8 Tips for Planning a Company Holiday Party

The holidays are upon practically upon us.


Even though it’s tempting to get lost in a pumpkin spice world and forget all about the visions of sugarplums just around the corner, there’s no time like the present to start planning your celebrations for the most wonderful time of the year.


If you’re a business owner or manager, the holidays are a great time to show a little extra appreciation for your staff. Whether you are planning a holiday get-together for 20, 50 or even more, here are a few helpful tips to ensure your party makes the nice list.

1.  Book Your Venue ASAP.

Make sure you book your venue in plenty of time. Nothing can put a damper on your event faster than having no place to celebrate.


Unless you want to end up eating cocktail sausages from a crockpot in your conference room, go ahead and get your company’s name on the list at a fun location.

2.  Be Aware of Your Budget.

It’s better to have a budget amount in mind before you start planning your event. Otherwise, you may get your heart set on something that is priced astronomically higher than you expected.


If you can find an all-inclusive option, you’ll be able to worry less about the financial aspect and focus more of the team-building and appreciation aspect. Look for ways to combine food, fun and conversation, and to be able to do it without a lot of worry over extra add-ons or upgrades that might be required to make the event a success.

3.  Find Festivity-Friendly Food.

Choose food that doesn’t require a drop cloth to consume. As an example, clam chowder may certainly be delicious, but it may not be the most group-friendly option if lively conversation and mingling is also on the menu for your guests.


Try to pick simple, tasty options that are easy to serve and consume. A buffet can be a great way to allow people to come and go if other activities like bowling or arcade games are involved.


And, buffets make it easier to accommodate dietary restrictions, by ensuring there are multiple options available to suit everyone.

4.  Make It Easy for Everyone to Connect.

If you’re blending teams that don’t work together frequently, you may want to consider nametags. After all, nothing can kill a good holiday buzz like forgetting a coworker’s name when they remember yours.


Nametags can also be used for more than just proclaiming your identity to the world try some of these uses, including:

  • Using name tags as a way to assign tables or buffet order without having to create an additional seating chart
  • Putting a fun icebreaker fact on the tags (favorite 90s sitcom, favorite band, which Friends character they identify with)
  • Grouping people into teams for fun party activities like laser tag or bowling (use different color name tags or put a sticker on them to differentiate between groups)

5.  Consider Doing It During The Work Day.

The holiday season tends to book up fast and can be especially stressful for families with young children, because every extra evening event means the expense of a babysitter. You don’t want to plan a party that actually costs your employees money and adds to their stress level.


Depending on the type of business you’re running, you may have the opportunity to be flexible with your schedule, and it might be a wonderful holiday surprise if you gave your team members the gift of an afternoon of fun rather than expecting their presence at an evening event.


As an added bonus, many locations may be less crowded and more flexible during the day. At Sonny’s Place, corporate event options are available from noon to 4 p.m., or from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

6.  Give People the Opportunity to Get Out Of Their Comfort Zone.

It’s fun to see your coworkers in a different light, and one of the best ways to do that is by letting their playful side shine through. While you don’t want to force people to do something they’re uncomfortable with, your team members may be able to find ways to build camaraderie and connection at an unusual event.


Instead of the typical happy hour or potluck or white elephant party, give them the chance to do something competitive or cooperative.


For the most outgoing, laser tag can be a great way to get your adrenaline pumping and lose your shyness quickly. If you have a team of people who are more reserved, try putting them in an arcade and having them match up against each other for Pac-Man. They’ll act like kids again!

7.  Consider Making It A Mystery.

One of the most fun ways to treat your team can be to tell them they’re going to a super-boring meeting, then take them out to a fun event instead.


One caveat – if you work somewhere where you dress formally, you may want to give them a heads up, at least enough to bring a change of clothes along, or time to run home and change before the big event.

8.  Decide Whether to Imbibe.

Having alcoholic beverages available can add some extra festivity and fun to your event, so you may want to consider whether a bar would be a good addition to your celebrations.


Decide far in advance of your event whether alcohol will be involved, because this addition can have an impact on your schedule and your budget. Then, check with a couple of resources to see what needs to be done to make it a safe option.


  • Your venue will let you know whether alcohol is available (at Sonny’s Place, there’s a full bar option in the party pavilion).
  • Depending on your event timing and guest list, you may want to check with your HR team about whether employees should be on or off the clock to enjoy a festive holiday cocktail.


The holidays can be a stressful time, but that doesn’t mean your event planning has to be. Giving yourself enough time to find a great venue and keeping the comfort of your guests in mind are two things every great event has in common.


We hope you jingle all the way to a party that has guests raving about it through the New Year!