How to Throw a FANTASTIC Christmas Party on a Budget

Planning an office Christmas party can be difficult- especially for small businesses that have very limited budgets. My years of planning and throwing holiday parties for my employees have taught me a few tricks I would like to share to help you throw a GREAT party. Use my tips to throw a fantastic party that will show your employees how much you appreciate them while staying within your budget!

A great source to tap for help when organizing your party is your vendors. Many of your vendors may be looking for a way to thank you for your business over the past year, and  contributing to your employee Christmas party is a wonderful way to thank not just you, but also all of your employees who help make your company great! Ask if your vendors can sponsor part of your party: this can be as simple as providing part or all of the food, providing entertainment for the party, or providing the venue and decorations.

Another great way to get vendors to help make your Christmas party a hit is to see if they can provide anything for door prizes or employee gift bags. Most of your vendors are likely to have promotional products that they would love to get into the hands of the people who seek them out to do business! This is a win/win situation in which you get more give-a-ways for your employees, and your vendors get their promotional materials to the right audience. Several may be willing to also donate a “big ticket” item for a door prize, and in return, just asked to be recognized for their donation!

If you do have vendors who are willing to contribute to your holiday party, remember to ask if they have representatives who could attend your holiday party. This shows your appreciation for their generosity and gives them a chance to mingle with the people they do business with.

Local restaurants are another great source when looking for help with your office Christmas party. Try approaching restaurants that are near your office where your employees regularly dine and asking if they might be able to help out by catering your party or by offering you a discount if you have your party at their establishment. Local restaurants may also be willing to donate gift certificates to use as door prizes for your employees as well. Remember, your company’s employees are their restaurant’s customers- and they want them to keep coming back!

The main thing to keep in mind when looking for help sponsoring your party, is to look for companies that will benefit themselves by helping you out, or that you regularly bring business to. Does your company have connections to any local hotels? Do you have a service that you could work out an exchange with an entertainment company or with a decorator? Look for the connections your business has, and how you can help each other out!

Small business can also look to each other for help when planning a Christmas party on a budget. If your office is part of a building full of office suites, consider joining together with your office’s neighbors and having a group party. This is a great way to get to know the other people in your building, and splitting fixed costs lets you save money on your Christmas party!

If you have any other hints or helpful ideas, please post them as a comment below on my blog- I would love to hear what great ideas my friends have!

In next month’s newsletter and blog, I will share with you my wonderful way to reward employees throughout the year, increase your company’s goodwill in your community, and prepare for next year’s Christmas party, plus one more benefit I will reveal when I post. Stay tuned!

Merry Christmas to all!

Helpful Holiday Hints

Welcome to my blog! I am using my first post to give out some of my expert advice on creating the perfect atmosphere for your event this holiday season! Read on and enjoy!

Every perfect holiday event starts with the right  atmosphere. Atmosphere is made up of four key elements: decor, music, lighting, and entertainment.

The right decor is essential for any occasion! Does your space look bright and fun? Or does it reflect elegance and luxury? As your guests arrive, the decor for your event will set the tone and the ambiance for the night. The size of your decorations should also be appropriate for the size of your event’s venue. Small pieces in a giant room will get lost, and large “statement” pieces in a small room will overpower the venue. You don’t have to hire a professional to help you decorate for your event, but they can be extremely helpful, and help save you a lot of time and trouble!

The second ingredient vital to creating the perfect atmosphere is music. A professional sound system playing music specially selected for your event creates the perfect auditory ambiance. If you don’t have high quality sound system, there is a trick to getting the best sound out of your boom box! Place the boom box in the corner of the room, about two to three feet away from the walls, and face it TOWARDS the corner. The walls will act as a sounding board so that the music fills the room evenly!

The music selection for an event is key to setting the mood also. During the holidays, music selection can be a little easier: there are many compilation albums of holiday music that make programming the music a snap! Whether you have a DJ for your event, or are  providing your own sound, make sure that the volume is at an appropriate level so that your guests can still hear each other talk while they are mingling!

The third element to creating your holiday party atmosphere is the lighting. Lighting can be a little tricky, especially at night, and may be one area where you may want to splurge a little and hire some professional help. If you do design your own lighting scheme, be sure to have some dramatic lighting mixed in with ambiance lighting. Tea lights placed underneath furniture is an inexpensive way to softly brighten a room and give it a warm holiday glow- just make sure that your lights are not creating a fire hazard. Candles create soft lighting also, and can be part of both ambiance lighting and decor. When using candles, you also should be cautious about the dangers of fire. Always safety first!

The final element used to create your perfect party atmosphere is entertainment. Once your guests arrive, you can’t expect them to entertain themselves, especially if you have a group of people who are not already acquainted. The best way to keep your guests entertained, is to provide two different kinds of entertainment: one they can step back and enjoy, and another that is interactive. Caricature artists or silhouette artists are a fun way to entertain your guests while they are there, and to provide them with a keepsake to remember the occasion by! Your guests can have their own caricatures drawn, or watch while others are being rendered.

You should also provide some kind of interactive entertainment at your event. Interactive entertainment helps your guests get involved in the festivities. The best kind of interactive entertainment involves your guests not only in the party, but also with each other! Your guest list may involve people who do not know each other very well, and having entertainment that serves as an icebreaker is a great way to make each person feel welcome! Close up “mingling magic” is a great way to bring people together into small groups, introduce them to each other, and most importantly, give them something to talk about!

Getting the perfect combination of the right decor, music, lighting, and entertainment is key to creating the perfect atmosphere for your holiday celebration! For more helpful hints, recommendations for quality professionals to guide you, or just friendly consultation on how to host the holiday celebration that will wow your guests, contact me, David Hira, at david@davidhira.com. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!