Just as sure as day follows night. September means the shops and restaurants are stocking up with Christmas merchandise and has officially become the time to start organising the Christmas party. It’s September, it’s Christmaaas! Let’s get started!
It may seem outrageous to be planning Christmas when the kids school shoes have hardly had a chance to be scuffed yet, but some traditional values are holding firm at Christmas parties as January events fall in popularity and parties reinstated to their rightful December home. The trend to move the Christmas do to early January has decreased, with only 14.7 per cent of companies celebrating in the New Year. January Christmas parties rose in popularity during the recession as organisers took advantage of cheaper prices in the New Year, but their current decline shows planners are returning to more traditional dates.
The second week in December continues to be the peak time for parties, favoured by 42.2 per cent of respondents. Most people surveyed preferred an evening affair in December and also in the latter half of the week while more partygoers would opt for a Saturday night over a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tradition is also back on the table when it comes to theming, with the most popular themes being Winter Wonderland (50 per cent), traditional Christmas (49 per cent) and black tie (42 per cent). Timeless appeal trumped experiential and quirky themes such as Victorian, Carnivale and the 1980s, which all polled lower than in previous years.
Champagne and prosecco maintained their position as the most popular celebratory tipple (78 per cent) and a three-course sit-down meal preferred to bowl food or a buffet.
The finding that a traditional Christmas style is increasing in popularity was supported by the fact that great food and a good venue were also felt to be more important considerations for bookers than a strong theme.
The job of planning the company Christmas party can often seem something of an unwelcome and scary prospect, as the time constraints and pressure of wanting to organise something that all your colleagues and clients will enjoy can make it a stressful ordeal. This is where a professional agency comes into its own!
One thing to remember if there is serious event planning to be done is that it is never too early to start thinking about Christmas. You may feel it is too early to start getting into the festive spirit but if you want your celebration to run smoothly then organisation is key. You can be sure no matter how far away December 25th seems, there will always be someone who has already started planning their own event.
#1 – Set the date
Christmas is a busy period, the busiest of the year for many people when it comes to social events, so diaries fill up fast. That means you want to get a date penciled in as early as possible.
To ensure a good response send a ‘save the date’ email to everybody as soon as you’ve decided. At this stage it doesn’t matter if you don’t know any details about the party, it’s more important to get as many people to the event as you can.
Once the date and venue are chosen your Event Planner will need information on any special dietary requirements or allergies that you’ll need to consider when selecting menus.
#2 – Find out the budget
The size of your budget will ultimately have a huge impact on the type of Christmas party you organise, determining everything from the food and booze to the entertainment and choice of venue.
Find out how much money you have to spend. Your Event Planner will need to know this as early in the process as possible so they don’t start planning something completely unrealistic.
Allocate the budget by what is most important to your group. This will depend on the type of company you work for and the expectations of the people you work with. Remember that the Christmas party is a ‘thank-you’ and also a time to impress.
Leave some money aside as a back up. Unexpected costs can always crop up with any size of event, so don’t splurge your entire budget straight away.
#3 – Establish the type of party you want to organise
You’ll need to decide whether you are planning a daytime event, evening event or both.
#4 – Adding that touch of sparkle: extra ways to enhance your event
Sometimes little changes can make all the difference. You want your event to be enjoyable, pleasant and memorable for all the right reasons. We can help with some ideas for those little touches to help your event stand out:
Upgrade as much as possible. Buying fresh flowers, lighting scented candles.
Hire a photographer. Many people will doubtless be snapping away on their mobile phones but hiring a professional will give you much better quality pictures and visual reminders of the event. Good shots can also be used on the company blog, website, social media and in marketing materials
Put together goody bags. These should be filled with genuine goodies that your guests will actually enjoy, so don’t just cram them with company collateral, go for popular treats such as chocolates and wine.
Add plenty of staff to manage when everybody arrives and leaves or suggest different arrival times so you don’t have people queuing up or waiting in the cold.
Security should make your guests feel welcome on arrival and be friendly throughout the night will help make the whole event more pleasurable as well as safe.
#5 – Ask for feedback
When it’s all over; find out what guests enjoyed about the event and what they didn’t, this way it will help you to organise an even better party next September!