We get it. The sun is shining (kind of) and the office A/C is on full blast. Nothing about this time of year screams Christmas cheer.
But Christmas is coming—and soon. Christmas ’17 is officially only 144 days away. You may still be in sun-kissed holiday mode, but Santa’s sleigh is getting ready to fly once again.
It’s difficult to motivate yourself and your team to think about Christmas parties when everyone is still wearing shorts and sandals, but right now is the perfect time to get the details nailed down.
The trends for Christmas and holiday parties are constantly changing. One year it’s all about multi-entertainment extravaganzas; the next, everyone just craves a bit of a dance and dinner.
One thing that never changes though is the expectations from both host and guest. Whether you’re organising the party or attending, you want a fun, high-quality, well run soiree to celebrate both the holiday season and a year of work well done. Your task is to create an event that pleases the 18 year old intern and the now silvering team that has been there since before anyone can remember.
To help you get a bit more in the spirit, we’ve put together our seven top tips, tried and true, for planning the ultimate Christmas party. Keep these in mind during the pre-party process, and we guarantee that Santa won’t know what hit him…
Your space is your blueprint.
Make sure to find a venue that will fit not only all your guests, but all the entertainment that you want to include. A good rule of thumb is to budget room for 10% of guests who don’t RSVP. Once you’ve chosen your venue, production partners like Blitz are integral in helping you make the most of your venue’s space, signage and lighting.
Picking a theme is harder than you remember.
We know, you choose a theme for every Christmas party, every single year. But twelve months is enough time to forget how difficult picking one can be! After you’ve found your venue and a production partner, but before you do anything else, decide your theme. Letting your partner know what the theme is, and involving them in the process from the beginning, will help you deliver an event that goes way beyond your expectations.
Simplify your invitees’ experience.
No one wants an emergency epinephrine moment, so find out who is allergic to what and manage the seating plan. Chase people who have RSVP’d but haven’t given clear answers to questions on food allergies or preferences. And above all, make sure your invites—whether they’re via email or snail mail—are clear and easy to follow, with a map, programme, transport links and timings.
Make sure everything sounds good.
No one likes to strain to hear the music, the speaker or the entertainment – or be blown off their seat by them. Your sound team, along with your production partner, will be able help you with this once you’ve decided your venue. Positioning the room so everyone can hear what’s going on is crucial to keeping the party vibe going.
Figure out your entertainment goals.
Sorry to hit you with 20 questions, but: What are you going to do to entertain your guests while they’re waiting to come in? Or between presentations and dinner? Also, what’s your main entertainment going to be? Special guests, comedians and high-profile DJs are all in demand for holiday parties, and will give your night that extra something special with high production values.
Don’t drown out the speakers.
A good production company will have a good set of microphones so that everyone can hear the speakers. Find out if your speakers have any preferences for their mics during the planning process; some people like to pull a Steve Jobs, walking and talking all over the stage, while some prefer the comfort and protection of a lectern. Speakers deliver a more comfortable presentation when they’re comfortable with their equipment and you’ll save on budget by only ordering what you need.
Work the transitions into seamless moments.
How are you going to manage transforming your space from an awards ceremony to a dinner and dance floor, all without a guest batting an eye? The team at Blitz, for example, have done the whole ‘distract-everyone-with-dinner-while-we-take-the-stage-down’—and we’ve also done a curtain raise to reveal a glittering dance floor and band. It depends on your vision for the event, but whatever it is, your production partner can make it happen.
If you’re looking for some help with your Christmas party planning, look no further. Get in touch with the team at Blitz and we’ll be happy to help you. Simply let us know what you need and we’ll get right back to you with some great solutions.
About the Author
Emma McKay is our marketing manager at Blitz, a GES company. Emma has been with us since June 2016 and has worked in the events industry since 2011. Having worked on a range of events from select VIP gatherings of two hundred, to large scale events with audiences ranging from a hundred VIPs to tens of thousands, Emma has a great insight into how events work at all levels of the spectrum.Follow on Twitter More Content by Emma McKay