The annual holiday party is a great way to socialize with company leaders and co-workers and to honor employees who have contributed greatly to the bottom line this year. While it may seem a bit late to pull off such an affair, with a little planning and ingenuity, a great gathering can still happen!
The key is to think creatively and start your planning process today. Follow these simple steps for a stress-free event so when your holiday party day arrives, you’ll have time to relax and enjoy the party!
10 Simple Steps
- Determine who will be invited.
Is this party for employees, significant others, children, clients, vendors and volunteers? Or just a segment of this population? It’s important to decide right now who will be invited, as it will impact venue selection and your overall budget.
- Establish a budget.
You’ll need to have a budget breakdown of food, beverages, venue and decorations. In addition, if you choose a hotel, will individuals be sleeping overnight? If so, will the company or employee be picking up that expense?
- Find a date that will work with most.
Saturday night is the most popular night for holiday parties, which means the venue you love may already be booked. Therefore, you need to have a Date A, B and C when speaking with venue staff.
- Host your holiday party after the holidays.
You may have difficulty determining a date and/or finding a venue that works for most of your attendees. Why not consider a Winter Wonderland party in January or February instead? Availability will probably not be an issue, and many organizations are moving in this direction, due to employees’ already-crowded December calendars.
- Select a venue.
Now that you know who will be invited, your budget and the dates most employees are available, start looking at venues.If possible, host your event outside of the office at an alternative venue that will energize attendees. If you’re inviting significant others or family members, make sure there are enough activities for attendees ages 7 to 70 to do during the celebration.
- Send out the invitations as early as possible.
Send out invites at least 30 days in advance of the event. It’s important to continue to keep the party top-of-mind for those you’re awaiting an RSVP from, so we recommend reaching out at least three times. It’s also just as important to give attendees an easy way to accept or decline. Remind them you need to know at least five business days before the party in order to plan for the proper amount of food and beverage.
- Choose seasonal food and drink.
Work with your catering manager on ideas, but consider focusing on items such as eggnog, hot apple cider, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and various types of pie.
- Choose your theme carefully.
While theming your event is a great option, be careful not to be too closely tied to one holiday. Think outside the box and work toward a theme everyone will like, such as:
- Choose two unique colors and theme everything around them. For example, your colors may be white and red — ask everyone to dress in those colors, provide floral arrangements with white and red carnations, and use red and white linens.
- Host a Willy Wonka-themed holiday soiree: Incorporate as much candy into the décor as possible. Centerpieces can feature tall glass vases filled with different levels of sweets. Encourage guests to eat any of the edible décor.
- An Affair to Remember: Throw a black-tie affair. Serve several courses. Require that everyone wear tuxes and gowns.
- Ugly Holiday Sweater Party: Have everyone wear the ugliest sweater they own or purchase one from a consignment shop. Give a prize to the ugliest one.
- Have an assortment of door prizes.
Rather than giving out goody bags at the end, budget for an assortment of gifts that employees have a chance to win, from a $10 Starbucks gift card to a $500 HDTV or iPad and everything in between. Set up gift stations and give attendees a set number of raffle tickets, allowing them to put all their tickets in for one raffle item or distribute them around to the ones they want to win. Announce the winners at the end of the night.
- Have fun!
Once the planning and setup is complete, now it’s time for you to sit back, relax and have fun like everyone else.
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Wants to Host Your Holiday Event
Whether you’re planning a holiday party for a small company or with thousands of employees, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has all the resources you need for maximum creativity and minimum stress. Give one of our group sales professionals a call at 855.411.4605 or email us at Groups@KalahariResorts.com to book your party with us today!
And remember, when searching for gift cards, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has an assortment of offerings ranging from $20 to $500 in value that can easily be one of your door prizes!