Remember the days when your team or whole office got gussied up and attended your company holiday party? It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it?! Unfortunately, COVID mucked up plans these past two years, and many leaders hope this is the year they can plan a festive evening sans masks to celebrate all their team has accomplished and toast the holiday season.
So what are the big trends you can expect? Let’s take a look….
Whole Office vs. Micro Events
Before this decade, the term micro event wasn’t on everyone’s radar. Flash forward, and it’s the newest event du jour. Simply put, in this context, a micro event is an event format for a smaller group of guests. Whereas before, corporate holiday parties might be for the entire office or company, many have shifted to parties for their team only. This can often be more successful because:
They’re smaller, making them more personal
And customized to the preferences of your guests
Another benefit of micro parties this holiday season? It’s a good option to contain spending and with a possible recession looming, watching the pennies isn’t such a bad idea.
It’s Not Just the Tree That’s Green
Yep. Sustainability seems to be on everyone’s lips these days, and the focus doesn’t let up during the holidays. Event planners are looking for ways to make their events eco-friendly, including holiday parties. Here are some ideas to consider:
Using an artificial tree
Recycling holiday décor
Choosing a venue that is LED certified
Selecting a sustainable menu
Themed Holiday Events
Truth be told, corporate holiday parties can sometimes be a bit boring. And repetitive. Think two drink tickets per person and the same average DJ. But giving your party a theme can breathe new life into an otherwise ho-hum occasion. For example, decade-themed parties are always fun and lend themselves to some pretty inspiring outfits complimented by a soundtrack from the era. Or, have team members come dressed as their favorite holiday movie characters. Think Clark Griswold, Kevin McCallister, Cindy Lou Who, or even John McClane (cue the “is Die Hard a holiday film?” debate.)
Activity-Based Holiday Parties
Planning an event around a particular activity generally works better with smaller groups and can be a nice change to the more traditional dinner. Outdoor winter activities include ice skating, caroling, or visiting your local botanical garden. And once the activity portion of the evening is over, you can host guests to their favorite food truck meal. You can easily find food trucks with outdoor setups conducive to the cooler months, offering heat lamps and tents.
Indoor activity-based options include DIY holiday crafts – think wreath and ornament making, holiday-themed escape rooms, or adult arcades. Another great activity for groups gaining popularity in the past few years is axe throwing. Perhaps not as festive, but still a great time for all!
Support A Local Charity
There’s a reason the holidays are called the season of giving. Raise your hand if you have enough “things” and don’t need more “stuff” (you can’t see it but BOTH our hands are up high!) While Secret Santas are fun and Dirty Elephant exchanges are good for a laugh, we all feel the spirit of the season when we give to others. Find a charity within your community whose mission aligns with your organization or team and collect donations.
Another option is to get your whole team together and visit a local food bank, youth group or retirement facility and donate your time as a team. You can serve meals at a local shelter, sing carols inside a nursing home, or collect and wrap gifts for underprivileged children. It’s the perfect way for teams to bond while doing something incredibly worthwhile.
A few additional bits of planning advice:
1. Book early! There will probably be lots of demand this year, and with reduced staff levels at most venues, they may also have to reduce the number of events they can host. So, check availability as soon as you know your date and approximate head count.
2. Lower Guarantees. Between COVID and what’s expected to be a bad flu season, we recommend going lower on your food guarantees because you could have a larger than usual number of last-minute cancellations. Make sure you select a menu that doesn’t use uncommon ingredients so venues can accommodate any last-minute increases in headcounts (if you guaranteed too low) without much issue.
3. Have fun! It’s been a few years since the holidays have felt “normal,” so take this opportunity to be in the moment and enjoy your team and the season.