just simply clapping!
☐ Best Photo – Have everyone snap pictures throughout the night. At the end of the event, have folks share their favorite snaps. At the end of the night, choose one photo that you feel is your favorite and share it on social media for votes.
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6. Distribute unofficial awards
We cannot forget some key points: thank your team members for working hard, having fun, and putting in the time to make this company work. Awards can range from serious to silly.
A few ideas include:
☐ Best Attitude – Mention someone’s positive spirit and great sense of humor. Let them know they inspire you.
☐ Most Recognized Employee Award – Who among your staff or management receives continuous praise? Recognize individuals who were acknowledged the most on a monthly and annual basis. Consider giving out each team, department, and company’s most famous employee prize.
☐ Best Zoomer – Have an excellent Zoom participant or leader or leader of virtual meetings? Highlight them.
☐ Keeping Us Safe Award – Have a team member who keeps everyone stocked up on sanitizer? Reward them with a year’s supply!
7. Have fun!
Since the holidays are meant for everyone to enjoy themselves, don’t forget about party favors or decorations–it’s an easy way to add a personal touch.
The holiday season can be an excellent time for companies to get together and celebrate their successes. And, no matter if you’re planning your event at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center or somewhere else, it’s essential not to overlook the planning process, as this is an opportunity that will yield memorable moments if done correctly.
Our staff are pros at helping plan events that your entire team will look forward to and appreciate. Reach out to us to plan your holiday party on the beautiful Virginia Tech campus.