How to plan a unique staff Christmas party in 2019
What makes a Christmas party unique? Everyone’s views vary on what makes an event special to them because we have all experienced different events in the past that we are always going to compare them to. There are a few things though that people tend to remember from a staff party and in particular a Christmas party; these are usually the most unique elements which made it so memorable. So, here are our top tips:
Your Christmas party venue
There are a wealth of Christmas party venues in London available to host your Christmas event, from a table in a restaurant, a private room or a local hall or gallery, to palaces and the most famous museums in London. They will all have their style which will make them stand out from each other, but what will make your guests go ‘wow’ when they walk into the room? If you have been to somewhere modern and edgy in the past, perhaps try something a little more traditional and full of history? Many of the great venues around London are not venues first and foremost but a visitor attraction, museum or gallery. This often means that your guests can enjoy something interactive or interesting to view while they are having their reception drinks, which can also help break the ice if colleagues don’t know each other very well. Some of the more intimate venues can work well for smaller groups, allowing you to enjoy an exclusive Christmas party without feeling overwhelmed in the space.
Original or exciting entertainment can really change the dynamic of a Christmas party. So often the traditional DJ and disco is put in the party package as a safe option with the same songs and Christmas tunes year in, year out. No one ever seems to really enjoy this; there might be one or two songs that haven’t been heard since last year but why not do something a bit different? A small step but not a huge leap would be to have a live band. You can still include some of those songs that will expected to be heard but the live music experience will always be more exciting (don’t forget that a band will be louder than a disco, so if you have people who won’t enjoy any music, perhaps have a quieter area for them?) Entertainment at an event can be as imaginative as you are. Aerial acts, stage performances, roaming acts, interactive experiences or abstract fun; all can be arranged. Talk to one of the great entertainment agencies out there about the style and feel of your event you are going for as they will be able to advise you on what would work and the new talent that they have.
Do you want a traditional Christmas or a totally different theme for your event?
Some venues will theme themselves for the Christmas period which will allow you to buy into a themed space but without the cost of having to do it all for yourself. Don’t just think because the theme is advertised as such that it can’t be adapted. It can be very easy to add a couple of elements to make it a different feel altogether, enhancing the theme or changing it and reinterpreting it.
If you want to do something that is tailored and bespoke to you, then find yourself a blank space and let your imagination run riot. There are some great styling companies like TEHC that you can brief about your thoughts and desires, and they will put it all together for you.
A traditional theme can be lovely and doesn’t need to be cheesy with just tinsel and crackers. If you think about Dickensian Christmases, full of beautiful old items and decorations, it can turn into a lovely winter wonderland.
What are you going to serve guests to eat to impress them this festive time?
The traditional festive Christmas dinner of turkey and all the trimmings are very popular over Christmas, but is it what people really want or what we think they want? If you are looking to serve something unique to capture your guests’ imagination, why not move totally away from the formal three-course meal? The sit-down style works well if you have awards to give out or if you want some real quality time with specific people by sitting next to them through a dinner event. However, if it is a party event then a less formal style can work well. The comment we hear as organisers is that the guests might feel that they aren’t being treated as highly if they are standing rather than seated, but if you put in a selection of stylish food stations with design, styling and then some additional entertainment with the reduced catering costs, then your guests will feel perfectly looked after and well-treated. Food stations give your guests great choice and options so everyone can be happy and find something that they are going to enjoy.
It is Christmas after all, so the drinks options are going to be key. You will always need to have some staple drinks including bottled beers, red and white wine and soft drink options, but on top of that there are so many choices that can be added to make the event stand out. Beer choice is huge in most pubs and bars these days, so there can be a higher expectation from guests. Many great craft ales and beers can be bought for events, and although tastes vary hugely and you are unlikely to satisfy everyone’s specific favourites, a few different options will always go down well. Often sparkling wine is the drink that greets guests as they arrive, but how about a Christmas cocktail as well? Visually, cocktails are made to be colourful and bring an element of style to any event. These can always be made to the company colour if you wanted to keep on brand. A specific cocktail bar serving drinks throughout the event can be a great and indulgent touch for your guests. How about after your meal you offer a post-dinner cocktail of Espresso Martinis? These are so popular now and are a modern twist on offering a post-dinner drink which is traditionally Port, brandy or whisky.