Category Archives: chicago holiday party ideas

hands toasting champagne at a corporate holiday party venue

6 Tips for Choosing the Very Merriest Holiday Party Venue

Choosing the right holiday party venue is the first step in planning a jolly social gathering, which is why it’s worth it to take the steps that lead to the right choice. It’s also not an easy choice in Chicago; the Windy City is full of wonderful holiday party venues! This holiday party venue guide helps you check off the first (and biggest) line on your holiday party planning checklist, and gets you one step closer to a joyful office holiday party.

Decide on the holiday party goal.

An event goal is an important part of holiday party planning, and can even provide direction for future decisions. The event goal should contain the purpose of the event, key guest take-aways, and the statistics that define success.

Have an estimated guest count.

An estimated guest count narrows the list of holiday party venues. The right holiday party venue is like the old fairy tale: not too big and not too small. In plain talk, the ideal holiday party venue should be large enough for the crowd, but not too small that guests feel crowded.

In addition to having enough space, a holiday party venue should also have spaces needed for the event, such as (but not limited to) a kitchen for the caterer, restrooms, and stage (if mainstage holiday entertainment is part of the event schedule). If additional spaces (i.e. dining room, catering area)—or space—are needed, a tent can also be rented for additional space.

Set a budget for the holiday party venue.

Once the guest count is set, a budget should be set for every aspect of the event. This holiday party planning step ensures that adequate funds are allocated for key party elements. A majority of the budget should be allocated for high impact items, such as the venue, food, and entertainment. These are elements of a holiday party that guests notice and play a key role in determining the success of an event.

Narrow down the location.

Just like the real estate rule “location, location, location,” the location of the event venue plays a key role in the success of a company holiday party. Guests shouldn’t have to travel any farther to a company event than they normally do; how guests travel is another criterion on the event venue checklist. If the guest list includes out-of-town travelers or party goers who use public transportation, the right event venue is located near a bus or train (the “L”) stop. If unfamiliar with the area, contact an event planning professional to choose the right Windy City event venue.

Determine theme and event formality.

A holiday party theme gives an event direction, including in selecting right holiday party venue. The theme and venue should also fit with the event formality, such as a dinner club with a view of the Windy City for an adults-only guest list or a more whimsical and less formal setting for a family appreciation event. The good news is that there are many holiday party themes, such as Winter Wonderland, Santa’s Workshop, Tropical Holiday, or Around-the-World Holiday theme. The list of holiday party theme ideas is almost endless.

Make a list of amenities.

For some company holiday parties, event venue amenities are more of a necessity than a luxury. If main stage entertainment is on the schedule, it’s important to find a venue with the system and audio visual equipment to make it happen. (An experienced entertainment agent can also coordinate this detail for a smooth holiday party entertainment experience.) Other amenities can also complete the event: event equipment, handicap accessibility, parking accommodations, full service staff (i.e. coat check, bartenders, servers, set up & take down staff, etc.). 

office holiday party entertainers

10 Jolly Corporate Christmas Party Entertainment Ideas Guests Love

The popular saying is that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It can be IF you entertain guests with these corporate Christmas party ideas.

Any of these corporate Christmas party entertainment ideas fit with popular holiday themes or can be a holiday mainstage act. Best yet, these acts are perfect for almost any party guest list (to get the best entertainer, contact the pros for the right holiday act).


This mainstage Christmas party entertainer can be the source of endless laughs and conversation during and after a corporate holiday event. Best yet, high-quality acts can adapt their act to include jolly holiday jokes and details specific to the event and audience.

Holiday Show

This heartwarming and wonderful corporate holiday party idea delivers more than a projection screen ever could—and fits perfectly into a small workplace party or large corporate gathering. For a smaller group, this corporate Christmas party idea can include an afternoon out at a local theater. For a larger audience, the show can be brought into the party—and be a wonderful part of an event with décor and delicious holiday dishes.

Trivia Hour

A trivia hour is an interactive corporate Christmas party entertainment idea that bonds guests and keeps them on their toes. For a smaller gathering, this trivia hour can be conducted on a projection screen or via table cards. A larger corporate Christmas party can include a trivia show as entertaining as any television game show.

Holiday Characters

There are two perks of adding holiday characters to a list of Christmas party entertainers. The list of holiday characters is long and varied, meaning that a holiday party entertainer can choose any number of characters that fit with the party theme (or trust an entertainment professional to select the right holiday characters). Secondly, holiday characters can do as much—or as little—to entertain guests. Holiday characters can circulate with the crowd, serve as photo opportunities, serve as the ultimate surprise, or put on a show that gets everyone in the holiday mood.

Caricature Artist

If Christmas party planners are looking for an entertainment idea with that comes with fun at the party and after, a caricature artist is the perfect fit. A caricature artist can make paintings of select guests or group pictures that fit the occasion. Guests can enjoy the merriment while the artist paints, and for days and years after as they look at the wonderful artwork.

Tropical Band

Midwest winters can get cold, which is why a tropical holiday party is a huge draw when the temperature drops. A tropical Christmas party isn’t complete without the tropical beat to liven up the atmosphere and set the mood. This entertainment idea also comes with a variety of tropical acts; the right act fits with the desired atmosphere and gives planners options for entertainment.

Dueling Pianos

Dueling pianos are a unique holiday party act that delivers a wonderful afternoon or evening show for any guest list. The best dueling pianos can customize their act to the season, giving guests a wonderful variety of their favorite holiday tunes.

Father Christmas & Elves

Father Christmas and a band of elves is an entertainer for guests of all ages. These entertainers are a popular entertainment idea for family corporate Christmas party or an adults-only affair. Elves can also be part of a tasting experience, serving holiday dishes, or assisting with holiday crafts (like decorating cookies!)


This traditional Christmas party entertainment idea is as unique as the occasion. A country band can be the perfect entertainer for a country-themed holiday party. A dance party with a long song list can deliver an act suitable for any guest list. A professional can connect planners with the perfect holiday band that fits the party and guests’ expectations.

Small Office Holiday Party Ideas that Make a Big Impact

small office holiday party with man and woman laughing in front of Christmas treeIt’s holiday office party season in Chicago, and not every holiday party has to have a huge guest list to make a big impact. Mix up your company holiday party this year and avoid the same boring pot luck event; instead use these holiday party ideas for small companies that can make a festive impression and create an atmosphere of (fun) office good will.


If you want to make your office holiday party a jolly occasion, hire a comedian that can customize their act for your crowd. Don’t just settle for the office clown; select a high-quality comedian (or contact a professional that can connect you) that gives your office staff the “inside jokes” that float around the office until next year.

Game Show

Bring out the holiday and competitive spirit of your staff for a true holiday bonding experience. Add a game show to the office holiday party program for an experience your employees’ll talk about well after the holiday season.

Holiday Show

The holiday season is a hectic time for companies; it’s hard to find time for a company holiday party, but a break from the holidays can be just the ticket you and your employees need (together). Purchase tickets for a local show, or bring the holiday show to your workplace.

Father Christmas

If you need a larger-than-life character for passing out gifts, either to staff or for employees and their families (add elves for an unforgettable family holiday gathering), bring in nothing other than the fantastic Father Christmas. Choose your Father Christmas carefully; nothing but the highest-quality holiday characters can play the part.

Holiday Treat Fun

Holiday treats are a mainstay of the season, and can be a fun and interactive holiday party activity for a small office party. Decorate cookies together, swap recipe cards (for treats or healthy recipes), or bake a fruit cake perfect for a competition (or as a fun fruit cake launching competition).

Piano Duelers

For the perfect main stage holiday show, hire piano duelers that can add to the festive atmosphere. Treat your employees and their guests to this enjoyable holiday party entertainment—with all the fantastic elements of a holiday outing (such as a delicious meal!).


An interactive holiday party is more than a one-time event; it’s an anticipated and appreciated experience. Take your office mates out for a cheese or wine tasting (if you choose the latter, be conscientious of their transportation needs after) at their favorite restaurant or destination.


Nothing can add a touch of the holiday spirit to an office holiday gathering like carolers. Don’t subject your co-workers to just any group of bad singers; sub-par singers may give everyone a laugh back at the office, but it doesn’t add the intended festive atmosphere you’re trying to achieve.

Jazz Lounge

An office holiday party with a creative theme is a memorable date that’ll make employees look back on their calendars fondly. No office holiday party theme is more Chicago than a jazz-themed holiday; go all out with a wonderful venue and fantastic jazz singer belting out wonderful holiday tunes.