Category Archives: holiday company party

employees at holiday party enjoying corporate holiday party theme

Unique Corporate Holiday Party Ideas that Create a Holiday Buzz

These out-of-the-box corporate holiday party ideas can really shake up your company holiday party. If your holiday party has become stale, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and deliver a party with unique corporate holiday party ideas that create the office buzz.

Holiday party planning starts with a goal. What do you hope your guests get from the party? The goal should be specific enough to give the party a guest list (i.e. employees, employees plus family, etc.) and direction.

The next step is to choose a holiday party theme. A holiday party theme guides every decision and creates a cohesive atmosphere. For example, a jazzy holiday theme dictates the choice of venue, event time, menu, décor, and entertainment. This is a stark contrast to a Santa’s workshop theme in terms of décor, timing, and entertainers. (An entertainment professional can connect you to the right entertainers for any holiday party theme.)

From there, the event should start to take on a life of its own, especially when brainstorming ideas that fit with the theme. If you want to give this year’s festivities a new twist, add and promote these unique corporate holiday party ideas that pique your co-worker’s curiosity.

Memorable Photo Opps

Guests of all ages loves this unique holiday party keepsake. The theme and guest list dictate the perfect holiday character for the occasion. There are so many choices: Santa Claus, the Grinch, Toy Soldiers, Scrooge, the Gingerbread Man. For a large corporate party, hire a combination of characters so guests don’t have to wait to get their special shot.

Dinner and a Show

This company holiday party can be as intimate or as large-scale as the event allows. For a small gathering, invite staff members to one of Chicago’s wonderful theaters or movie theaters. For a larger event, bring the holiday show to employees (and their partners) together a wonderful gathering filled with spirit and networking.

Casino Night

A holiday casino is an adult party theme that promotes mingling and networking. This is an upscale holiday party theme that starts at the entrance with show girls, dealers, and entertainment around every table and station. For the full casino effect, end the night with main stage entertainment fitting of a casino show.

Throwback Holiday Touches

A traditional holiday is a party that takes guests back to another era. This could be an event with traditional family holiday details. A throwback holiday could be a nod to a specific milestone in corporate history and take guests back to the first years of the company or to another significant date.

Family Interactive Activities

This list of unique corporate holiday party ideas is aimed at parties with family guest lists. In addition to entertaining guests, these ideas also make great favors and photo opportunities. There are cookie making stations, balloon sculptures, face painting, gingerbread ornament stations, and other activities that kids’ll flock to. If the corporate holiday party has a large (and young) guest list, parents and children also enjoy magicians and jugglers who can customize their act to the holiday season.

Holiday at the Beach

A beach event is an unexpected holiday theme, but comes with unique corporate holiday party ideas that make it much-anticipated. Guests’ll appreciate the sounds of the steel drum band, the sea shell ornament favors, delectable beach-inspired menu, and cocktails that come with this unique party theme.

Around-the-world Buffet

If you want to leave the ugly holiday sweater theme behind, consider hosting an around-the-world holiday party. This corporate holiday party theme is the source of many ideas, including international games, entertainment, and dishes. In a large venue, guests’ll enjoy mingling from country to country enjoying unique tastes and sounds. In a smaller venue, those different tastes and sounds can be mingled into a diverse and coordinated affair.

Corporate Holiday Party Planning Checklist: 5 Must-Haves

holiday party planningCorporate holiday parties come in all sizes and shapes, but there is a basic checklist of must-haves for every corporate holiday party. From there “the devil is in the details” as they say, and the result is diversely different: a Caribbean Christmas getaway, a traditional holiday village, a night out at the holiday theater, a sophisticated winter wonder dinner. So before you start ordering table coverings for your corporate holiday party, sit down and start going down the basic checklist of corporate holiday party must-haves—or hire a professional who can.

Purpose & Vision

We put this must-have first because this should be your first step, and a definite must, in planning a successful holiday party. Nail down your logistics: date, time, budget, expected attendance, guest list, primary guest demographic, schedule (for invitations, save the dates, RSVPs, etc.) and theme. You don’t have to get too “themey” during the process but you should give your party direction so your corporate gathering is not a mishmash affair.


Apply the same concept to your corporate holiday party as you do to a real estate transaction: location, location, location. Try to avoid holding your corporate holiday party at your business—after all, that is where you and your employees are every other week of the year. Choose your venue carefully: based on expected attendance numbers, budget, location, holiday party vision, etc. If you feel lost trying to choose from all the choices, hire an event planner to narrow down your options.


Food brings people to your party, and good food keeps them there. Research your options to make sure that your event cuisine is more than just budget-friendly. Keep the demographic of your guests and vision in mind as you make decisions about the appetizers and cuisine for your holiday party.


The right entertainment is vital to bringing your corporate holiday vision to life, and to enhancing your guests’ experience. Notice the catch here: the right entertainment. Not every entertainer is right for every crowd; the right entertainers can take a fabulous holiday party to the next level. The wrong entertainment act can tank even the best-planned event. If you need assistance selecting the right entertainers for your holiday party, hire an experienced entertainment agent for recommendations. An entertainment agent can set an entertainment schedule for your holiday party and finalize all the details of your holiday party entertainment.


Atmosphere is a must-have for every event, and one of the hardest objectives on the holiday party checklist to achieve. It’s also an intangible that takes a fair amount of skill and connections to create. Frankly, it’s not something that everyone can produce so turn to an experienced event planner for the perfect holiday party filled with atmosphere. The result: a holiday party that checks off all your must haves, wows your guests, and leaves a lasting impression even past the holiday season.

5 Tips to Maximize your Company Holiday Party Budget

holiday party entertainersWith a large company payroll, managing your holiday company party budget gets more complex and sophisticated. The goal of a successful holiday party remains the same, and expectations for a fabulous company holiday party are high, even when trying to be strategic about expenses incurred during holiday party planning. However, it is possible to minimize your expenses and make the most out of every dollar in your budget, as long as you are realistic about the amount needed in your company party budget, and how you manage your holiday party details:

Book your venue during the off-season

If your company holiday party does not need to be held during the traditional holiday season, book your company holiday party during the off-season after the holidays. Venue rates tend to be lower (as well as the rates of other vendors as well), and the amount of available dates tend to increase. In the same way, book your venue during the off-season and during the more affordable venue times, such as a Friday evening, Sunday or weekday night.

Serve appetizers

Want to decrease the amount of the expense for drinks and refreshments? Hold your company holiday party between meal times, and serve appetizers at the party. If you serve alcoholic drinks, limit the amount “on the house” for your employees—or if you want to eliminate your risk and insurance costs, don’t serve alcoholic beverages at the party.

Manage the guest list

If you need to trim the guest list to match your budget, be tactful. Plan your company holiday party during company hours (such as a luncheon) or shortly after the end of the work day, with a tactful invitation for employees only. Another tactic is to limit the amount of guests each employee can RSVP. Whatever avenue you choose, carefully word your save the date and invitations to eliminate any future misperceptions.

Be conscientious about giveaways

If you plan to give gifts to your guests and you want to minimize your expenses, be strategic about gifts and be smart. You don’t want to give from giving a large gift to nothing, but you don’t need to give a gift to every person. Look at your past history of gifts, what you can afford this year, and strategically pass out those gifts accordingly. If you’ve never given out gifts in the past, remember your giveaways don’t have to be large—just appreciative in nature.

Don’t skimp on the things that count

You may be trying to limit your expenses, but you don’t have to look it at your company holiday party—and your employees don’t have to feel like they are taking the cut. Invest in strategic purchases that make the party special: impactful lighting, memorable entertainment that keeps your employees entertained, Father Christmas for your youngest guests, décor that makes a statement, a holiday show that can stand alone without hiring any other entertainers—touches your guests remember and appreciate. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance in selecting and hiring entertainers; an entertainment agent might have ideas that make sense with your budget, or might know how to selectively hire acts that make the most of company holiday dollars. With a little bit of time, effort, and strategy, your company holiday party can be the hit you’ve dreamed of—on the budget you’ve been given.