Category Archives: corporate holiday party planning

8 Unique Chicago Corporate Holiday Party Venue Ideas

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesThe foundation of planning a corporate holiday party is the right venue. While some businesses in the Windy City choose to hold their festive company gathering at company headquarters, others opt for a more creative off-site venue with all the holiday spirit and amenities there is to offer. For the latter, we’ve compiled a list of creative holiday party venue ideas to use—-as well as holiday entertainment options that boost company holiday party attendance.

Theater

One of our unique Chicago theaters can be quite the draw for corporate holiday party guests, offering unforgettable entertainment and the perfect setting for a themed holiday party gathering. As an added benefit, depending on the theater, this option gives companies the flexibility of holding an afternoon show away from the office or a formal evening affair. If the theater doesn’t offer entertainment during the holiday season, contact a local entertainment company about their options for a memorable holiday show.

Sports Venue

A sports stadium can be the perfect host for a one-of-a-kind event, such as a venue near Wrigley Field. For a more sophisticated atmosphere, choose a venue packed with interesting sports history, charm, and amenities. These venues can be pubs or a site filled with sports displays, such as the Chicago Sports Museum. To attract a more active crowd, opt for a venue with numerous gyms and spaces for activities that can keep guests moving and entertained.

Museum

A museum can give your corporate holiday party guests something to look forward to—and Chicago has so many wonderful museums to choose from. There are obvious choices, such as The Museum of Science and Industry of the Museum of Contemporary Art, or other wonderful museums throughout the Windy City that are suitable for an adult guest list. These holiday events can be themed to fit the venue and can be paired with appropriate cuisine and entertainment (contact us to help locate the right combination of venue and entertainers). For a family holiday event, pair one of Chicago’s children museums with holiday characters (i.e. Father Christmas, Toy Soldiers, Elves, etc.) to create a draw that employees and their families flock to.

Room with a View

The Windy City has some breath-taking views that capture the attention and leave guests talking even after the corporate holiday party is over. There are a number of options in Chicago, such as the Metropolitan in the iconic Willis Tower or the City View Loft. When guests are not enjoying the views, entertain them with one of Chicago’s favorite bands, orchestra, dueling pianos (playing holiday tunes), or a comedian that is as high-quality as the view (contact an entertainment agent to select the entertainer that fits the atmosphere and holiday party budget).

Historic Venue

Chicago is full of historic venues with unique details and one-of-a-kind stories. These venues can be the perfect site for a vintage holiday party. Depending on the venue, the event can be a jazz lounge from the Roaring 20’s or a classic diner party. Contact a local professional to select the right historic venue for the desired atmosphere and location for the target audience. Location should always be a factor when choosing a venue; this simple step can increase attendance and accessibility for guests.

Wine Cellar/Brewery

ice bar for charity eventsA wine cellar or brewery can be a fantastic site for a corporate holiday party venue, creating a unique backdrop and an opportunity for enjoying local tastes while networking. Add an ice bar to add a holiday flair while guests mingle and enjoy the local tastes of the Windy City. Contact an entertainment agent to locate the right wine cellar or brewery for the specific gathering, then follow up to combine a unique venue with exceptional entertainment that takes the event to another level. There may be some legal risk associated with holding a corporate holiday party at a venue associated with alcohol; contact legal counsel and an insurance provider to ensure that all bases are covered.

Bowling Lounge

A bowling lounge is the perfect foundation for an upscale and entertaining corporate holiday party. To find the right bowling venue for the desired atmosphere, contact a local and experienced Windy City entertainment agent. 

Aquarium

There is no other Chicago venue like the Shedd Aquarium. Holiday party guests are going to rave about the displays and breath-taking views of Lake Michigan. Guests can enjoy the sights and décor; to up the ante, add subtle holiday entertainers (like carolers!). For a corporate holiday party, there is not another holiday party venue like Shedd Aquarium—or a more memorable one.

7 Entertaining Corporate Holiday Party Themes

employees at holiday party enjoying corporate holiday party themeEvery company holiday party is different, but there is a commonality among the successful holiday office gathering and corporate holiday event: direction. A corporate holiday party theme provides just that, guiding the decisions for almost every corporate holiday party detail. We’ve listed several corporate holiday party themes, along with the holiday party ideas that make these company holiday gatherings festive—and the entertainers that make them memorable (and a frequent topic of conversation around the water cooler!).

Ye Old Christmas

A classic holiday party should embody all the tastes, scents, and décor of a traditional holiday. Think gingerbread, cranberries, ice skates, and all those cozy and old-time holiday associations. The exact décor and entertainers depend on the audience demographic and desired event atmosphere (contact an entertainment pro to choose the right entertainer for the holiday event).

Entertainers: Home for the Holidays show, Carolers, Toy Soldiers, Father Christmas

Tropical Christmas

A tropical holiday theme warms guests up in spite of the cold Midwestern winter. In addition to a warm and welcoming venue, tropical theme details should make the holiday party feel like a day in a tropical paradise. To that end, tropical beverages, cuisine, and décor are a vital part of establishing a holiday party paradise. Contact an entertainment pro that can select the right high-quality corporate holiday party entertainment to complete the formula.

Entertainers: Steel drum band, Mariachi band, Reggae band

Winter Wonderland

With a Winter Wonderland theme, bring the beauty of an ice-cold winter day indoors (without subjecting guests to the freezing Midwestern temperatures). This beautiful corporate holiday party theme can be brought to life with snow-colored décor (and even a hint of shine like the snow of a bright day, if that is your desired atmosphere), strategic lighting, and all the tastes that warm up a cold winter day. For a twist, a Winter Wonderland can be altered to a Blue Christmas holiday party theme with blue décor and beautiful lighting.

Entertainers: Carolers, Home for the Holidays show, Father Christmas, Atmospheric musicians, Bands

Holiday Movie

Themed parties centered around a favorite holiday movie are a holiday party guest favorite. Use the primary guest demographic to determine the right holiday movie for the event. From there, choose the right entertainment, food, and décor that makes the movie a holiday classic.

Entertainers: Grinch, Scrooge, Celebrity Impersonators, Home for the Holidays show

Santa’s Workshop

A Santa-themed event deserves a venue with all the details that guests picture at the North Pole—plus Kris Kringle himself. Pack the corporate holiday menu with festive treats and activities that guests flock to, including a visit by the Santa Claus. If gifts are a part of the corporate holiday program, make sure to have elves on hand that make the delivery a jolly holiday memory.

Entertainers: Father Christmas, Elves, Carolers, Toy Soldiers, Musicians

Holiday Ball

A holiday ball should be a grand corporate holiday event, complete with the multi-course dinner, décor, and atmosphere completely fitting of a formal reception. Picture an elegant venue with an over-the-top holiday atmosphere. Treat guests to a hearty holiday menu that is fitting of a sophisticated palate, a formal reception with lighting and stylish décor, and the entertainment that ties it all together.

Entertainers: Aerialists, Carolers, Atmospheric musicians, Bands

Around-the-World Holidays

This corporate holiday party theme celebrates the holidays with all the event details from holidays around the globe. From the moment guests walk in the door, create a holiday party atmosphere that transports guests to another place with international tastes, décor, and performers.

Entertainers: Steel drum band, Mariachi Band, Reggae Band, International Performers

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Venue for Your Holiday Party

businessman headed to corporate holiday party with Santa hat and presentsIf you want to make it an even merrier holiday season for your holiday party guests, choosing the best venue for your company holiday party is key to success.  To assist you, here’s our gift: tips to help you choose the ideal venue for your corporate holiday party.

Choose a venue in line with the goal of your holiday party.

One of the first steps of planning a holiday party is setting a goal.  Once you have a clear and specific objective for your holiday party, screen potential event venues based on your goal. For example, if your goal is to show appreciation for your employees’ families, look for conveniently located family venues.  For a holiday party with a goal targeted at your employees, research venues that are in line with the type and formality of your affair.

Get started on a guest list.

For a variety of reasons (including safety) and optimal results, make the size of potential venues a key set of criteria in your holiday party venue search.  With regards to budget, pay special attention to any minimums imposed by the venue to ensure that you are not charged for more guests than you expect to attend your holiday party.

Ask for recommendations and expertise.

Professional advice can be worth its weight in gold, especially when the success of your holiday party is on the line.  No company wants to invest their time and efforts into holiday party planning and not achieve their goal.  If you are not familiar with the city where you are hosting a holiday party, such as our national clients who host a corporate event for location employees in Chicago, contact a local event planner that knows the area and can make venue recommendations or plan your holiday party for you.

Set a budget.

Knowing your budget for your party and venue—and not going over that number—is a key component in any holiday party venue search.  If the budget for your holiday party budget is tight, allocate your resources into areas that make the biggest impact on your guests: food and entertainment.  To ensure that you don’t blow your holiday party budget, ask event venue staff for a final invoice with charges to avoid add-on charges (i.e. set-up, overage, etc.).

Be aware of your holiday party needs.

There are various needs that the guests of your holiday party need: acoustics, amenities, audio visual, kitchen, event equipment (i.e. tables, chairs, etc.), full service staff (i.e. coat check, bartenders, servers, set up & take down staff, etc.), parking, handicap accessibility.  Vet your holiday party venues with those event needs in mind. If you need a full kitchen, discuss your options with venues in your desired area.  Depending on the weather, if your event venue doesn’t have an on-site kitchen, you may be able to bring a tent in for your catering needs (even during winter).

Use atmosphere to plan the details.

Once you’ve determined and set the practical criteria for choosing your holiday party venue (budget, space for guests, purpose, location),think about what kind of atmosphere you want at your holiday party.  With your desired atmosphere in mind, plan all your event details so they play into your holiday party atmosphere.  If you are planning Santa’s workshop, choose a venue with adequate space for a village and tree, and hire entertainers that make your guests feel like they are visiting the North Pole.  If you don’t have a large budget for décor, select a venue with ambiance that doesn’t require a lot of décor—the success of your holiday party depends on it.