It may still be sunny outside, but the holiday season is just around the corner. For event professionals, now’s the time we start to look at our budgets and dive into details for year-end parties. If you’d rather not have yet another run-of-the-mill office Christmas party this year, and you’re working with a team of limited numbers, I’ve assembled some top tips for creating a successful corporate holiday event.
1. Try a Non-Holiday Theme
Jazz Age, enchanted forest, Middle Earth, Sherlock Holmes—the list goes on. Theme parties work equally well with a small team as with a large crowd. At Better Venues, we always run themed corporate events come Christmastime, with a couple of festive favorites being Gin Palace and Alpine Cabin.
2. In-House Cooking
If your small team includes a bunch of foodies, book a space and invite a team of professional chefs to come in and give live cooking demonstrations for you, whether sushi, pizza, food from a particular country or region, or something sweet. There are tons of companies who provide this service—at pretty reasonable rates, too.
3. Sports Day
So perhaps this one’s only for when you’re based in a warm climate (or enjoying a mild winter). Or, if you are experiencing sleet, snow, or rain, why not head indoors to your local sports hall for a fun-packed sports day? Getting your team active can not only boost spirits but also balance out all the food-and-drink based events they'll be attending this season!
4. Christmas Market
Most major European cities have Christmas markets, and they’re the perfect spot for a small group of colleagues to engage in some casual team bonding, eat some delicious food, and even get some shopping done. While less popular in the U.S., the Christmas market phenomenon is growing, with nearly a dozen markets operating in cities from Denver to Baltimore. Check the website ChristmasMarkets.com for locations and dates.
5. Boat Party
Set sail on the open seas! Or, maybe a lake or a river. Unless the water is frozen, why not hire a boat and head off for a maritime adventure? You can rent boats pretty cheaply, and they’re the perfect size for a small coterie.
6. Teambuilding Day
If you’re looking to get a bit more out of your holiday party than just a few drinks and some laughs, then consider a teambuilding day to encourage your team to come together. You could do anything from a day out adventuring in the woods, a trip to a go-kart track, a cooking competition, a fun run—the world’s your oyster!
Share your own unique holiday gathering ideas by leaving a comment below.
Ofer Yatziv is sales and marketing manager at Better Venues, a company that offers customers a portfolio of sports, leisure, and cultural event locations for rent across London and the U.K. He has more than 15 years of experience working in events, specializing in parties and private entertainment. He has also worked in numerous roles as a producer of live events and weddings, including national and international theater tours.