Corporate Holiday Parties: Give “Drunk Santa” (aka Drunk Boss) The Boot
Let’s face it, next to raises and bonuses, the holiday party can be the most anticipated event of the year. Or, it could be the most dreaded. Especially when the boss dresses up in a creepy rented - or even creepier, owned - Santa costume.
Over the past few years holiday party budgets have been slashed, and even the slight rise isn’t bringing the full swing back. And poor Marge over in administrative is probably pulling her hair out trying to please everyone at once. So, what is a holiday party-planner to do?
Ideas that are Rock’n Around The Christmas Tree
Don’t Let the Holiday Die
- If the company can only do one thing before the end of the year, make it the holiday bonus. Getting that bonus helps your employees make critical decisions, like gift giving and holiday travel planning.
- Many of your employees are going to take off before the holidays or have other holiday related things to go to. As much as they love hearing Marge sing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” karaoke style, they’d rather not give up a party with their less Beaddazzled friends for that experience again.
- Likely, if you are late planning and can’t get the place you want or strapped for cash, your employees would rather appreciate a quality holiday party when all the fuss has died down and there is nothing left to do but celebrate Martin Luther King or Australia Day and complain about the cold. You might be sacrificing a holiday decked out location, but who cares if you can bargain for the best, and everyone is willing to come?
The worst thing I ever came across was when a spouse was not invited or could come only if they were willing to pay $100. Do whatever is necessary to allow people to bring a date. It is one of those times of year that brings people closer to their families, and if the corporate party is primarily a way to socialize and be more personable, this is one way to engage them.
All the rage is the photo booth option for weddings and other large, social events. It is a less hokey way to get employees more personable and engaged, and you will see them let loose with some rather humorous get-ups that will be talked about at the water cooler on Monday.
Don’t forget the music. I suggest music played by a band – local is fine. But a DJ works OK or, at the very least, put together an iTunes list of appropriate, not exclusively holiday related music pumped out through amazing quality speakers. If you can get a band that allows talented employees to join in, that is even better.
Likely this is not the time to make it an awards ceremony of who was the most productive. Regular favors are often boring and too traditional. Instead, give out free tickets at the door and do a raffle. Make sure the prizes are awesome, do not have the company logo on it and are not geared toward a specific holiday. You will likely spend the same amount of money on really awesome prizes for a few as you would on flimsy tree ornaments for everyone, but this time you would look generous. A fantastic prize without too much thought needed is an Amazon Gift Card.
Food and Drink
Provide your employees with quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Take into consideration all possible diets of your employees. And if you need to cut costs, remember that people who are dancing and socializing are not eating, so if you excel in those then see if “bring a side or dessert” is an option and just have two main meals catered from a local restaurant.
And for the biggest mistake you could make:
Don’t request that employees take time off work and then dock them pay or hours for it. This is the biggest faux pas and is unacceptable!