The Christmas Party
For most people, the festive season really is the most wonderful time of the year, with all the celebrations, good food, flowing wine and gifts, with friends, family and colleagues. There aren’t many companies who don’t celebrate the silly season in some way, whether through a simple workplace lunch or an extravagant, multi-day affair, and these can be both a blessing, and a curse.
In 2012, Google employees were gifted with a Chromebook or Nexus 7 tablet, in 2014 received smartwatches, and in 2016 were perhaps disappointed when the company donated gifts to underprivileged kids on their behalf.
Meanwhile, 2016 saw Apple employees receiving t-shirts and other printed goods, while Coles received employee backlask by switching their staff Christmas gifts from Lindt Chocolate to Coles branded mince pies! It seems that Christmas is more complicated than ever.
As with most business decisions, what kind of Christmas party you have needs to be weighed up and carefully considered, with your budget, your company's mission and your employees' preferences in mind. It’s important to ask yourself, ‘What is the purpose of this Christmas party?’ as your planning gets underway, to help you determine exactly what it will entail. It sounds silly, but a Christmas party that’s purely about rewarding staff will be very different to one that has the objective of giving everyone an opportunity to network with clients or bond with employees and their families.
Advantages of having a big Christmas celebration
- It rewards staff: splurging on champagne, catered food, a big venue and engaging entertainment is very clear and obvious way to reward employees, giving them an opportunity to really enjoy the party, indulge a little and get something back for their hard work.
- It offers a bonding opportunity: when the celebration is big, there are plenty of opportunities to bond, connect and form relationships.
- It gives the team a chance to have fun and let loose: just like all big celebrations, having a large Christmas party with lots going on is fun! Isn’t that what the Silly Season is all about?
Advantages of having a small Christmas celebration
- It costs the company less money, at an already expensive time of year
- It can require less effort and therefore the use of fewer company resources
- Smaller events often have a smaller chance of bad behaviour occurring
- It can give employees the chance to be rewarded in other ways. If the Christmas party only takes place over a couple of hours during the working week, they have the option of leaving early and celebrating the end of the year in their own way.
Selecting a venue for a Christmas party can be tricky, particularly if you have a tight budget and have limited funds. The first consideration: should this year’s Christmas celebration take place in the office?
Advantages of having it at the office
- You have a free venue! If you have a small office this may be difficult and spoil the fun, but if you have the space, why not use it? There won’t be any hire costs associated with using the space and your staff won’t need to travel around the city trying to find the celebration space.
- It means celebrating in an environment in which everyone feels comfortable, rather than a bar, for example, which may make some employees feel discomfort due to religious or person beliefs.
Advantages of having it out of the office
- The party is in a new, fresh and fun location, away from the stresses of the office
The party can take place out of office hours
If not the office, where?
If you decide not to host your Christmas party in the office, you now face the prospect of finding a suitable venue, one that everyone will love, that fits within your budget, that is located in a suitable area and offers the food/drinks/activities that you want. Good luck!
Why not start by considering:
- At a restaurant: if you want to spoil your staff with a nice meal but want to keep things intimate
- At a place for an activity: for the adventurous employees, the team that enjoys bonding and the company that wants to reward its staff
- At someone’s house: for a smaller team with an offer from a generous employee
- At a bar: for the team that knows how to party that also has a very brave H.R. department
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….
Most companies probably host their Christmas parties at around, well Christmas, but strangely this isn’t always the case. In 2018, David Jones reportedly postponed its Christmas party until January 2019, to ensure the employees stay focused during their busiest period and let loose once the Christmas rush is over.
For most people, the idea of having a Christmas celebration after Christmas is strange, disappointing and completely misses the point, so unless you have a compelling reason not to, celebrate in December. We recommend the last working week of the year, because:
- There often isn’t as much work to do, meaning you won’t impact productivity as much as you otherwise would
- It’s close to Christmas, meaning your employees will be feeling festive
- You and your employees will be able to unwind, relax and celebrate the year when it feels right to do so
Now, who to invite?
The attendee list for your Christmas party will depend entirely on the type of party you’re hosting, whether it be a full day of family-friendly activities or an intimate evening enjoying canapes and champagne. There are advantages and disadvantages to keeping the event just for staff, so be sure to consider all of your options before making a decision. Most importantly, determine what your objective is, or, what’s are you trying to achieve by having a party? You might be:
- Making an effort to reward your hard working employees with a fun and decadent celebration
- Looking for an opportunity to bond with your team
- Attempting to build relationships with your employees and their families
Once you’ve decided what your objective is, choose the best option, which might be:
- Just staff - to keep it within the company and to strengthen team bonds
- Staff and their spouses - to get to know your employees’ partners a little better, and make it easier for host the event outside of work hours so employees aren’t spending another night away from their loved ones
- Staff and their families - to get to know your employee’s kids and partners better, and to take the pressure off babysitting costs for the day or night
Bad behaviour and getting on the naughty list
It’s inevitable at most office Christmas parties that at least one person will end up drunk, someone will say something inappropriate and in extremely unfortunate circumstances, somebody may do something that loses them their job. Office Christmas parties, particularly when they take place during work hours, are a strange hybrid of the personal and professional, and sometimes it can be tricky to know what to allow and how to handle difficult staff.
How to handle bad behaviour
- Speak to the H.R. team prior to the event to identify negative behaviours that are likely to arise, and to determine what is and is not acceptable
- Brief all staff before the event on what is acceptable, and what is not, and circulate an email with these details in advance
- Limit alcohol consumption where possible
- Provide transport to and from the office, if appropriate
- Have reasonable expectations. Of course some behaviour is inappropriate and should not be tolerated, but be prepared for some tipsy employees dancing like nobody's watching!
If you’re truly committed to having the best Christmas party of all time (and I hope that you are), you’ll seriously consider having a themed party, which should naturally include costumes. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a simple Christmas themed Christmas party, which allows employee to go full Santa or simply don a red shirt. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, consider another theme, such as:
- Under the sea
- 1990s, 80s, 70s or a decade of your choice
- Pajama party
- Animals, insects and mythical creatures
- The Great Gatsby
- Heroes and villains
- Ugly sweaters
- Beach, sand and sun
- Disney characters
- Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers or another popular television program
- Superhero, Marvel and DC characters
Giving out office awards can be a lighthearted, amusing and sweet way to say thank-you to your employees, have a laugh together and make some funny, albeit harmless, observations about your team. You could honour employees with awards such as:
- Biggest coffee drinker
- Most punctual
- Biggest snacker
- Most prepared
- Loudest talker
- Most likely to each someone else’s lunch
- Most helpful
- Least tech savvy
- Most tech savvy
- Most competitive
- Neatest employee
- Messiest employee
Christmas Party Playlist
If you’re hosting a Christmas party in your office you simple MUST have a fun, slightly annoying and extraordinarily festive playlist to accompany to event. Sure, you should just throw on any old Christmas Spotify playlist or play non-Christmas music (gasp!), but why not put together your own list, with the best, corniest and most Santa-friendly tracks. Here is a list of our favourites:
All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, Miley Cyrus
Carol of the Bells, Destiny’s Child
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, John Denver
White Christmas, Elvis Presley
Deck the Halls, Mannheim Steamroller
Feliz Navidad, Jose Feliciano
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Temptations
Happy Xmas (War Is Over), John Lennon and Yoko Ono
8 Days of Christmas, Destiny’s Child
Do You Hear What I Hear, Whitney Houston
Underneath the Tree, Kelly Osborne
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, *NSYNC
Do The Know it’s Christmas, Band Aid
Deck the Halls, Mark Vincent
What Christmas Means to Me (feat. Stevie Wonder), John Legend, Stevie Wonder
Silent Night, The Temptations
Christmas in Hollis, Run-D.M.C.
What Christmas Means to Me, Stevie Wonder
Joy to the World, Aretha Franklin
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, David Campbell
Oh Holy Night, Christina Aguilera
The Little Drummer Boy, Johnny Cash
Winter Wonderland, Darlene Love
Ave Maria, Beyonce
Little Saint Nick, The Beach Boys
Please Come Home For Christmas, Anthony Hamilton
Jingle Bells, Michael Buble
When a Child is Born, Johnny Mathis
White Christmas, Bing Crosby
Christmas Time, Backstreet Boys
Sleigh Ride, Harry Connick Jr.
Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord, Boney M
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, The Jackson 5
Someday at Christmas, Stevie Wonder
Winter Wonderland, Tony Bennett
Last Christmas, Wham
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Frank Sinatra
The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
Run Rudolph Run, Chuck Berry
Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Bruce Springsteen
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Dean Martin
Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms
Updating your office furniture
As the year comes to a close and you start to think of the future, consider update your office furniture to match your new, fresh vision for the company. Welcome your staff back with ergonomic chairs, standing desks and modern cafe pieces to make their working hours as safe, compliant and friendly as possible. Some of our top picks are below, but visit Jason L for the full range, or call us to find out more.
From all of us here at Jason L, we wish you a very happy Christmas and a wonderful new year, filled with friends, family, good food, presents and affordable and fabulous office furniture!
We will be closed from 21 December, 2018, opening again on 2 January, 2019.
1. The Christmas Party Shakeup: How Aussie Workplaces Will Be Celebrating This Festive Season
2. Company Christmas Party Ideas: Ideas for Making Your Company Christmas Party a Fun, Successful Event
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3. Organising the Christmas Party for your SME
4. Here's How Google, Facebook, and LEGO Celebrate Christmas in 2016
5. Here Are Apple's Christmas Gifts To Its Empoyees; You Won't Like Them For Sure
6. How Facebook Keeps Employees Happy in the World's Largest Open Office: Here's how the social networking service makes its massive, single-building office space work to bolster productivity, collaboration, and creativity.
7. Coles Christmas gift causes employee outrage as staff given fruit mince pies instead of chocolate
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8. 21 thoughtful corporate gifts your employees will actually like
9. Christmas Presents and Bonuses for Your Employees: Can the Employer Be Less Generous Than Santa?
10. 15 Unique and Fun College Party Themes