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Holiday Party Must-Haves

Plan the perfect office holiday gathering with these simple, but effective ingredients.

Halloween has passed us by and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but you know what that means don’t you? Soon holiday decorations will be overtaking every single inch, of every single store that you walk into. Hey, it’s okay, we’re used to it. And it’s an important reminder that holiday parties are looming on the horizon, so you better start planning! Whether you are a planner or just an attendee, here are the must-haves for your next corporate or office holiday party, besides alcohol (just kidding, it’s totally on the list).


1. Signature cocktail. Really alcohol in general is one of the things that most employees (and employers) look forward to at holiday parties. It isn’t an excuse to get out of hand and make poor decisions, but it can be fun and help everyone ease out of work mode. A signature cocktail can help those indecisive decision makers and adds more creativity to the party. Give it a fun name (No, “Company Name” brew, punch, cocktail, etc. does not qualify as fun).

2. Party favors. This will vary depending on the size of the event, but a nice memento of the occasion or something to show appreciation for employees is always a nice gesture. Even something as simple as a little sample basket from local businesses is very thoughtful. (Or maybe even something as radical as four hours of PTO? Really make those that ditched regret it).

3. Event hashtag. We’re used to seeing these at large conventions or tradeshows, but wouldn’t it be fun to incorporate a hashtag at your company party? People will be on their phones anyway, and wouldn’t it be great to show off a little bit? Yes, even if you don’t see the benefit of it. Plus, people can look back at all the party fun this way, and remember why it’s important that they get up on those frigid winter mornings to come to work every day.

4. Door prizes. This is only a bad idea if you have bad prizes. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but giving out gift cards to places where people actually want to eat, or to places and experiences that people actually want to have, goes a long way. It makes you look good, and it might even make you feel good. Bonus? It’s another great way to get involved with your area businesses.

5. Music. Depending on the size and type of office party, the music needs will vary. But there should always be some on in the background, quiet enough so people can hear each other talking, but loud enough to drown out my singing.

6. Photo Booth or Photographer. You might think, “Really?”, but yes. It isn’t very often that someone gets dressed up to go to a party with their spouse (or maybe for you it is, in which case I dare you to try sweatpants. They are awesome). We can always take selfies, but it isn’t quite the same as having that picture to hang up afterward to display on our desks, refrigerators, walls, mirrors, pick your place.

7. Safe ride home options. Whether you have cab information at the ready, designated drivers secured, or a deal with Uber, something has to be there, just in case. Cabs are generally easy options, but Uber actually works with corporate groups and businesses to secure discounted rates, so look into it. (Sorry, that sounded so bossy. But I really meant it. Do it).

8. On-site childcare. This one might sound insane, but you just planned (and spent a lot of money) on an amazing party. You want people to attend right? Not everyone has a reliable babysitter, and if that’s the case, say goodbye to guests. Offering on-site childcare takes away that burden for your employees and I guarantee they will appreciate it.

9. Working technology. If there will be music, slideshows, speeches, roasts, toasts, or karaoke, make sure all of your A/V equipment works. No one likes it when the mic makes that screechy noise or when the boss makes an amazing toast that left every eye in the house dry because no one heard it. (Or maybe people don’t like it when their boss talks. In which case, A/V issues might be welcome. Use your best judgment).


Incorporate some (or you know, all) of these into your office holiday party, throw on your (work appropriate) party clothes and (reasonably) let loose!

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