Discover unique party ideas for a work Christmas party!
In a previous article, we shared some practical advice for planning a Christmas party. Now it’s time to dive into the fun and creative side of the planning.
Keep in mind that every choice you make should reflect your company’s culture. Don’t make choices that could discourage attendance. You want to make the event as appealing as possible.
The Christmas party ideas we’re going to be sharing are for adults. If you’re planning a party for work, this article is for you.
Let’s get started.
Office Christmas Party Themes
It’s a Christmas party, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be themed! We’ve listed some of our favourite below but any theme will work; just give it a festive spin. You can check out our separate article for general adult party theme ideas.
Ugly Christmas Sweater
Hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater party has become a classic. Simply ask your guests to wear their best (worst) Christmas jumper. It’s silly, funny and adds to the festive spirits.
Pro-tip: For those who don’t have a sweater at hand, ask them to wear a red or green top. They’ll blend in seamlessly.
As the saying goes: “It’s not Christmas until we see Alan Rickman falling from the window”. Die Hard has become a Christmas movie staple. It’s the perfect cover for a murder mystery night or planning a silly goose chase around the venue for your guests.
Bonus: As most guests in the movie are in evening wear, your employees will find it easy to meet the dress code.
Inside Santa’s Workshop
Host a Christmas party (seemingly) inside Santa’s workshop. The different departments in your company become different Elf departments (costume optional… but highly recommended). To make the theme work, you’ll want to decorate the venue thoroughly.
Fun-tip: If your CEO / HR manager isn’t up for being Santa for the night, book the actual Santa to drop by and give presents to your employees.
Another Christmas movie classic.
The movie has a very distinctive look which makes planning the decoration easier (i.e an extravagant house that’s heavily decorated for Christmas).
In the movie, the robbers try to overcome a series of traps and obstacles. To be on theme, consider planning a series of challenges for the management team (or a randomly selected group of participants) to overcome.
Hosting an Annie Christmas party is always good as you get to commiserate yourselves on how hard you’ve all been working this year… If you’re a dog-friendly company, the theme makes even more sense (although you probably don’t want them at the actual event).
Warning: the songs will stay stuck in your head for a long long time. We bear no responsibility.
A Christmas Masquerade Ball
Ask all the participants to arrive wearing a mask. Christmas themed or not.
Unlike a full fancy dress party, it’s easy for guests to be on theme and they can remove the mask later on in the evening (after the pictures) if they grow tired of them.
Pro-tip: Provide masks at the entrance for all of those who “forgot”.
Christmas Party Entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, the possibilities are endless. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favourite forms of entertainment that are well suited to Christmas parties. If you want more ideas, check out our separate article on easy corporate entertainment ideas.
An obvious choice of entertainment.
Remember: plugging a phone into a speaker works fine for small events. However, if you want the music to be the entertainment of the evening, you’ll want to book a professional DJ. It will make a huge difference.
They can provide ambient music for the reception and then fill up the dance floor later on in the evening. Good music makes any party memorable.
Live Bands & Singers
Instead of a DJ, you can also book a live band or a singer for the event. Generally, live music performers, do 2 hours sets. If you want more music than that, have a follow-up plan (such as a DJ).
Not all bands are created equal. To make sure you book a high-quality performance, check out our guide on booking a live band.
Pro-tip: Check with the venue on the practicalities of hosting a band. Accessibility, electricity, noise and so on…
If you’re looking for some truly memorable entertainment, you can hire a magician to entertain your guests.
At corporate events, magicians are usually booked to perform “mix and mingle” magic. This is where the magician walks among your guests, entertaining them in small groups at a time.
Typically, this happens during the reception, between courses at dinner and/or before the band after dinner.
However, magicians can also be booked for a stage show. This is a formal show like comedians would perform. Most often this happens once everybody is seated at the tables.
Photo booths and Polaroid corners have become a staple of corporate entertainment. They come in different shapes and sizes. You can rent an actual photo booth cubicle, you can rent a jumbo selfie mirror, or you can have just a regular Polaroid camera.
To make sure your money is well spent, make sure the photo booth fits the occasion/event. If you’re not sure where to start, you can view our tips on hiring the perfect photo booth.
Photo booths are fun and create great memories. However, if you want long-lasting memorable pictures, nothing replaces a professional photographer.
You can hire a professional dance troupe to come and do a full show. You can find dance troupes for most forms of dancing. As we’re based in Ireland, Irish dancing comes to mind.
If you want to learn something new, you can also book a course for your employees. This works best for smaller events (less than 100). Even if most people don’t get the moves down perfectly, it’s a great way to open the dance floor.
Surprise your guests by booking waiters to spontaneously break into song during the dinner or the reception! This is always great fun and they can be booked to perform different styles of music depending on your tastes.
Booking a caricaturist for your corporate event is a fun way to entertain your guests and to have them walk away with a fun souvenir of your party.
Only those who are brave enough and ready for a laugh need to ask for a drawing. Others are free to remain in blissful ignorance.
Most often caricaturists and cartoon artists are booked to entertain during the reception. Each drawing (usually) takes 5 minutes or less to complete.
Jugglers, fire eaters, stilt walkers… Variety acts come in all shapes and sizes! The red thread is that they’re jaw-dropping demonstrations of skill and practice.
They can be booked to perform a show or to perform “atmosphere” entertainment. i.e they are there for the people who want to watch.
Most often these acts are booked to entertain at receptions but decide for yourself how they’ll fit in with the rest of the event. Just check to make sure that they’re allowed at your venue (fire, insurance etc.).
Pro-tip: If it’s the first time you are booking live entertainment, check out our article on hiring a great corporate entertainer.
Christmas Party Activities
You want to plan a few things for your employees to do during the evening. We’ve listed a few classics below, but once again, if you want more ideas, check out our separate article on easy corporate entertainment ideas.
Host an old school raffle throughout the evening. The prizes should start small and build up to something “big” (which will depend on your budget).
Why not use the Christmas party as an opportunity to do some fundraising. It’s a great opportunity to raise money for charities while having fun. For a list of easy fundraising ideas, you can check out our article on the topic. Just give the games a Christmas spin.
The Price Is Right
A simple game to host, based on the TV show. To play, simply ask participants to guess the prices of every day (and not-so-everyday) items. If they are correct they win a prize.
Pro-tip: This is a great opportunity to give out some free company swag.
An interactive game where all the guests have to find out who the “murder” is.
In a large group, everyone can’t have a role. Instead, give the main roles to “actors” (i.e team members who are up for it) who will play out a story that will gradually reveal a murder. The guests then need to take their guess.
Pro-tip: although you don’t want to script the game, your actors should rehearse it a few times.
Don’t use the party as a business meeting!
Instead use the opportunity to make speeches that are fun, motivating and thankful for this year’s accomplishments. The best advice is to keep the speech short. 3 or 4 minutes max.
Pro-tip: If the speaker plans on using a mic, test it beforehand. Don’t assume that your venue will naturally have good audio capabilities. Check for audio feedback, white noise (hissing sounds), echoes… Great speeches require good mics.
Create “fake” comedy awards to give to various employees. Just keep all the prizes positive. You don’t want to make the winner feel bad.
For example: “Least likely to send an email with typo”, “Most determined cyclist” or “Most avid post-it note user”. You get the idea!
Give out prizes to all the award winners. The winner of the prize can either be chosen ahead of time or elected on the night.
Christmas Party Food Ideas
Food & Drink is a big component of any event. Check out our separate article for some planning tips.
For a Christmas party, more than likely you’re going to be working with a caterer. This will make your life easier but you’ll be limited to what they have to offer.
If you’re on a budget, start the event later, to allow your guests to have food ahead of time. You can serve finger food later on in the night.
Pro-tip: Make sure some of the food options you provide are vegetarian. By default, this isn’t necessarily the case. You’ll also want to ask beforehand if any of your guests have special dietary requirements.
Christmas Decorations for an Office Party
Check whether your venue is planning on decorating the room. If they aren’t, you’ll want to plan the Christmas decorations yourself. As the event is for adults, you don’t need to go overboard but you still want the venue to have a festive feel. It’s Christmas after all.
Most pictures you’ll find online are very over-the-top. At PartyWizz, we think it’s easier to keep it simple. Especially if you need to take down the decorations afterwards. A well-decorated tree, a few baubles hanging around the room and some candy canes is all you need.
The next step is to include a few themed items if needed.
Christmas Party Invitation ideas
Great Christmas party invitations are key. They build anticipation at work, set the tone of the event and announce the party theme. Check out our planning a Christmas party for some practical invitation planning tips.
You need to decide if you want to send out digital or print invitations. The latter is more work but it’s a lot more special. It will make your event feel more important.
Fun-tip: If you want to go the extra mile, you can ask Santa (or multiple Santa if you’re a big company) to hand these out in person
Instead of immediately sending out all the party information, why not create a series of digital puzzles and riddles for the guests to solve. This is very easy to do with Google forms.
Those who manage to solve all the puzzles before the final invitations are sent, win a prize (such as a free drink on the night).
Pro-tip: Make sure to do an announcement every time someone wins a prize to motivate the others.
If puzzles aren’t your (or your company’s) thing, you can still do a step by step reveal of the event. For example, week 1 you can announce the theme, week 2 the general location, week 3 the actual venue and so on.
It’s a simple but fun way of building anticipation and getting into a festive mood.
Elf on the shelf
If your company does the Elf on the shelf, why not have them “bring” the invitations? Either physically or by sharing a picture of them carrying an envelope.
That’s a Wrap
We hope you have a great Christmas Party and that everyone has fun.
PartyWizz helps party organisers easily book entertainment and key elements of a party online.
If you’re based in Ireland, please reach out!