The Holiday Office Party Nobody Wants to Miss…
and Five Cool Reindeer Games for the Company Christmas Festivities
By: Stefanie Rose Miles
When it comes to the holidays and work parties, people either really enjoy them or they dread/avoid them like the plague. Let’s face it, if you’re going to be hanging out with people from work not doing work, it should be fun. And if you’re the employer footing the bill, you don't have to go in the red to make the office Christmas party spectacular. This may sound very “ba humbug-ish” but if employees are asked to attend on their own time or even during work hours, it should be extra special. Employees should also appreciate anything extra that an employer does—no one has to do more than sign the paychecks. Business owners shouldn't feel as though they have to fork over some serious dough. Something as simple as taking a couple of hours of work time to collectively serve at a soup kitchen and then have the rest of the day off can be as appreciated as dinner and drinks at a five-star restaurant downtown. Know your customers and know your employees.
Something “special” would also be something different, possibly unexpected, definitely decadent, and maybe extravagant. If the party is a similar, annual tradition by preference or design, incorporate something new or unexpected. Try a different theme, live music, a photographer, or show a fun video of the year in review with plenty of feel-good and happy, recent memories. If the event simply cannot be at a different venue than the workplace, have the celebration in a different space or at least transform the area with the decor. Merely rearranging furniture and changing or adding lighting can have a dramatic impact. Add food and some merry music and you’re rockin’ around the Christmas tree.
If you choose a place and time away from work, consider sharing more of an experience. Attend a sporting event or a comedy club show, go bowling or caroling, or hire a bus or limo to go light-sight-seeing. These ideas make quite cool office outings. Be sure to allow for room and time for everyone to visit, adding to the experience. Guests invited to participate in something out of the ordinary will be most excited to attend. Besides, an office, holiday party should never be mandatory; that simply would be poor party etiquette.
The more formal, seated, dinner parties are not as popular as they once were, but if this is the chosen route, it’s wise to have a cocktail hour for mingling before guests are seated, and offer dancing or some activity after the meal. Having a comedian perform during or after dinner is a unique alternative to music, although music should be a part of the event if only in the background for ambiance.
A piano could make your next office party a huge hit—provided you have a willing and talented employee or hired-hand to play. Designate a specific time (after a couple of cocktails, if adult beverages are served) and have everyone gather around for some light-hearted songs of the season. Or maybe you can get things going with a little game of “name that tune.” If your pianist or guitar player for that matter, takes requests, that’s a bonus.
Most people can’t remember who won which Oscar or what they got for Christmas last year, but they can recall happy occasions and laughter. It’s fun times people spend with others that far outlast all the ribbons, bows, and bonuses (well, for the most part.) Liven up your work crew and make some mega memories playing reindeer games—holiday-related parties or fun activities. Encourage everyone to play, but participation is another thing not to be required. Below is a list of few cool holiday party games we refer to as Reindeer Games.
▪ North Pole Pictionary/Charades: Play just like traditional Pictionary or charades, but come up with words and phrases associated with the holidays, not so easily drawn or guessed. The words, Christmas tree, present, and star are probably NOT ones to use for the Pictionary version.
▪ Holiday Who’s Line is it Anyway: Find and write down quotes from various Christmas/holiday movies spanning decades. Write them down with the name of the characters who said them. Have a game host read them and teams guess or less formally, have whoever raises his/her hand first.
▪ Yuletide Trivia (or narrow it down to) Christmas Movies and/or Carols Trivia: There are actual games, ’Tis the Season Trivia and Christmas Trivia, but making your own questions with some added office humor is best.
▪ A Holiday Roast: Choose one or more people who consent well ahead of time to take the hot seat. Let all others know (perhaps by including in the invitation) and give them an opportunity to address the roast-ee in the old Dean Martin Roast-style, as long as it’s tolerated by HR. This could make for an overall office Christmas party theme, especially if someone of prominence is retiring AND has the humor for it. Another idea is a Roast exclusively for such an occasion as a retiree party or even a New Year’s Eve Celebration.
▪ Customized Night before Christmas or 12 Days of Christmas: Have a few creative minds collaborate and write your very own, detailed, company’s or office’s version of one of these classics and have it read/sung during the party. It might make a fun party favor printed for each guest or sent in an email, and must be captured on video.
Whatever your business, whatever your budget, celebrate work and make your office holiday party an extra-special occasion this year!