The office Christmas party is often seen by staff as the place to let a year’s worth of tension out in one go and whether it’s Dave from accounts photocopying his ‘credentials’, the youngest member of staff throwing up on the carpet or the scuffles of the advertising team turning nasty – it might be wise to plan pro-actively for more thrills and less spills at the Christmas do.
1. Why sit when you can mingle?
Booking a long table with a three course meal is fine, unless you get stuck next to someone you have no rapport with, finding yourself wishing the waiter would be more generous with the wine. Parties are best when you are free to gravitate to the people you get on with, or want to get on with. By organising a buffet, fondue or canapé meal you can socialise to your heart’s content and the energy can remain high. Less formal means less stuffy.
2. Don’t be unfashionably early
Ever arrived on time at a party only to find no one else has? There is something monumentally awkward about wearing the Santa hat, clasping a plastic cup of punch with nothing for company, bar the slowly spinning glitter ball. Why not try out the Black Cab Treasure Hunt to kick off the party – where the last clue leads to the venue? This means that teams arrive together and have plenty to talk about at the party, having shared a mini-adventure.
3. There’s always one… Control the booze
It’s the Christmas party, people will drink but there’s drinking and then there is falling into the Christmas tree, crying on the FD’s shirt and throwing up on someone else’s best shoes. Avoid all this drama and New Year fall-out by replacing the free drink-till-you-drop bar and instead choosing a more measured way to enjoy a tipple – with a tasting session. It’s not just wine tasting that’s available either, you can now enjoy cider tasting and even vodka tasting. It’s drinking but it’s organised and is a different flavour of event altogether. And be sure to include those in your team who prefer soft drinks for medical or cultural reasons, it’s even possible to taste the difference between spring waters.
4. Reward with an experience
Some Christmas freebies at the office should almost come with an apology – like branded sweets, a box of minced pies or an item that screams minimal investment. Why not combine the Christmas spirit with an event like the Fresh Tracks Chocolate Challenge. This way, everyone gets a memorable few hours out eating chocolate with added perks of role development thrown in for good measure. An investment that’s worthwhile for everyone.
5. Be a real Secret Santa
The Secret Santa is more often than not a red faced affair. Let’s admit it – it’s the most likely time in the festive period that you’ll get an inappropriate or mildly offensive gift. Take for example – the Christmas stockings from Anne Summer’s, the soaps and shower gels that make you wonder if you have a spot of ‘BO’. Or the presents that simply get recycled to Auntie Ethel, who won’t want a special mint tea parcel either, when Christmas comes. Why not take up the Toy Factory challenge where the toys you make can be given to a charity where children in genuine need get the benefits. Who knows? It might even sprinkle a bit of Christmas magic into the work relationships.