Organising the Ultimate Christmas Party: A Step-By-Step Guide

Christmas is one of those things, you think you have loads of time to plan it, but it always comes by in a flash. If we told you October is getting a little late to start planning your Christmas party, you might think we are being crazy. 

Whether you’re coordinating an event for your workplace, a community gathering, or a corporate celebration, we are here to guide you on how to host the ultimate Christmas party, and if it isn’t this year, you’ll be ahead for next year. 

From selecting the ideal venue to creating a festive atmosphere, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive “how-to” guide.

1. Define Your Objectives

Before diving into the details, set clear objectives for your Christmas party. Consider the purpose – whether it’s to boost employee morale, strengthen community bonds, or impress corporate clients. Defining your goals ensures a focused event that aligns with expectations.

Note these down! 

2. Choose the Perfect Venue

Selecting the right venue is vital for the success of your Christmas party. Consider these factors:

  • Capacity: Ensure the venue accommodates your anticipated number of guests.
  • Location: Opt for a convenient location with easy access.
  • Transport: easy to access via Public Transport (more so for the ride home!)
  • Atmosphere: Choose a venue with the right ambience to match your party’s theme.
  • Catering Options: Determine whether the venue offers catering services or allows outside vendors.
  • Entertainment Space: Ensure ample space for entertainment activities like dancing, performances, or photo booths.

The good thing with Christmas event planning is, loads of venues are prepared for it and have special packages on offer. But this is very time sensitive when it comes to booking it in. 

3. Set a Realistic Budget

Establish a budget that aligns with your resources. A well-defined budget helps you make informed decisions about decorations, catering, entertainment, and other event elements, ensuring that costs are manageable.

Do staff need to pay or contribute a portion to attend? This time of year can leave people strapped for cash, so make sure you give them plenty of time to pay.

If the boss is paying, make sure you have a budget listing all the items and timeframe of payments required.

4. Select a Captivating Theme

A thematic approach adds excitement to your Christmas party. Whether it’s a Winter Wonderland, Retro Holiday, or Black-Tie Affair, a theme guides your decor, dress code, and entertainment choices, making your event memorable.

5. Plan the Menu/Food and Drinks 

Food and beverages are central to any Christmas party. Collaborate with the venue or caterers to design a menu that caters to your guests’ tastes, including options for dietary restrictions. Remember, always encourage responsible drinking. More on that below.

6. Create a Festive Atmosphere

Enhance the festive spirit with Christmas-themed decorations. Think twinkling lights, garlands, wreaths, and a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Add a personal touch with customised signage, centrepieces or even a little takeaway (if the budget allows it). This is the most fun part! 

7. Entertainment Options

Entertainment is the heart of any Christmas party. Consider booking a live band, DJ, or unique performers for corporate events. For community or workplace parties, organise activities like Secret Santa gift exchanges or set up a photo booth to keep guests entertained.

8. Prioritise Safety

In the context of health and safety, ensure your venue adheres to all recommended protocols. It is recommended you send out an email to your employees with the best practice of behaviour this includes any policies on staff behaviour, drinking and arriving home safely.

Ensure you provide everyone with options to get home after the event whether it be by providing vouchers, easy access to Public Transport, designated driver incentives, accommodation, or a carpool/ bus. That way you know everyone can have a good time without having to worry about not making it home.

9. Invitations and RSVPs

Send out invitations well in advance to allow guests ample time for planning. Now you probably want to get them out ASAP and even a “save the date” is a good idea. Digital invitations can be an eco-friendly and efficient choice, enabling easy tracking of RSVPs. Encourage prompt responses to gauge attendance numbers accurately.

Also consider, will you be allowing a plus-1? Can people bring their partners? If so, you will also need to consider this in your budget planning and allow more time for receiving RSVPs to allow for any extra tasks like seating charts

10. The Big Event!

Many hands make light work. If you don’t have a team helping you out, see if you can wrangle some colleagues to help set-up on the day. Have a task list so you can make sure you keep on track and tick things off as you go to make sure you get everything done. 

Have a list (or have them in your phone) of the contacts of all the key people you need for the event. The caterers, venue, entertainment or transport. Whoever you may need a quick answer from or help on the day.

It’s also good to have access to any seating charts, runsheets, etc. at the ready as a back-up. The venue should also have a copy of this.

11. Post-Party Follow-Up

After the event, express gratitude to your guests for their attendance. Share event photos on social media to capture memories, the photobooth photos with guests and request feedback to improve future events.

Remember if you are taking photos at the event please advise everyone that photos will be taken and seek permission to post them on any social media channels or if they are being circulated elsewhere. 

Ideal Event Timeline

  • 3-4 Months Before: Define objectives and set a budget**. If there is going to be a working group, put an EOI out to see who else wants to help. 
  • 2-3 Months Before: Choose the venue, theme, and book entertainment.
  • 1-2 Months Before: Plan the menu, organise decorations, and send invitations.
  • 2-3 Weeks Before: Confirm details with vendors and receive RSVPs.
  • 1 Week Before: Finalise safety protocols.
  • Post-Event: Express gratitude and gather feedback.

**Now if you are running a bit behind, spend a little less time on the objective and budget but remember it is an important process. 

Our Top Tips for Organising a Christmas Party 

  • Try and have a couple of people helping you out. And when you do, delegate roles and responsibilities.
  • Start planning as soon as possible!
  • Remember to make it an event that everyone will enjoy. That said, you can’t please everyone so don’t be upset if you get complaints.
  • Make sure everyone has a great time – safely.
  • Keep staff in the loop as to what’s going on so they can plan for any expenses, babysitters, accommodation, etc.
  • Have fun!

Final thoughts 

With these “how-to” tips and a well-structured timeline from the Bonacci Agency, you’re well-equipped to host the ultimate Christmas party. 

Careful planning and a joyful spirit will ensure a memorable celebration that delights your workplace, community, or corporate audience. 

Make this Christmas period unforgettable with a Christmas party that will be talked about until next year! 

Need help, be sure to reach out!