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Christmas should be a time for feeling joyful and uplifted, in all areas of life. Particularly at work, where you’ve been putting in so much of your energy, a festive celebration as the year wraps up is the perfect way to let off a little bit of steam and share a little appreciation with the people you’ve been working alongside.

Why is it then that over 30% of workers don’t even have a Christmas party? And, of those that do, more than 50% of them dread it? To us, this shows that winter workplace parties just aren’t cutting the mustard any more. Whether you find traditional parties too expensive or simply too boring, here are five ideas to spice it up a bit.

Ditch the Festive Theme

Cheesy tunes and scraggly tinsel? We’ve seen it all before. If you’re as fatigued by the conventional red and white colour scheme and the stifling Christmas dinner as everyone else, surprise your staff with something different.

Why not give the traditional Christmas theme a refreshing twist? Instead of fairy lights and Christmas trees, decorate your venue with mystical lanterns and leafy palms. Rather than tinsel and paper chains, treat yourself to velvet drapes and golden accents. Swap a predictable turkey dinner for rich curries or falafel and pitta. It’s a fresh new take on the festive season that is sure to intrigue your staff. See these unique Christmas themes at Arabian Tents for inspiration

Kill Off Your Colleagues

We don’t mean literally – no matter how much Mark from Accounting has got on your nerves! No, we mean organising a murder mystery night, where someone from your party is figuratively killed off and it’s up to the rest of you to figure out who did it.

These evenings can be completely tailored to your group, but typically involve a sit-down meal and entertaining actors that lead you on an intriguing storyline. Although a certain degree of participation is required (perfect for keeping outgoing personalities entertained), nobody is put on the spot or forced beyond their comfort zone, making them an ideal choice for a mixed group. You’ll certainly have stories to keep you amused for the rest of the year!

Do Something Practical

If you spend most of the year trapped behind desks, use a winter party as an excuse to get everybody involved in a hands-on challenge. The only limit is how wacky your team is prepared to be, so make sure you talk to your staff about what kinds of activity they’d enjoy – try to keep everyone included!

A company filled with thrill-seekers might appreciate white water rafting or go-karting, while problem-solvers and may want to try their hand at an escape room. What about chocolate making for a team of foodies? You could also suggest a trip to the theatre, a high-ropes adventure or a karaoke night. The important thing is to get up on your feet and have fun doing it.

The Non-Christmas Christmas Party

If Christmas is a stressful time of year for your business, there’s nothing wrong with throwing a big party at a different time of year instead. You’ll also find that people have better availability and there’s less competition for the best venues – it’s a win-win.

Does your workload ease up in January or February? Give your staff a reason to shake off those New Year blues! Prefer to throw a summertime event? Go all out – you could even make it winter themed!

The Budget Bash

Even if your company is very carefully managing its books to stay afloat, don’t miss the opportunity to thank your staff for their efforts. Budget cuts or redundancies might mean that a fancy venue is off the table, but you can still throw a party if you keep it simple.

Hosting the party at your workplace will keep your costs down massively, and you can take opinions from your staff about what should be included. Is everyone happy to bring something for a buffet, or would they prefer to share a few pizzas from a local delivery service? Do they want to dress up, or just wear silly Christmas jumpers? Ask if someone is willing to put together a quiz, or organise a few daft games to play with inter-departmental teams. The party is more likely to be a success if everyone feels like they’ve been involved, even if your budget is small.

Alternatives to Christmas parties

There are a handful of situations where having a Christmas party with your whole team genuinely won’t work out. Maybe you’re in the hospitality industry, where you can’t get all your staff together without closing your business for a day during the busiest time of year. Or, perhaps you work in a small start-up with just three or four people in the office. If you do feel that you’ve got a legitimate reason not to throw a party, here are a few ways in which you can show your team that you’re not just being a Scrooge.

  • Take your team for a long lunch instead of an after-hours party
  • Operate shorter hours or shifts over the festive period
  • Provide treats in the workplace – festive décor, snacks or music
  • Allow casual clothing throughout December
  • Run a workplace secret Santa
  • Give staff gifts – such as shopping vouchers 

When it comes down to it, treating staff to a few perks at the end of the year is a great way to show gratitude for their hard work and give them a little motivation boost for the next year. Isn’t a happier, more productive workforce at the top of your wish list?

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