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As the holidays roll around, it can lead to employee burnout. One thing that can help with this, and give employees something to look forward to, is hosting a company Christmas party. This article will outline the pros and cons of hosting a company Christmas party.

What Is a Company Christmas Party?

A company Christmas party is an event, hosted by the company, around Christmas time for all employees. Sometimes it might be held by each office or branch, while other times it might be hosted by the entire company.

Should Your Company Host a Christmas Party?

A company Christmas party is a great opportunity to boost employee morale and finish off the year strong. Whether or not a company should do a company Christmas party should ultimately be decided by the executive team, though they should seek guidance from the HR team. Before deciding to do a company Christmas party, a company needs to be aware of the potential pros and cons of hosting one.

Pros of Hosting a Company Christmas Party

  • Employee morale. A company Christmas party can increase employee morale. It allows employees to take a break from work and celebrate a holiday together that is likely celebrated by most other employees. It is an opportunity to have some fun and enjoy the holiday season. A party can help employees stay motivated and finish the year on a high note.
  • Employee engagement. A company Christmas party encourages employee engagement. Most employees want to get to know their co-workers better, which can be hard at times while at work. Hosting a company Christmas party provides an opportunity for employees to strengthen the bonds they have with one another and get to know each other better.
  • Employee appreciation. What is probably the most important reason for hosting a company Christmas party is the opportunity for a company to show employees their appreciation. Employees want to be appreciated and validated for the work they do. At a company Christmas party, an employer can take the time to show and tell the employees how much they appreciate all that they do.
  • Yearly review. A company Christmas party gives the employer a chance to review the year with the company. Often this review happens when a CEO provides a state of the union address with the whole company and lets them know what the company was able to accomplish in the year and what to look forward to in the next year. It is important for an employee to hear company accomplishments and to give them goals to look forward to.

Cons of Hosting a Company Christmas Party

  • Religious observance. One downside to a company Christmas party is that it might be prejudiced against other religious holidays that aren’t being celebrated. The key to avoiding this is to be aware of your employees and seek feedback on how they would feel about a company Christmas party. If needed, a company can always have a year end party celebrating all the holidays that take place toward the end of the year, not just Christmas.
  • Financial burden. A company should never attempt to be cheap with its employees, but it should still strive to be financially smart. One potential downside of a company Christmas party is the financial burden on a company. Hosting a company Christmas party for the entire workforce often costs thousands of dollars. Before hosting a company Christmas party, a company needs to make sure they have the funds required for the event.
  • Employees feeling obligated to go. One of the biggest concerns with hosting a company Christmas party is that employees might feel obligated to go. Some employees don’t enjoy large social gatherings or going to work events outside of work. Whatever the case may be, hosting a company Christmas party can cause anxiety for some employees because they might feel obligated to go due to social pressures or being afraid of looking bad to their boss. It is important for companies to state to their employees that they are not required to go to company Christmas parties if they do not want to.

Ideas for Organizing a Fun Company Christmas Party

There are many different ways for a company to host a Christmas party. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Ultimately, it should be an event that is fun for the employees, an event where employees don’t have to stress about work, and an event that employees can enjoy spending time with their co-workers.

Company Lunch

One idea of a company Christmas party is going out to a nice place for lunch as a company. As part of the lunch, gifts or prizes being given to the employees can make things more fun. This is a simple idea, but it can still be meaningful for employees.

Give Back to the Community

Christmas time is a great time to give back. Having your company Christmas party centered around doing something in the community, whether it is at the homeless shelter or Sub for Santa, is a great opportunity for your employees to come together for a greater good. Giving back can really boost employee morale as they help and serve others in need.

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Employees doing a gift exchange can be a lot of fun and make for many memories. If you do this, you want to be sure the rules are clear on how much you should spend on a gift and what kind of gift it should be. You will also want to make it clear to the employees that their participation is not required.

Send Invitations

Sending out formal invitations for a company Christmas party can make the event feel extra special. Employees will want to make the event memorable and might be more willing to get into whatever theme there might be for the party.

End of Year Presentation 

A big part of your company’s Christmas party should be recapping what happened that year. You can do this by having your CEO lead a presentation while people are finishing up eating. There are four elements that make up a great end of year presentation: 

  1. Recap of the year. Use stats, goals achieved, etc.
  2. Recap video. Have your creative team put together a movie of pictures and videos that were taken.
  3. What’s coming up. What goals do you want to accomplish next year?
  4. Awards. Give out awards to those who best exemplified your company core values during the year.

How to Plan Your Company Christmas Party

It can be a bit intimidating organizing a company Christmas party and trying to come up with something that everyone will enjoy. Ultimately, providing food, entertainment, and opportunities to bond with other co-workers can go a long way in organizing a successful company Christmas party.

Step 1: Seek Feedback

The first step should be to get feedback from the employees on what they would like to do for the Christmas party. Give them some ideas and find out what their expectations are for a company Christmas party. Getting as much feedback as possible from employees is very helpful in organizing a company Christmas party.

Step 2: Allocate Budget

After gathering feedback from employees, you need to figure out the budget you are working with for the event. Don’t start planning anything until you have an idea of how much money you have to spend for the event.

Step 3: Reserve a Venue

When it comes to planning a Christmas party, the earlier you start the better. Depending on what you are doing for the company Christmas party, you will likely have to reserve a venue. You’ll probably need to book the venue early in the year (during Q1 or Q2) to get the date that works best. This is important, as restaurants or buildings can fill up fast around the holidays with other companies attempting to make reservations.

Step 4: Make Plans for Food

You can make food the main event at your party no matter your budget. Depending on the venue you may have to do your own catering, so be prepared for that. Catering companies have holiday menus, but make sure to schedule them early when you book your venue. If local catering companies would put you over-budget, then plan your own menu and order a la carte from your favorite restaurants.

Step 5: Choose a Theme

Unlike reserving a venue or booking with a caterer, you don’t have to choose a theme early in the year. October is usually a good time to start working out the details of your Christmas party.

Choosing a theme will help you make the event more memorable and shake it up each year. Your theme will also help you with ideas for the invites, décor, games, and all the little details that people will remember. The sky’s the limit when it comes to theme, but here are a few ideas that are always a hit:

  • Winter wonderland
  • The Grinch
  • Flannel and frost
  • Buddy the Elf

Step 6: Set the Agenda

It can be tough to figure out how long your party should be and still have enough time for everything you want to do. To minimize confusion as the party draws near (and let people know how much time they should plan on spending at the event), set your agenda beforehand. 

Here’s one idea for a basic agenda:

  • 6:30-6:45 Welcome everybody
  • 6:45-7:30 Eat
  • 7:30-8:30 End of year presentation
  • 8:30-9:30 Activity

Step 7: Communicate the Event to Employees

After you’ve made reservations, make sure to communicate the party details to employees in advance. The holiday season can be busy, so if possible, give your employees at least a month’s notice of when the event will be, where it will be hosted, and what you will be doing. Then send out more formal invites about two weeks before the event.

Step 8: Prepare Gifts for Everybody

Show your employees how much you appreciate them by giving them a gift off their wish list. There are many ways you can approach gift-giving, but here’s one option. 

A week before Thanksgiving (gotta hit up the Black Friday deals) send a survey out for people to add links and pictures of their Christmas wish lists. Give everybody a budget—$50 is usually a good number, but you can do what works best for your company. Some people ask for gift cards, but others will get creative with their dream gifts. If you want to go above and beyond, you can also give each employee’s spouse a $50 wish list budget too. 

All gifts are bought and wrapped to be opened at the Christmas party. It’s great to see people’s faces light up as they unwrap their gift!

Take Your Christmas Party to the Next Level

A company Christmas party shouldn’t seem like a chore. You can have a great party that your employees will be excited about if you create an atmosphere where they can enjoy each other’s company. Creating a theme, giving gifts, competing in games, and recapping your year will take your Christmas party to the next level. 

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Company Christmas Parties

Nowadays, some form of a Christmas party is expected by most employees.

Some alternatives could include a summer party or giving your employees bonuses/gifts in place of the money that would be used on a company Christmas party.

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.

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