As the economy continues to gain steam, so do company holiday parties. After all, what better time of year to thank employees for their hard work and dedication while celebrating their many accomplishments?[1]

Holiday parties aren’t just fun—they’re actually good for business. Recent data shows these office celebrations influence company morale and productivity. In fact, 67 percent report improved team dynamics as a direct result of an office holiday party.[2] Read up on holiday party planning trends and best practices to help make your organization’s party one to remember.

Best practices for your office holiday party

  • Guest list: Start by defining who will make the guest list. Will your party be for employees only? Will a plus one make the guest list? Or will you invite clients and other stakeholders? At a minimum, more than half of holiday party planners will invite a spouse or other guest to accompany their employee.[3]

Another consideration to ponder: Will employees be required to attend? Keeping attendance voluntary ensures your attendees are there because they want to be.

  • Atmosphere: Is your event a formal or causal affair? While the majority sets the tone as business professional or business casual, one in four say their party will be casual. A little more than one in ten require black-tie.[4]Will the event be hosted at the office or off-site? Most will hold their company party at a bar, restaurant or event space, but trending is chief executive officers (CEOs) hosting in their own home to create a more intimate, personal affair.[5]
  • Food: Food and drink are an important aspect of holiday party planning. Custom menus, small plates and interactive food stations focused on fresh, local, seasonal fare are in style. Some opt for an open bar while others offer a complimentary welcome drink—perhaps champagne or sparkling cider—followed by a cash bar.[6] A welcome drink served in a logo’d flute doubles as a holiday gift.Last but certainly not least is dessert. The tendency is shifting from lavish dessert bars to take home treats and coffee served in to-go cups.[7] Consider gifting guests with a box of gourmet cookies or individually wrapped brownies accompanied with a mug of joe upon departure
  • Entertainment: When it comes to entertainment, the sky’s the limit. Currently in vogue are period dancers, virtual reality experiences, psychic readings, arts and crafts stations, scavenger hunts, murder mystery dinners, cooking demos and mixology classes.[8],[9] Consider tying your holiday gift to your entertainment choice. For instance, a cooking demo pairs well with a logo’d recipe stand or Moscow mule mug to try out at home.

Regardless of what food, drink, entertainment and atmosphere you choose, holiday parties are good for morale, good for productivity and good for business. Try one or more of these office holiday party ideas at your company party and make it one for the books.

[1] Matthews, Lauren. “Top Trends in Corporate Holiday Event Planning – Dream Team Entertainment & Events.” Dream Team Entertainment Events. N.p., 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://www.dteae.com/top-trends-corporate-holiday-event-planning/>.

[2] Ibid

[3] Karpinski, Kelli. “Goodwill and Good Cheer.” Amplify (2015): n. pag. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://info.4imprint.com/wp-content/uploads/P2-4imprint_Amplify_Fall15_InteractivePDF.pdf>.

[4] Karpinski, Kelli. “Goodwill and Good Cheer.” Amplify (2015): n. pag. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://info.4imprint.com/wp-content/uploads/P2-4imprint_Amplify_Fall15_InteractivePDF.pdf>.

[5] “Top Trends in Corporate Holiday Event Planning – Dream Team Entertainment & Events.” Dream Team Entertainment Events. N.p., 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://www.dteae.com/top-trends-corporate-holiday-event-planning/>.

[6] “Tasty Catering | Catering Chicago IL Since 1989.” Tasty Catering Catering Chicago IL Since 1989. N.p., 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://www.tastycatering.com/9-unique-company-holiday-party-themes/>.

[7] Ibid

[8] Laufik, Michele. “Holiday Party Ideas 2015: 12 New Entertainment and Activity Trends.” BizBash.com. N.p., 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://www.bizbash.com/pair-dancers-taught-guests-perform-period-dances-foxtrot-lindy/gallery/169745>.

[9] “Top Trends in Corporate Holiday Event Planning – Dream Team Entertainment & Events.” Dream Team Entertainment Events. N.p., 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 June 2016. <http://www.dteae.com/top-trends-corporate-holiday-event-planning/>.

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