By Christopher Confero
The approaching end of year brings many reasons to celebrate. Friends, family, and loved ones are sure to share in these moments with us, but we certainly shouldn’t forget those with whom we share so much of our lives—coworkers. Yes, the holiday office party can be many things: the legendary night reminisced about only in whispers, a dreaded familiarity before heading to a better engagement, or the one night a year when the quiet accountant has had one too many amaretto sours and perches atop the bar to serenade the company with an unusual rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” If you find yourself at the helm of throwing the office holiday party, here are four tips to elevating the look and feel of your soiree.
Lower the Lights
First and foremost, they are no longer your employees, but your guests and you need to get them out of their working environment. Clearly the easiest way to do this is to rent a venue space in town. However, this may not always be the easiest task to make work with budgets as well as venues being in such high demand during this time of year. Should you have to use your existing office space, transport your guests to a different world with beautiful white draping and low lighting. Please turn off the fluorescent lighting at all costs. Taking away the reminders of upcoming deadlines and unanswered emails creates a more inviting space.
Play the Piano
Music sets the tone of a party, and plugging in your iPod is a last resort. Instead, rent a grand piano to be delivered to your space and hire a pianist to play jazz renditions of holiday classics throughout the night. This can easily become your focal point of the entire room and provide a place for guests to gather and sing along as the night hits its high point.
Buy the Booze
This is one of my rules for any good party. If you’re inviting guests, feed them well and keep their cups full. For people who work day in and out for your business, it’s your turn to pick up the tab for the holidays. A manageable way to keep the tab from skyrocketing is to serve beer and wine with signature cocktails. I usually suggest a light and dark liquor option to please the opposite palettes. Festive selections could include a white chocolate Russian or mulled cranberry cocktail. Leave the eggnog at home.
Give a Gift
When it comes to weddings, it’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional favor. A tchotchke that is hopefully picked up but most likely left in the back seat of the car is money better spent on the actual event. However, the holidays are different and a gift to employees should be given some thought. A glass tumbler would be seen as a generic approach, but the addition of an etching of each employee’s initials takes it to another level. It shows appreciation for each individual and that you took the extra time for them.
The office holiday party should be a staple, but not the only opportunity for celebration in a business. Making merry amongst your coworkers should happen throughout the year. If you’re planning the party, these tips are helpful hints but are only the star on top of the tree. Give me a call to bring my sleigh of goodies for a party that will jingle your bells.