Office holiday parties have a bad reputation. On one end, they are open-bar fueled fodder for water cooler gossip, on the other they are a dull afterthought planned by an otherwise overworked staffer. If you are tasked with planning this year’s festivities, repeat this mantra: “I can do better.”
No matter what the budget (or lack thereof) office holiday parties don’t have to so dreadful and boring. They can be classy and fun. Every party is going to be different based on location, budget and office culture and demographics, but here are some theme ideas to get you started. Keep in mind that these theme ideas are a jumping off point only – if your party is on the smaller scale, you can incorporate one or two ideas into your party to make a big impact.
The ice or winter theme is a popular one, as it’s non-religious. This is one of the easier themes to pull off, as you can accomplish a lot with some blue uplighting and white linens. Snowflake gobos like these offer a lot of bang for your buck. Photo by Fun Factory Events.
Rustic winter décor is another popular one. This is a lot of branches, pine cones, maybe some twine and burlap. Hot chocolate bars work well in many of these themes, but there are a lot of cute things you can do with it here. Think about lanterns, candles, birch, etc. Photo via Shutterfly:
Another idea is the old fashioned Christmas, or historic Christmas. I thought about doing a Colonial Christmas theme last year to coordinate with the Thomas Jefferson impersonator we had, but we ended up tweaking the theme. Colonial Christmas is a lot of traditional Christmas decorations, a lot of greenery (wreaths, trees, swags), lots of candles and lanterns. The identifying factor for Colonial Christmas is the use of fresh fruit in the décor. Photo via The Daily Press:
Casino themed parties are popular around the holidays (and all year, but they often crop up during the holidays). It’s good from the standpoint of giving your employees something to do besides sit around and drink (although you can also stand around, drink, AND gamble – employers value multitaskers!). Most companies use fake money and award some sort of prize. There are companies that will rent out the casino games and tables, and even provide dealers and other staff. Photo via Theme Works:
Gatsby is big this year (thanks to the newish movie with Leonardo DiCaprio), so Gatsby themed holiday parties, or just general speakeasy, prohibition, roaring 20s themed parties are expected. Lots of feathers and fringe. You can make it seem more Christmas-y by incorporating some red and green. I’d add some fun signature cocktails and a cigar bar (if there were outdoor space. Photo via Theme Works:
I love the idea of a Narnia theme. It’s probably because I love the Chronicles of Narnia books so much. (I actually didn’t read them as I child, but when I was in college, but I fell in love with them and it’s one of my favorite examples of children’s literature). Of course, there is a lot of Christian allegory in the Narnia books, which might make it an inappropriate theme for your group. But I love the idea of the entrance being the wardrobe (from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe) into a winter-esque décor. Photo via Theme Works:
Bonus: years ago, as a way to promote the (at the time) new Narnia movie, Disney created a “walk-through” experience at Disney World. They did a great job creating the icy, ever-winter world of Narnia. You can see a bit of it here in this video:
There are just a few themes and ideas. With any theme that you choose, there are plenty of little touches you can include to make your holiday party special. Many of these decor ideas would work across themes. I love the idea of adding something simple like custom printed napkins with your logo or theme to help make your holiday event special.
Good luck planning! Share any ideas I missed in the comments!
(Top photo via BizBash )