Each year, most American companies host an office Christmas party. It’s easy to see why. But today’s most successful holiday parties are hitting it out of the park by transforming the tired celebrations of yesteryear into a smashing good time with next-level office event ideas. After all, “mandatory fun” that feels more like a chore than something to look forward to isn’t the best way to improve morale or celebrate your team’s contributions.
So how can you spice up the season (and just maybe, the punch) to take your office Christmas party from snooze-fest city to holly-jolly zone?
Take the Grinch Out of Your Office Christmas Party
Your holiday company party shouldn’t bring out everyone’s inner Grinch. Change things up with these office event ideas that will make the fun guaranteed, but not mandatory.
Go Anti-Dress Code
Sure, dressing up is fun, but when you do it every day for work, it’s way more fun to dress down. Then again, if your office dress code is super casual, making things black tie could be a fun twist.
But what if you took it to the next level? Here are some dress-up ideas we love:
- Ugly Sweater – the uglier, the better. This is becoming borderline tried and true, but never dull! In fact, some sweaters even light up.
- Santa Suits (or Hats) – what more fun than dressing up as our favorite jolly gift giver?
- Holiday Characters – make it themed (as in all Grinches, all elves, or all reindeer), or let each person decide. Either way, holiday costumes pave the way for a costume contest, bringing together the best parts of Halloween and Christmas (and making for lots of laughs and great photos)!
Not Your Father’s Gift Exchange
Almost everyone loves a gift exchange. But the key to upping the merry is by setting rules. Sometimes the wackier, stricter rules amp up the fun factor. Some ideas for you:
- Is it a white elephant exchange (think weird and cheap)?
- Is there a spending limit? If you set it at around $10, you can force your colleagues into creativity.
- Are there rules for what can be exchanged, how many times someone can trade a single item, or how often an item can be passed?
Participation shouldn’t be mandatory, but the sillier the gifts, the better the fun, and the more people will want to join in!
Games and Prizes
Speaking of silly, there’s no better way to get the laughter rolling than with games and prizes! Think outside the box for the people that win. Maybe you want to gift them cash, an extra day of paid vacation, or even an upgrade to their office (a new chair). So how can people win these?
It’s up to you, of course. We’ve already mentioned costume contests, so that’s a great idea. But what about door prizes just for attending?
Depending on company size, you can also dole out prizes for:
- Holiday karaoke
- Holiday trivia
- Winners of 2 truths and a lie
- Pin the nose on Rudolph
Go Offsite for Your Office Christmas Event
Even if you have the best company ever, there’s nothing that says “let’s celebrate” less than going back to the office on a day off. So unless you have an absolutely killer venue, take your party offsite.
Maybe there’s a great restaurant or a hot new brewery that has a room you can rent. Although sit down dinners don’t conjure up the idea of fun like they used to, you definitely want to have food on hand. Think about catering hors d’oeuvres for light fare.
If you do decide to serve more of a meal, don’t force meals and small talk on your team members and their families. Instead, let them sit (or stand) where they want…and choose what they eat (or don’t eat).
Perhaps your area has a hot new escape room or a murder mystery venue.
Better yet, rent out a movie theater and host a holiday movie marathon (or even just a flick or two!)
Photos or it Didn’t Happen
Don’t forget to plan for a photo booth! Including a photo booth at your next office Christmas party is essential. You can grab prop or backdrop ideas from our Pinterest board.
But better yet, you can snag an extra dose of Merry this year by signing up for a Onebooth account. You will be able to create any design you want to make your Christmas party even more magical.
Still not on board with a photo booth? If your office Christmas party has any kind of a theme (and costumes), your colleagues will flock to the booth. Better yet, you can engage the people who might be in the middle of the dance floor, because even wallflowers ham it up for a photo booth.
And, of course, what better way to talk up next year’s party than to remind your team how much fun they had this year!
Make it All About Giving Back
Of course, there’s another option for your office Christmas party this year. Make it about giving back. Sure, you’re giving your teammates a great party to provide them with another delightful reason to smile this year, but what if you took it to the next level?
Consider what might happen if you choose to add some extra magic into the season by making part of the event about giving back, perhaps to a local cause that makes the holiday a little brighter for area families.
You might not require your team to make donations, but you could offer to match employee contributions up to a specific dollar amount or consider hosting a canned food drive or angel tree as part of your festivities. If you really want to up your fundraising game, host a silent auction for some of the prizes we mentioned above, where proceeds for say, an extra day of paid vacation, go to the non-profit of your choice.
What’s more, you can always encourage them to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help the organization with up to 8 hours of paid time while they’re offsite volunteering.
Bring the Jolly to Your Company Party
The bottom line with these Christmas office event ideas is to give your team something beyond what they’ve come to expect. You don’t have to outdo yourself every year by going bigger and better, but you really should change it up.
Set some rules like “No Shop Talk” and encourage people to participate by giving them reasons they want to join in the fun. Who wouldn’t want to earn extra days off or feel better because they’re helping others?
With these ideas, not only will you take the Grinch out of the party, but you might just cement your place on Santa’s Good List.