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WORK-LIFE BALANCE / DEC. 01, 2016
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6 Alternative Office Christmas Party Ideas

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Workplace Christmas parties offer some of the most bizarre, yet potentially great nights in/out of the holiday season. Giving colleagues a chance to interact with one another outside the restraints or social protocols of the workplace, office parties can, renew professional commitment, promote bonding and friendship. One thing that should be avoided at all cost, however - is mundaneness. Keeping things fresh every year is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, here are some alternative party ideas to try this holiday season.

See Also: How to Write a CV for a Seasonal Job

1. Christmas Dinner Party

Nothing promotes bonding and communication better than breaking bread with someone. This type of Christmas Party, not only helps show your employees your appreciation, but food and drink allows people to relax and communicate, in a neutral environment. The point I would like to emphasise here is that a ‘neutral environment’, is much friendlier than your office.

Although having snacks while standing around the office and drinking cheap champagne might be much cheaper than footing the bill at a restaurant, you will get paid back in productivity (and profits) in the end.

Benefits:

  • Family Friendly
  • Intimate
  • Promotes bonding

Choose the restaurant depending on its ambience and cuisine, taking into consideration the tastes and style of your workforce. Will your employees feel most at home in an upscale restaurant? Would they be more comfortable at a slightly more casual steakhouse? When choosing remember this is supposed to be an occasion not just a drink after work. If you want to take your employees to a sports bar for wings and beers, do it spontaneously not for the office Christmas party.

2. Head to a Comedy Club

Unlike the more common suggestion of just ‘heading to a club’, this option is worth consideration because it is more likely to accommodate everyone in the office. I mean, who doesn’t like to laugh? Well, everyone likes to laugh, but not everyone has the same level of tolerance, so make sure the comedy club you choose is as inoffensive as possible.

Benefits:

  • Inclusive
  • Family Friendly (depending on venue)
  • Laughter is a great ice-breaker

Most comedy clubs offer a wide-ranging food menu, so there’s that taken care of; and of course, they all have bars - meaning those who wish to drink can and those who don’t - needn’t feel obligated to. With varied bills on all nights of the week, comedy clubs in the UK host emerging talent from all over the world at extremely affordable prices.

3. Theme Park Christmas

We live in a very adult orientated world, advertisements on billboards are sexy, stores are sexy, even some Christmas catalogues are sexy. Basically, everything is sexy. There are very few types of entertainment that are family friendly, and if you have many family people on your staff, then that might be a problem when trying to organise a Christmas party. That is why having your holiday party at a Theme Park might be the perfect solution.

Benefits:

  • Very Family Friendly
  • A great opportunity to meet employees families
  • Varied types of attractions for everyone

Most theme parks also offer package or group deals meaning that you will be able to get the tickets at a discounted price. Parks usually offer food, drinks and rides to keep your employees and their families smiling. This alternative party idea has the potential to be a truly unique experience, something that your employees and their families will remember for a long time to come. Sex might sell, but mice ear hats and roller-coasters make everyone happy!

4. Activity Holiday Party

In the same general category as a theme park another alternative venue for a Christmas party is engaging in a group activity. Depending on your staff and their fitness level, you can go from a moderate activity such as Karaoke to a more physically demanding exercise such as rock-climbing, horse-riding or go-carting. You can even do something like paintballing.

Benefits:

  • Highly physical games can promote team-building
  • Facilitates communication
  • Promotes teamwork

To add another level (and to motivate party-poopers to participate) try setting a reward for the winning team or individual. It doesn’t even need to be monetary; you could offer extra days off or if available a private office. Don’t raise the stakes too high, though; you want this to be about enjoying the games, not a cut-throat gladiator-like competition with injury and dismemberment.

5. Go to a Christmas Market

Every year, the towns and cities of the United Kingdom all host their own version of a traditional Yuletide market. Nothing really elicits more Christmas cheer than mulled wine, pastries, beer and meat. Rows and rows of booths with Christmas crafts completely decked out in holiday appropriate decorations. Not only does this activity help bonding amongst employees, but it’s also very family friendly.

Benefits:

  • Moderately Physical
  • Puts participants in the Christmas spirit
  • Opportunity to bond with employees and their families

Ideal for seasonal workplace celebrations, there are few things that could be considered overbearing or exclusive about this type of activity. Whether Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Atheist, old, young, male or female - I GUARANTEE that you will find something delightful to eat.

6. Hold an Employee Awards Ceremony

Hosting your own Employee Awards Ceremony could be the perfect way to mark the climax of the festive season in your workplace, it can be a fun and humorous way to break the ice and get people chuckling. Of course, you could take the semi-serious route, but the utterly absurd one is most recommended, so long as everyone has fun and no-one gets offended and starts to cry (which can happen especially if alcoholic refreshments are involved).

Benefits:

  • Fun and humorous
  • Novelty
  • Great opportunity to create camaraderie

Have departmental nominations a week or so before the ceremony; you can host it in the office, at a 5* star restaurant suited to the max or a hotel banquet hall to give it extra holiday flare, depending on budget, open voting and let the hilarity commence. Of course, no matter what the location you choose or your budget allows, a little Christmas decorating can go a long way. I’ll leave the finer details up to you, though for maximum comedic effect I’d advise that you name each award after a relevant inside joke and get the office clown to perform master of ceremonies duty. Another fun way to make the competition a little interesting is to create a betting pool (with candy or chocolates, not money) on who will win in certain categories. 

Your workplace may be one of rigorous routine. If so, you’ll probably have little use for my suggestions, or maybe you should take special consideration because you need a boost in morale and engagement(especially if Office Christmas Party and Jennifer Anniston are to be believed). Be sure to let me know if you use any of these ideas and if they go down well.

See Also: How to Convince your Boss you Deserve a Christmas Bonus

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