How to make your Christmas party not suck

October 15, 2015 Uli Aschenbrenner No Comments

It’s nearing that time to either freak out because sh*t needs to get done, or you’re casually winding down the pace in anticipation of the holidays coming up.

In either case, before you whip out the booze and streamers, it’s worth thinking about the type of party you’re going to have. Let’s face it. Not everyone enjoys Christmas parties as much as they should. There’s the awkward conversations, the rowdy bunch, maybe some inappropriate flirting (or more), and the person who gets wasted an hour into the party.

To help alleviate weird situations, get started early by discussing some party ideas. Appoint someone to be in charge of organising things, suggest a few options and let people vote on what they’d like to do. Yes, I know, not everyone is going to agree. Just make an executive decision with what seems to be popular and start with that.

To get things straight, you can’t have a Christmas party in any other time of the year than December. Just …no. It’s weird, and it’ll be awkward. In addition to that, don’t wait until the day before Christmas to have your party. Have it a week or two before.

Now that we’ve agreed on when you’ll have your party, keep in mind that everyone is having their party around that time, so to avoid disappointment, you’ll need to decide and book early.

Starting the evening

If everyone is happy to participate, kris kringle is a nice way to start off the evening. It’s cliche, and you’re probably going to get something crap, but that’s the point. It’s just something to be able to foster a giving spirit. If it’s good, people will be happy. If it’s crap, people will have something to talk about.

Write down everyone’s name in a hat, have each person pick a name out of the hat at random and allocate a budget such as $15-$25 for a gift. You can either leave people up to their own devices, and hope they’ll get each other something thoughtful and nice. Or make it silly by only allowing purchases from the $2 shop, or something that starts with the letter of the person’s name. At the very least, you’ll have some excitement from handing out and unwrapping presents.

A nice way to get people into the mood is to have everyone write down something they admired about each other or the work they did throughout the year. If you can’t think of anything, try harder, it’s not much to ask. Just the small act of a compliment or recognition for their work goes a long way, and if you’re the boss you should probably give a speech at this point – please, before you get drunk.

Even if you are keen, keep in mind that not everyone wants to get drunk at a Christmas party. So try not to revolve your party around alcohol. Make it something people can actually do.

Prevent awkwardness

If you have a ping pong, foosball or another workplace game, kicking off the party with a championship is a great way to warm people up and remove awkwardness. Rather than just playing all-out competitive games, try to mix it up with doubles, or alternative versions/rules of the game such as ‘round robin’ ping pong. Make it fun and stupid.

The game not only avoids the awkward conversations, but also gives people something to talk about later if they’re stuck for conversation.

If you’re trying to run things on a budget, a good way to have a party is by having a BBQ. This not only gets people outdoors in the sun with the chance to play cricket, soccer or footy, but it also helps to give people something to eat before they start drinking like a fish and end up flopping about.

If you do host your own party, remember to bring some portable speakers to play some music, and perhaps some rugs to sit on. Bringing and Eski with booze is a cost effective way to provide drinks, but just make sure you check local regulations in case drinking is prohibited in the area.

Whether you’re hosting a BBQ or dinner elsewhere, don’t forget to bring Christmas crackers – they’re filled with hilariously horrible jokes that everyone will hate, but enjoy opening.

If you can afford it, it’s nice to invite partners of staff along to the party. It makes it less awkward, and it can help people to get to know each other better. And if you’re feeling really generous, you can even have two separate parties; one for families, and one for adults.

Regardless of what you decide, rather than hosting the party in a single place, try and move things around. By moving around you keep people interested, and also give people the opportunity to leave if they’re just keen to get home without feeling awkward or impolite. There’s nothing worse than being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be.

A nice little gesture is to pay for people’s taxi or transport back home. There’s nothing worse than the idea that something happens to someone during the Christmas holiday because they were too drunk to get home safely. At the very least, if someone’s had a few too many, make sure someone see’s them off safely – into a cab or at the station. Stopping people from drink-driving home after a Christmas party should be a given, but it’s here as a reminder. Don’t drink drive.

If you’re looking for ideas, here’s a list to help get your team into the festive season:

  1. Park party
  2. Bare foot bowls
  3. Bare foot bocce
  4. Bubble soccer
  5. Paintball
  6. Laser tag
  7. Bowling
  8. Boat/yacht cruise
  9. Winery tour
  10. Zip lining/high ropes
  11. Segway tour (c’mon, they’re ridiculous, but as if you don’t want to try it)
  12. F1 racing simulator
  13. White water rafting
  14. Escape room
  15. Comedy gig
  16. Clay pigeon shooting
  17. Chef challenge – cooking class
  18. Surfing school
  19. Sand sculpting challenge
  20. Amusement park

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