November is here already! If you are in charge of this year's office Christmas Party, then you should start the planning process now, so that you still have sufficient time to think about your options.

If you have read the first article in this series, 10 Golden Rules for Planning the Best Ever Corporate Christmas Party in The Fort, you already know the important points. Some of the points will be mentioned again here, as Part 2 is about the details in planning. We list the steps in order of priority, so that you do the important tasks that are crucial to the success of the party first.


Step #1 - Fix the date

Fixing the date is number one because you want to make sure that the people that you want to see in the party will be there. Parties are first and foremost about the people, right? However, do not just focus only on the honchos of the company. We should also make sure that the most staff can attend, so that they can pull in other people. There may also be people who need to be honored at the party, so make sure they are available on the selected date of the party. You may not be able to firm up the date too early, because people's appointments may change. The best way is to reserve two to three slots in the calendar of those who are most needed to show up at the party, and then firm up the final date at least 2 weeks before the earliest date, i.e. settle on one day so that people can release the other dates for other business.


Image source: www.meetup.com


Step #2 - Confirm the budget

This will limit your choice of venues and format, and save you time in dreaming about unrealistic options. It can also help you answer questions like can you afford to accommodate partners and spouses? Can we hire entertainers? And so on. But do not be afraid to be creative, like getting sponsors or donors.


Step #3 - Choose the format

Small companies can have simple parties in a nice restaurant, karaoke bar, trendy club, and can even do a two-part party, part 1 being a lunch or dinner, and part 2 in a different location like a bowling alley or spa. They can even share a party with other companies (pros and cons). Large companies have the resources to book a place for exclusive parties, and put up some spectacular entertainment to impress the employees and give them something to boast about. If your large company does not want to spare staff time to do the planning, you can buy packaged Christmas Party and let someone else do all the leg works.


Step #4 - Secure a venue

The earlier you make the decisions regarding suitable dates and desirable formats, the more choices you will have. In our follow-up articles, we will list out venues in BGC that are suitable for different sizes of company parties. In choosing a venue, the obvious criteria would be accessibility, food quality, style, cost, and number of people attending. If a party is to be held right after office hours, then a place within walking distance would be ideal, otherwise transport arrangement will add to the workload of the organizer. In BGC, where are so many restaurants and event places located amongst the office buildings, so it is not that difficult to find one within walking distance from the office.


Step #5 - Food and drinks

Good food is the basic requirement of a successful party. If you have a limited budget, we would suggest putting priority on food before venue: a pretty venue cannot make up for bad food, while good food will be remembered longer than an ordinary venue. Do not forget to be sensitive to people with alternative dietary needs, though. Unless you know the participants well enough to know that none of them are vegetarians, make sure there are some dishes that are suitable for vegetarians. Also, make sure that you've asked everyone if they have food allergies so their needs can be accommodated. In any case, a balanced menu, with some meat dishes, some vegetable dishes, some deep fried dishes, and some less oily dishes, is likely to be safe. If you have a chance to do a taste test, the quality of the ingredients should be the first metric to watch out for.


Step #6 - Prepare the program

A good program needs to allot appropriate time for the ceremonial stuff, like message from the boss, and fun stuff like games, as well as a balance between activity time and quiet time. Yes, quiet time for people to talk among themselves. Ceremonial stuff is necessary, table plan or not.


Step #7 - Book entertainment

The simplest entertainment is to hire a good singer, but if you want something different, there are many choices out there, such as hypnotists, dance acts, stand-up comedy, casino games, DJs for different music genre, etc. Your budget will put a cap on your choices, but still you will have to answer questions like: 

  • Does the entertainment suit the style and purpose of the event?
  • Have we thoroughly checked out the acts to make sure they are well-suited to our audience?
  • Do we have enough space for the entertainment?

Do not skip these questions even if you just ask your colleagues/staff to perform, unless you know the performers well.


Step #8 - Send invitations

Invitations must be sent on a timely manner (at least two weeks in advance if you want good attendance), with proper wording. Make clear in the invitation the type of attire required, and any other important points such as any consequence for non-attendance.


Step #9 - Coordinate with assistants and contractors

Many party disasters (or any disaster) are the result not of lack of planning or budget, but of inadequate communication. The next crime after that is to blame others for your miscommunication. The best way to avoid inadequate communication is to have an action plan with names of people responsible and involved indicated for each task. Distribute it, and then go through it with the parties involved in person. Some people are not good at reading notes while others are more likely to take assignments seriously if they are written down.


Step #10 - Be there

The organizer should be there to make sure everything works, and if not, take action. Sure, if you have many assistants, you can delegate most of the tasks. But either way, it pays to have you there to oversee the entire event.

So be a step ahead of the others and start planning your office's Christmas party, now that you have a checklist from us, which we hope will make your not-so-easy task a little more bearable.

*Featured image source: www.shakeitupsolutions.com

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