Inspiration Blog

How to Plan an Unforgettable Office Holiday Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Office holiday parties are an occasion for uniting staff, showing appreciation, and celebrating the year's success and looking forward to the future. Still, orchestrating such an event calls for coordination and planning, not to mention vision and creativity. That said, set yourself up for success by doing the following…

Getting started

Will the celebration be a dinner engagement or more of a lunchtime affair? Dinner parties are usually on the weekends, while lunch parties are usually during the week and often take place during business hours. Keep in mind luncheons tend to be a budget-friendly, while evening parties can mean higher costs but can feel higher end.  Once you have determined these variables, you can pick a date or dates to run by the venue.

Holiday Party at Notre Dame
1842 Club University of Notre Dame

Location, location, location!

Speaking of venue, certain factors will dictate which space will work for your event. For example, consider the number of people on the guest list, venue availability and the vibe you are setting out to create. You may be able to host the gathering in-house. Otherwise, look to local venues for accommodating your needs. Be sure to inquire about whether tables, chairs and other essentials are provided in the rental fee. You may need to secure your own for the party.

Again, consider the intended atmosphere. Elegant and more formal events will warrant seating that has an air of sophistication, like Chiavari chairs. Folding chairs would be acceptable for open-house-style celebrating, especially when there’s no table service. The same goes for table linens, china, flatware, and glassware.

Holiday Party Table Setting

Eat, drink and be merry

What about food and drink? Some venues offer on-site catering will others allow for the client to bring a caterer of their choice to provide food and drink. Regardless, the menu should reflect the mood you are setting for the party. Heavy hors-d'oeuvres, a buffet set up, and a full dinner service are the most common options.

Holiday Party Table Setting

Open to guests?

The size of the celebration will hinge on the ground rules you set in advance. For instance, some employers invite spouses/significant others, while others open it up to children. This decision will be driven largely by the budget and the time and place of the event. Some venues aren’t kid-friendly. The same goes for the menu.


Spread the word 

Once these details are set, send out invitations at least a few weeks in advance and request an RSVP by a certain date. If your party is an upscale affair, you may want to send out a mailed invitation. Email invitations work best for more informal events with buffet service, like luncheons.


Further details

Some organizations opt for entertainment to turn up the volume on the fun. Whether it’s a DJ, live band, or another option, make sure it’s the right fit for the group and the setting.

Likewise, for elements of appreciation. Holiday parties are the ideal time to provide a holiday gift to each of your employees.  Gift cards and cash are popular and well received by staff. Awards are another way to thank the staff for a job well done and build excitement around another year to come.

Holiday Party Place Setting

Taking into account your budget, company culture, and there's a holiday party idea out there that's perfect for your team. Use this as a starting point to spark your creativity.

Still not sure what kind of party you should throw? Survey your employees! They'll appreciate that you care and will feel more invested in the outcome.

From our team to yours, happy holidays!


Photos: AAYS Event Rental

Venue: 1842 Club, University of Notre Dame

Florals & Design: Merry Me Events

Lighting: Pro Show