As with all things freelance, the festive season is either a feast or a famine. Some years you get several seasonal knees ups, while other’s you’re like Cinderella stuck at your desk while everyone one else has a ball.
This has given me a bit of an insight into the annual celebration, good, bad and worse. It’s amazing how many places do exactly the same thing year after year… which leads to exactly the same grumbles and problems. Here are my top tips for a party that goes with exactly the right amount of bang.
Work out what it’s all for. Really. Just because you do it every year isn’t good enough. Do you want your employees to be full of festive cheer or is it all about showing off about something much more corporate? Probably not a good idea to ask everyone what they want – you’ll never get agreement – but do have a think. If the bosses think it’s just 9 to 5 with tinsel, adjust accordingly.
How much will it cost? Is there any money? Who’s paying? Is it better to host a less glitzy gathering than expect people to shell out when they’re already in hock for the latest must-have toys? Not everyone is in the same financial boat.
When do you need the cash? If everyone must chip in, then get the cash as soon as you can. Offer people a shame free way of paying in instalments if you think that’ll help.
Location, Location, Location. It’s crucial. Not just how far people have to travel but the vibe of the place. You might be happy dancing the night away, but what about your older or shyer colleagues. There’s a huge choice of Christmas party venues in London, Edinburgh, or any other city.
Make sure they get the memo. OK, maybe an email isn’t exactly the most twinkly and jolly, but everyone will benefit from knowing what the plan is and what they should wear. Once again, think of the new starts and the shybies.
A formula for fun. Which brings us to the idea of what’s going to happen at your December ‘do’. Is there a secret Santa, speeches, games, dancing or any other shenanigans? While you might think this is the greatest thing ever, remember that some folk will find this mortifying. The very least you can do is be absolutely clear with what’s expected.
Hold a few hands. Be aware that there are some people who won’t have been out-out since this time last year. And they didn’t have much fun then. Help everyone to feel welcome and at home. Play ice-breaking games, greet folk at the door, sit them next to their pals. You know – make them feel good.
Follow these few tips and you stand a change that your Christmas party is one to remember, for all the right reasons this year. Or, alternatively, if it sounds like too much effort, just do what you did last year and blame someone else.