4imprint, LLC

| Updated: February 15, 2023


What’s new in business holiday parties: 2018 survey results


The 2018 4imprint® business holiday parties survey results show how company parties have evolved. Compared to the results of our 2015 survey, holiday parties today are more casual, employee-centric affairs. The other change: Use of promotional products at holiday parties is on the rise.

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Welcome to the results of our 2018 survey!

If you’re in the throes of planning a holiday soirée, you’re not alone. ‘Tis the season. And, if you’re putting a slightly different spin on this year’s party, you’re in good company.

In this survey, we set out to learn what the typical holiday party looks like today. Is it an elaborate affair in a rented
ballroom with hundreds of guests? Or is it an intimate gathering of team members taking some time to show gratitude for one another during an afternoon? To find out, we surveyed human resources teams in organizations nationwide. When we compare this year’s results to our 2015 survey research, one message became clear. Holiday parties are evolving.

Most organizations today are opting for more casual, employee-only holiday parties that keep things simple. We also discovered the dress code is becoming more relaxed and many events are being held on-site. And, promotional products are playing starring roles in everything from apparel to decor. For inspiration and ideas, read on. Happy planning!

Kevin Lyons-Tarr
CEO, 4imprint, Inc.

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Survey results: Who are our respondents?

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The survey took a peek inside holiday parties in these types of organizations:

  • Business
  • Government
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Nonprofit

The organizations ranged in size from a handful of employees to more than 5,000.

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Holiday parties: Then (2015) and now (2018)

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More merriment

More organizations plan to host a holiday party in 2018.

75% – 2015

80% – 2018

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Celebrate the team

More holiday parties are for employees only.

38% – 2015

50% – 2018

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Keep it local

Holiday parties that are hosted on-site nearly doubled from 2015 to 2018.

19% – 2015

37% – 2018

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Holiday party promotional products

  • Employee thank-you gifts that come from the heart (Page 11)
  • Party favors to get your guests talking (Page 14)
  • Apparel for a casual affair (Page 17)
  • Holiday party décor that’s versatile (Page 20)

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Employee thank-you gifts that come from the heart

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28% of respondents use promotional products as team thank-you gifts

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TIP: Show your gratitude with gifts that can be used for years to come.

#129394 Flat Shatterproof Ornament

“These ornaments are a great gift for the holidays! The fact they are flat instead of round was a nice feature… something that made them unique.” -Nici from Kennesaw

#104476 Wine Stopper & Opener Set

“I would recommend this as an affordable, yet classy gift.” -Michelle from Altamonte Springs

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Party favors to get your guests talking

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27% of respondents uses promotional products as party favors.

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TIP: Give two gifts in one. “Wrapping” your gift in a reusable branded bag adds a special touch to any party favor.

#126458 Tuscany Wine Tote

#135064 Metallic Laminated Tote

For a festive party favor, put a bottle of wine or a custom wine glass in a branded wine tote.

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Apparel for a casual affair

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Trending party attire

More employers are opting for casual or business casual attire at their holiday parties.

11% – 2015
6% – 2018

28% – 2015
17% – 2018

Business casual
37% – 2015
43% – 2018

Casual attire
24% – 2015
33% – 2018


DID YOU KNOW?: The business sector has seen the steadiest shift from formal to casual attire.

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Nearly 15% of respondents gives promotional apparel at the holidays

#104107 Hanes ComfortBlend 50/50 Jersey Sport Shirt

A classic polo shirt is a timeless business casual staple.

#112489 Sport-Wick Stretch 1/2-Zip Pullover

“We’ve been ordering these for our company for 2 years now — EVERYONE loves them. They are light but cozy and keep you warm. We placed the logo on the sleeve. A hit for men and women!” -Marybel from King of Prussia

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Holiday party décor that’s versatile

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Where’s the party at?

A growing number of organizations of ALL SIZES are hosting on-site holiday parties.

1-49 Employees
16% – 2015
25% – 2018

50-249 Employees
19% – 2015
28% – 2018

250-999 Employees
21% – 2015
42% – 2018

19% – 2015
61% – 2018

But off-site is still the most popular locations.

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Spruce up the party space

12% of respondents said promotional products do double duty as holiday party décor.

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TIP: Choose quality party supplies that guests can take home after the event.

#113317 Vue Glass Bottle with Glass Lid

Use these glass bottles as vases, then give them away as door prizes.

“We love our glass bottles and use them all the time. They make great gifts, too!” -Sandy from Honolulu

#146822 Vintage Round Bonded Leather Coaster

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Holiday parties that make a statement

There is no better way to show appreciation for a year of hard work than with a company party that includes holiday promotional products. Show your gratitude with thoughtful gifts and favors that are guaranteed to make your holiday party one to remember.

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Share your favorite holiday party ideas!

Have you held a special party that your employees can’t stop raving about? Share your tips with us! Email [email protected] with photos and your holiday party success story.

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Read Less

Company holiday parties are a classic way to celebrate the end of the year and show gratitude for employees. In this eBook, we’ll explore the latest trends in holiday parties, and you’ll discover ways to use holiday promotional items as gifts, décor, party favors and more.