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  • Writer's picturePaige Nathan

‘Tis the Season to Plan Your Company Holiday Party

It might be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, but holiday parties can be a fa-la-la-la-lot of work! If you’re the person responsible for planning the company holiday party, you’ve probably got a lot of questions that need answering. Afternoon or evening? In the office or at a venue? Spouses or employees only? How do you make a holiday party fun? Can we trust our team with an open bar?

Whether this is the first time planning the holiday party, or your millionth, there are a few basic steps to follow.

Determine your budget

This will have set the tone for all other decisions. Will it be employees only or will you include spouses or families? Will it be an evening event with entertainment and alcohol or an afternoon affair at the office? See some ideas to save on budget in our blog post here.

Wildleaf venue

Choose a venue for your company holiday party

There’s a lot to consider when picking a venue, such as budget, attendance, location and availability. Ideally it should be within a 30-minute drive from your office, if possible, and be a place where public transportation or Uber/Lyft can drop off and pick up attendees.

Pick a date and time

Will your party take place during work hours, after work, or on the weekend? There are benefits and drawbacks to each. Above all, don’t plan your party too close to Christmas, as people typically like to travel around the holidays. Mid-November through mid-December is usually safe, omitting Thanksgiving week.

Company Holiday Party planning committee

Build a party planning committee

Don’t be the Lone Ranger! Company holiday party planning is a big project for one person. Simplify your party planning with a party planning committee. Recruit employees who are the most organized and best at planning in general, and bring a variety of backgrounds and skill sets to the team. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

Send out invitations

This should be done as early as possible to give everyone ample time to plan; ideally 4-6 weeks ahead of time. Or as soon as humanly possible, if you’ve already blown past that window.

Determine your alcohol policy

I sure do wish I drank more at the party last night, said no one ever. However, serving boozy drinks does tend to loosen things up a bit. To avoid things getting too loose, about half of all companies take measures to limit consumption at company-sponsored events. One way to do this is by providing drink tickets for a set number of free drinks, or serving wine and beer with dinner only. Another way to limit consumption is to bring in a mobile bar like Tippy Tap, which can serve mocktails, Kombucha or cold brew, along with pre-batched cocktails from their taps.

Tippy Tap Atlanta, GA

Owner, Alicia Wallace says, “Tippy Tap is more creative than your typical open bar. We customize our cocktails to the party and use the freshest and most premium ingredients, never bottled mixes. And non-drinkers really appreciate having a non-alcoholic mocktail; something hand-crafted and special just for them.”

Just don’t be the day-after-the-party story. We’re speaking from experience.

Plan the menu

Whether you’re going for a formal sit-down dinner, or something more casual, make sure the food is top notch.

Southern Crust Catering Company

If going for a more casual vibe, consider catering with a variety of food trucks. No matter how diverse your group is, there’s a truck to appeal to every palate. Southern Crust Food Truck, for example, provides tasty appetizers, eclectic salads, and scrumptious wood fired pizzas. Served from an authentic 1953 vintage Chevy, the menu has something for everyone, and the set-up is a show-stopper. Plus, for every event booked between now and the end of the year, they are offering free hot chocolate and a $50 donation to Giving Kitchen, an organization that provides emergency assistance for food service workers.

Another way to manage your budget is by hosting a dessert party. One of our favorite dessert trucks is Not as Famous Cookie Company, a family run business serving handcrafted cookies, artisan cookie sandwiches and hand spun shakes. Holiday flavors like Gingerbread, Chocolate Peppermint, and Christmas Sugar led to them being named one of Atlanta’s “Coolest Food Trucks” by Atlanta Magazine.

Not As Famous Cookie Company

Decide on holiday party activities

Keeping your guests entertained is crucial to throwing a successful company holiday party. Will you have a theme? Outside entertainment? Group activities? If you want people to step out of their typical day to day work cliques and bond with their co-workers, here are some crowd favorites that fit the bill:

  • Karaoke

  • Gift exchange

  • Friendly competitive games like a murder mystery or scavenger hunt

  • Get moving with activities like ice skating, bowling or axe throwing

  • Casino tables

  • Live entertainment like a comedian or band

  • Do something meaningful like volunteering for a charity as a team

Organizations like Second Helpings Atlanta (SHA) play a crucial role in providing meals to food-insecure individuals, addressing hunger while preventing good food from going to waste.

Second Helpings Atlanta

Supporting SHA ensures that all our neighbors can enjoy the warmth of holiday meals. Your contribution of time, treasure, or talent, can ensure that everyone in our community experiences the joy of this season. To learn more about how to volunteer or donate, visit Second Helpings’ website


The trick to planning a great holiday party is simple. Think about what it is that you want people to be talking about the next day and put your focus (and money) there. Is it the food? The entertainment? Gifts? Make that thing the centerpiece of your event and plan around it. Don’t overthink it. Above all, make sure to enjoy yourself. If you’re having a good time, chances are everyone else will, too.

Happy Holidays from Simply Food Trucks!

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