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Work Christmas Parties

By: Kelly-Rose Bradford - Updated: 7 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Christmas Work Parties Work-mates

Even if your boss puts Scrooge to shame there’s still some fab ways to throw the Christmas works party to end all Christmas works parties - er, not literally of course - the last thing you want is the old miser saying ‘no’ next year!


Gather the troops - and that includes Scrooge himself - and start planning early. See what’s on offer financially from on high - they might even surprise you and have some fun filled event in mind already, but if they don’t, you need to get a few ideas thrown into the ring. Good starting blocks could be:

  • Local ‘bring your festive party to ours’ events
  • Lunch time Christmas meal followed by evening drinks
  • Theme night at a local venue
  • Dinner and dance at a hotel

Get prices and menus for every option you moot, and choose the most practical in terms of cost, location, value for money and appropriateness to your workforce.

Who to Invite

One of the major bones of contention come the work Christmas party season is guests…they’ll always be someone who insists their wife must come along, and, in the other corner, usually with a glint in their eye, an equally emphatic ‘no spouses allowed’ campaigner. At the end of the day, you’re not going to please all of the people all of the time, but it’s a decision that has to be made early on in the planning and stuck to.

The Build Up

Often, the build up to a big event is more fun than the actual main attraction! Keep your work-mates in the loop with regular updates on the planning and distribute menus and venue information well in advance. Organise a car pool or book taxis, and check out reasonably priced overnight accommodation for colleagues who live further afield.

Plan some ice breakers for the night itself - not everyone will know each other socially, and conversations can be stilted, awkward or even non existent. If Dan in technical support has only ever seen Sally in HR on the day he started work, small talk is unlikely to be particularly flowing if they’re sat next to each other on the night!

If your event consists of a sit down dinner, you can encourage conversation by getting people to move to their left between courses with the sole intention of making small talk, or announce a ‘speed dating’ type scenario, where everyone has to talk to someone they’ve not met properly before for two minutes. For a dinner dance, or even just a disco, you could have a ‘hat’ for people to pull the names of random dance partners from, or organise a Secret Santa in the weeks leading up to the party and distribute the gifts on the night.

The Big Night

A kind and considerate boss will let the work force off a few hours early on the day of the party, so everyone can go home to get ready. If this is not practical, set aside an area where people can hang their party clothes, thus avoiding desks and partitions becoming impromptu clothes rails for the whole day. Even implement a wash-room rota if you know they’ll be one complete diva hogging the mirror and plug socket with her straighteners for hours on end!

Considerations for Employees under 18

Keep in mind that your employees and work-mates under 18 will not be able to purchase alcohol, and should not have it purchased for them in many types of licensed venues - this could have a bearing on your choice of event. (The rules are: No person may buy or attempt to buy intoxicating liquor for consumption in a bar by a person under the age of 18. Maximum fine £1,000.) Although under 16s can consume, at the licensees discretion, alcohol bought by a parent or guardian as long as it is with a meal and 16 and 17 year old can drink beer, port, cider or perry in an eating area on licensed premises as long as it is with a meal.

Have fun!

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