What You Need To Think About When Planning Your Christmas Party Part #2: Food, Drink and Entertainment

This is a continuation of What You Need To Think About When Planning Your Christmas Party Part #1 - Setting the Stage and talks about planning food, drink and entertainment and final tips for your Christmas party event.

5. The Right Food

Food is a key part of any event - and a Christmas party is certainly no different.

There are a few things to consider, primarily making sure you serve the right food to ensure your guests leave feeling satisfied! Next think about whether you should go for a buffet style dinner or a sit down meal and whether you should provide appetisers on the guest's arrival or make them wait for the main meal. If you've decide to provide a buffet or canapés then make sure there is enough food for everyone. You don't want people remembering the event because they left hungry.

Many companies go the traditional route when it comes to Christmas fayre but it's also worth considering doing something a little bit different (after all you'll probably find most staff will have a "traditional" Christmas dinner planned with their family). If you work with your caterers or booking agent they will be able to advise you on a variety of appropriate choices that are a little bit different and might make your event more memorable.

6. The Right Drinks

Types of drinks

Don't forget to provide both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices and make sure plenty of water is on offer. You might also want to offer something a little bit different e.g. winter themed coffee and teas, or perhaps even a hot chocolate bar. With so many choices it's important to set a budget so that your drinks bill doesn't break the bank.

Open bar or no open bar

Open bars can be very expensive and open to abuse as it's hard for bar staff to keep track of how many drinks each person's had so setting a maximum drinks limit is often a waste of time. Having an open bar also means you may have to limit what drinks are available - after all can you afford to have someone order a bottle of expensive champagne or wine?

A good option is to supply bottles of wine with the Christmas meal and perhaps throw in a cocktail to round off the meal and the night.

7. Entertainment

Choosing whether to provide entertainment and getting the entertainment right can make or break a party.

Not booking any entertainment at all

Most staff will expect some form of entertainment at their Christmas party. It doesn't have to be big or even fancy, in fact it could be something as simple as hiring a DJ or a band or even a magician. Without some sort of entertainment your party could end up feeling flat!

Leaving the entertainment booking until the last minute

The holiday season, especially around Christmas is a peak time for many acts, bands and DJs and the best ones will be snapped up by early. A common mistake that many Christmas party planners make is that they don't book their entertainment early enough and therefore miss out on the best acts and the best prices. Booking early, can mean you have more options at better prices.

Un-entertaining entertainment

Whether you hire a DJ, band or magician or something else make sure they're good. Do this by checking references or better still get recommendations from colleagues or your venue or booking agent. Worse than no entertainment, is bad entertainment. Who wants to spend the whole night listening to the same old Christmas songs that you've heard time and time again?

Not providing enough entertainment or the right entertainment

It's worth considering providing a variety of entertainment, if your budget will allow, and asking staff for feedback on what type of entertainment they'd most enjoy.

As an example you could have a magician or caricaturist greet your guests when they arrive or while they mingle, to get the celebrations started, and then follow this up with music as the main entertainment after dinner.

Not everyone loves a DJ or dancing for that matter but you can't go far wrong with a live band. Most people enjoy live bands - even if they don't plan to get up and dance, they can still enjoy the music especially if they play a wide range of songs that appeal to everyone.

As few additional last thoughts:

Don't expect the same levels of productivity the morning after! After being up late and drinking, most people won't be on top form. In all likelihood there will be a few sore heads the next day. Expecting people to turn up to work and be at their productive best the following morning is unlikely. However, you can try to get people back on task as soon as possible, and finish your Christmas party off in a nice way by providing coffee and biscuits or a bacon roll for those who couldn't face breakfast before leaving for work!

Don't forget to show your appreciation for all the great work your employees have done throughout the year. While the Christmas party itself is a lovely thank you, the nicest way to thank everybody is by actually saying it so take the time to at the event to thank your staff for all their hard work.

Don't send out your invitations at the last minute. Christmas is a busy time for everyone. Make sure you give everyone as much notice as possible.

Last but not least, have a great time!

Go back to the 1st part of this article.

Christmas Party Booking Agents

If you're looking for a partner to arrange your Christmas party booking then look no further than Booking Partners who can help you book and plan the perfect Christmas party. Contact us on +44 (0)330 022 8643 or via e-mail at reservations@bookingpartners.co.uk.

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