Christmas Party Planning

Christmas Party PlanningHave you ever had that out of body experience where you float overhead like a giant balloon in the Macy’s Day Parade?   The one where you look down and realize that you are volunteering to lead the Christmas party planning team?  

Let’s examine what an office party and a house party have in common.  In either location you will need to announce and invite to the event.  Prepare the flyer invite online to attach to email and print copies for the mailing.  You can use the social sites to prepare an event announcement and send the link.

Line up the entertainment.  This could be as simple as a collection of Christmas compilation music on cd playing in a stereo or could mean hiring a deejay or band.   A deejay costs less than a band, usually includes a light show, and they play exactly what you want.  

Decorations can be budget or lavish.   Holiday mugs from the local dollar store with individually wrapped treats topped with a candy cane are terrific keepsakes.   High budget parties can have toasting glasses of plastic but embossed with a holiday greeting and company name. 

Stretch your decorating dollars with strings of lights.  Rope lights come in different Christmas colors, are not hot to touch, and they can be wrapped or looped like a small garden hose.  The lights inside can be steady, blink, or chase.

Wrapping empty boxes like gifts is an affordable way to decorate your setting.   Tiny votive candles in little glass containers are inexpensive and cast a holiday glow on tables and other strategic locations.  Consider plastic and silk plants from a craft shop to use as tabletop candle companions.  Then pack them away for next year’s shindig.

From potluck to cater make sure that food ingredients are known.  The peanuts secreted in the recipe are a delight to some and deadly to others.   Concentrate on a variety of appetizers and keep them coming.  This should include vegetables to meat.  A selection of cheese is easy to put together.

Try to have people on hand to serve to avoid food being handled by everyone.  Do not serve anything where people can double dip.   Big appetite squasher to watch someone take a bite of a chip and then stick it back in the dip.

Alcohol versus no alcohol decision should be discussed ahead of time.    There can be liability issues for individuals or companies that serve these beverages to someone who is involved in an accident after leaving the premises.    Just be responsible.

What about kids?   Last year I set a room aside at the company party and at home I used my family room to make a welcome area for children.   I arranged for two babysitters from my church.  They took care of the very young children in one part of the room.   Older kids were pleased to find a row of television sets with popular game systems hooked up and a selection of top games.   Pizza, popcorn and other snacks were washed down with sugar and caffeine free beverages.

Be inventive.  We did a “Canned Film Festival” theme one year.  Guests dressed as their favorite movie character walked up a red carpet runner to our front door where they were announced as they entered with donations to the local food bank. 

My wife rented a player piano two years ago for an old-fashioned Christmas party.   Guests were surprised to learn that even today’s popular music is available on piano rolls.   My boss has a picture in his office of himself hamming it up at that piano.  He has a smile big enough to hold 88 sets of ivory.

Christmas party planning should be fun not frustrating.  There a few things as satisfying as creating a successful holiday event.  So make a list.  Check it twice.  Enlist some help.  Now go out there and deck the halls with balls of festive folly.

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Photo Credit: Kaptain Kobold