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How to Throw a Corporate Holiday Party That Will Actually Impress Your Boss

December 24, 2015

You’ve been put in charge of your the corporate holiday party your office throws every year. Yikes!

Chances are, you’ve never thrown a soiree of this magnitude before. Sure, you’ve put on a fantastic birthday or bachelorette party once or twice before, but this is uncharted territory.

Your boss, and all of your colleagues, are counting on you to throw a corporate holiday party that doesn’t suck.

Oh, the pressure!

Hold off on those panic attacks and take a deep breath. In the Event has tons of tips on how to throw a holiday party your workmates will love and your boss will walk away from impressed and smiling. Follow these easy tips to win your spot on the corporate holiday party host wall of fame!

1. Spend the Extra Buck to Make Employees Feel Appreciated

Hive ALTWhy do we even throw holiday parties for the office? Yes, it sets the standard for a certain type of office atmosphere, and it’s great to give employees the opportunity to mingle with corporate bigwigs. But really, the party is there to thank the employees for the hard work they put in day in and day out to keep the company going.

Knowing this, employee appreciation should be your first priority. And that means not being a cheap skate. It’s tempting to want to impress your boss by coming in way under budget, but if you’re doing that at the expense of the employee experience, all of those brownie points go out the window.

Making the employees feel good about working at your company doesn’t have to include handing out hundred dollar bills at the door (although I’m sure it would help). Here are a few ways you can make sure your colleagues are the stars of your corporate holiday party.

  • Don’t make employees bring their own food. As quaint as a potluck sounds, your colleagues won’t feel very appreciated when their home cooking instead of relaxing or spending time with family. Budget for catering—whether you do a sit-down dinner or buffet table—and give employees a good meal and a night away from the stove.
  • Offer door prizes. Especially if your holiday party is mandatory, you should reward employees for coming with a small gift bag and entry into a grand prize drawing at the door.
  • Give guests something to do. Not everyone will be great at schmoozing and may need a boost to get involved. Offer some fun activities like a free photo booth to capture how good everyone looks in their fancy threads, an LED dance floor and bumpin’ DJ, or some guessing or trivia games that will give shyer guests something to talk about.


2. Don’t Go Over Budget

As important as it is to not pinch every single penny, it’s equally as important to not go over budget. You can guarantee your boss won’t be impressed when you’re spending his money on an over-sized venue or 20 cotton candy machines.

Be realistic about what your budget can afford and do your research ahead of time. Consider the venue size, furniture, lighting, AV equipment, linens, and other components you many have to rent. And don’t forget about budgeting for the caterer!

Check Out These 5 Event Budget Guidelines to Live By!

Staying within your budget shows your boss you can be responsible and resourceful. Two qualities he’s no doubt looking for when considering promotions. If you aren’t confident in your budgeting abilities, reach out to an event planning professional for help.

Get a FREE Event Consultation From the Experts at In the Event!

3. Balance Food and Booze

sundance LED barThe last thing your boss wants to see is a lot of tipsy employees stumbling around the venue. If you plan to offer alcohol at the party, have the foresight to plan accordingly.

If the event will have an open bar, make sure substantive food is also served. Candy and nuts won’t do the job. Or, if you don’t want to serve a full meal, offer guests two drink tickets at the door to manage their consumption.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when the tequila shots start coming out, it’s time to close the bar. Make sure you and the bar staff are vigilant about catching overly intoxicated guests and have a system for getting people home if you know it’s going to be a boozy evening.

4. Moderate Noise Level

This is a tricky one. While it’s great to have a live band or DJ there to entertain guests, make sure the music doesn’t drown out conversation. A corporate holiday party needs to be fun, but professional. Employees shouldn’t feel like they’re in a nightclub at the office party.


Throwing your office holiday party is a big responsibility. But keep in mind that it wouldn’t have been handed to you if your boss didn’t think you were capable. Follow these simple guidelines to avoid any travesties and reach out to the experts and In the Event if you need a little extra guidance.

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