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  • Writer's picturePaige Nathan

Here’s your 2021 Corporate Holiday Party Planning Trends & Checklist

Let's face it, 2020 was not the best year for corporate holiday parties. Many businesses made do with virtual events, and while they were the ideal way to connect and celebrate the end of a long and tumultuous year, virtual parties left something to be desired. So, as we round out 2021 with vaccinations on the rise and tests readily available, businesses are eager to celebrate the year and their teams in a more engaging way.

Here are some of the corporate holiday party trends you can expect to see in 2021:

Lots of Space – Your guests want elbow room and plenty of space to spread out. While most people don't want to hear the words "socially distanced" for a very long time, they don't want to be crammed into a too-small space like a pack of sardines, either.

Woman at Christmas festival

Outdoor Space – Even better than a big indoor space is a combo indoor/outdoor space. Some people are completely comfortable being indoors but offering an outdoor option allows you to accommodate those who prefer a little fresh air to help keep things safe.

Alternative Catering Options – Overdone buffets might be something of the past, and sit-down dinners are so blasé. Instead, your guests want to have fun and the flexibility to move around and enjoy some amazing food options. Cue the food trucks! They are all the rage these days and have an added benefit – they are outside. Are you worried about the weather? Heat lamps and tents can make cold weather more hospitable.

C-Bo's Low & Slow BBQ

Smaller and last-minute – Things are still rapidly evolving, so much event planning is being done at the last minute. But don't let the last-minute planning stress you out. Check out our tips on how to manage planning a last-minute event. Additionally, you can expect to see companies forego the large, single event in favor of multiple smaller departmental events. This is for two reasons – greater availability options and fewer guests are more comfortable for many people these days.

Friends at party

Beyond the holiday season – Ok, we know, the holidays are technically celebrated in December, which is the traditional time to host a holiday celebration. But so many rules have been re-written the past two years so why not host an event that best suits your schedule. Hosting events into Q1 and Q2 may afford you more venue choices and the opportunity to capitalize on warmer weather and outdoor locations.

Regardless of the route you take for planning your corporate holiday party, it's important you take the time to plan something to celebrate the season and your team. This has been quite a year between supply chain challenges, staffing issues, and a host of other challenges. And your team will appreciate a break from the hustle to slow down and enjoy their peers.

So here is a checklist for planning this year's event:

  1. Choose Your Event Type – In person? Virtual? Combo? Lunch or dinner? There are lots of ways to go. What works best for your business flow and team preferences?

  2. Determine the Size of Your Guest List – Do you have one large event for the entire office or separate, smaller events for each department? Will you allow each attendee to bring a guest, or do you want to limit the numbers? You need to know your headcount to book a location and caterer.

  3. Finalize a Venue and Caterer – Find a facility and a caterer as soon as you know the type of event and how many will be there.

  4. Confirm the Day and Time – Once you've confirmed your date and event start time, notify your guest list so they can save the date.

  5. Invitations – Whether an electronic invite or something more formal, send an invite to your guests with the full details for your event.

  6. Event Details – Will your event have a theme or entertainment? Put together a timeline to help the evening move along smoothly.

  7. Establish an Alcohol Policy – Determine how you want to handle drinks for the evening to minimize any unfortunate situations. Many employers opt for providing a set number of drink tickets per person.

  8. Recognizing Your Team – The evening is meant to be celebratory, so determine what that looks like. Are you distributing gifts to each team member? Will you acknowledge the year's accomplishments with individual awards?

New Years Eve party

The end of the year is the ideal time to reflect on your business's success and be merry with your team. Whether big or small, in-person or virtual, take the time to plan something to celebrate your team's accomplishments and end the year on a positive note. We all deserve it!

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