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Organising the annual office Christmas party can be a much-dreaded task. Not only do you have to cater to everyone’s needs, but you also have to stick to a tight budget!
Although this might seem like a nightmare-before-Christmas kind of scenario, when done right, it can be wonderfully fun!
So, if you’re looking for new ways to make the upcoming office Christmas bash a success, take some inspiration from these epic party ideas!
Work Christmas parties don’t necessarily mean a black-tie dress code and a cocktail reception. Indeed, there are many alternative ways to celebrate Christmas with your team, especially if you’re on a tighter budget or you work in a smaller company.
1. Comedy club night
Comedy nights make the perfect Christmas outing!
Find a spot in your city that hosts stand-up comedy shows, and arrange a reservation for your group. Who knows? You might all want to try your hand at comedy, too, if it’s an open-mic night!
2. Ornament-making party
An afternoon of arts and crafts could be the perfect party idea if your employees are on the more creative side of things.
There are endless DIY ornament-making tutorials you could use for this or, better yet, you could invite an artist to host a workshop. Couple that with some festive music, and you’ll have a perfectly jolly party!
3. Office-decorating party
Break out the Christmas decorations, play some festive tunes, get some hot cocoa going, and put your team in a jolly mood by spending the afternoon decorating the office.
This will undoubtedly create the perfect holiday atmosphere for staff, and it could also be the perfect time to have everyone exchange their Secret Santa gifts!
4. Pub quiz
A pub quiz is an excellent alternative if your company is on a budget. This is also a perfect way to encourage employees to mingle with each other and have fun while trying to come up with the correct answers.
The trick is to ensure that there are some good prizes on the line to keep everyone motivated!
5. Christmas movie marathon
Nothing can put you in a festive mood quite like some Christmas movie classics!
Assemble a list of the best festive films or, better yet, get your coworkers to share their personal favourites and create a poll. You could host your Christmas movie marathon at the office or someone’s home. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can create the perfect ambience with some fairy lights, comfy pillows, cushions and, of course, popcorn!
6. Around-the-world potluck
It’s vital that you take diversity and inclusion into consideration when thinking about office party ideas. It might be the case that some of your employees don’t celebrate Christmas, or they have different customs and traditions.
An office potluck is a brilliant way to celebrate employees’ diverse backgrounds. So, have everyone bring a dish that represents their culture, and host a tasting and storytelling night.
7. Group volunteering
An alternative way to celebrating Christmas with your team is to volunteer your time as a group.
Giving a helping hand to a local charity or shelter is an excellent way for your company to get involved in the community and for employees to form meaningful connections with each other beyond the realms of the office.
8. Christmas karaoke
Everyone loves a karaoke night; top that off with some classic festive tunes, and you’ve got a very merry Christmas party.
Plus, singing along to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’ won’t only put everyone in good spirits, but it will also help you get to know each other better. Indeed, nothing can help a team bond than sharing their musical talents — or lack thereof.
Book a local karaoke bar and let the fun begin!
9. Christmas bake-off
A baking competition is the perfect excuse for everyone to indulge themselves on holiday treats.
Get some contestants signed up and have them bake Christmas-themed sweets. Then, assemble a judging panel or have everyone at the office vote for their favourites.
And if you want to make your office bake-off even more special, this is a delicious way to also raise money for charity.
10. Scavenger hunt
An office scavenger hunt could be the perfect holiday activity for your team.
Divide everyone into groups and give them a list of clues for holiday items that you’ve hidden around the area. Have them take a photo at each checkpoint and reward the first team to return with all the items with a prize.
To make things even better, give everyone Christmas gifts after the hunt is over.
11. Boardgames night
Boardgames are a holiday staple. Indeed, nothing says ‘Christmas’ like a game of Monopoly (followed by an argument over its rules).
A boardgames night is a fun and easy way for your office to get together and enjoy some quality time as a group. Depending on the size of your company, you could divide everyone into teams and have different games set up at different tables. All you have to do is pick a location, gather some boardgame favourites like Cluedo, Pictionary and Scrabble, and let the games begin!
Christmas is the perfect time to splash out and throw an epically memorable party for your team. Not only will this make everyone at the company feel appreciated, but it will give them something to look forward to, too!
12. Christmas brunch
An office brunch is guaranteed to create some holiday cheer.
Surprise your team with bagels, muffins, coffee and other Christmassy treats, and let them mingle with their colleagues while enjoying the spread.
This is a perfect way to reward your team for all their hard work and get them excited for the upcoming holidays.
13. Costume theme party
A costume party will make the company soirée all the more memorable.
Invite everyone to dress appropriately, and add a fun element to the annual Christmas bash. As for the theme, the options are endless: from a Christmas masquerade ball to a Winter Wonderland!
14. Casino night
A casino night is guaranteed to make your corporate Christmas party a success.
Arrange for a fun casino hire in a fancy hotel function room, and invite everyone to dress in their best attire. The croupiers will provide everyone with ‘fun’ money, and your team will get to enjoy the thrill of gambling without making a dent in their bank accounts.
15. Boat party
A boat would certainly add a dash of panache to your office Christmas party.
Depending on your location, you could book a private party charter as your party venue. Don’t forget to arrange for some evening entertainment, too, such as live music and some Christmas games that will liven up the mood!
16. Murder mystery night
Who wouldn’t love a Christmas-themed murder mystery party?
While this might require a little more effort, it’s both incredibly fun and a great opportunity for some team building. Guests are all given a character at the beginning of the night, which they need to play throughout the evening. The first twist begins when one of the characters is murdered, and the rest need to figure out the culprit.
If you want to go the extra mile, get some props and costumes to help everyone stay in character.
17. Office awards ceremony
Christmas is the perfect time to recognise your staff’s achievements. So, why not roll out a red carpet for your employees and reward them (quite literally) for their hard work?
Start with your award categories: you could include awards for best dressed, most outgoing, most creative, best team player and, of course, employee of the year. Present everyone with certificates and prizes at a formal awards dinner, and end the year on a merry note!
18. Christmas dinner party
A corporate dinner party is a simple yet elegant option to celebrate the holiday season with your staff. Arrange a group reservation at one of the fanciest spots in town and give your team the chance to dress up and celebrate in style.
19. Après ski party
If you want to spoil your employees, a corporate ski trip should do the trick. A weekend getaway will certainly do wonders for team morale, and it will help everyone at your company enjoy some quality time together.
Find the perfect resort for your team, and celebrate the holiday season the right way.
20. Train party
This might be a niche office party idea, but it definitely has the ‘wow’ factor any Christmas bash should have.
Depending on your location, you could charter an event train as the setting for a unique party theme. You could even combine this idea with a murder mystery game and create an Orient Express theme for your event!
21. Fondue party
A fondue dinner party will definitely be a crowd-pleaser. After all, nothing spells ‘Christmas’ like a pot of melted cheesy goodness.
Depending on the size of the group, you will need at least one fondue pot. As for the other ingredients, arrange an assortment of bread, veggies and meats of your choice.
22. Cocktail masterclass
If you want to make the office cocktail party a little more exciting this Christmas, then this will be a nice twist!
Invite a professional mixologist to your event and have them show your colleagues how to create flavourful combos. Not only will your team get to enjoy their favourite drinks, but they’ll also get a thrill out of making them themselves!
23. Theatre trip
Winter is the perfect season to enjoy a good musical.
If you want to make the office Christmas celebrations all the more special, then treat your staff to a night of theatre magic!
Find out what’s on during the season, reserve the tickets and invite everyone to the show! You could combine this with some pre- or post-show cocktails that will get spirits high (pun intended).
24. Reverse Christmas-in-July party
You’ve heard about Christmas-themed parties during the summer, but how about a summer-themed Christmas party in December?
Ask your team to come dressed in their favourite summer attire and create a summery setup with exotic cocktails, popsicles and some beach gear!
25. Black-tie ball
Everyone loves dressing up every once in a while, and a black-tie ball is a great excuse to do just that.
Make the evening more magical by setting a theme for the office soirée such as Winter Wonderland or Chocolate Factory. Without a doubt, this will make the perfect backdrop to a sophisticated evening.
If you aren’t charge of organising fun Christmas activities for your remote team, then don’t worry: there are plenty of options to pick from!
26. Virtual bingo night
This is a great, low effort, but fun, option that is guaranteed to bring your remote team together.
All you have to do is gather your team in a video call, designate the bingo caller and distribute the tickets. You can use an online number generator for this, or simply find an online bingo app that will streamline the process. To make everything more exciting, offer prizes to the winner of each round, and have everyone show up in fancy dress and play some festive tunes in the background.
27. Ugly Christmas sweater party
The much-loved ugly Christmas sweater party is a classic for a reason. You probably wouldn’t catch anyone wearing a 3D LED light-up Christmas tree sweater any other time of the year, so this party theme is the perfect excuse for everyone to proudly march around in their ugly, but overly comfy festive, jumpers.
If you want to give everyone some extra motivation to participate, make sure to offer prizes to the person with the top-voted ugly sweater. Of course, you’ll also need additional activities to keep the party going, such virtual games and crafts.
28. Virtual talent show
Do your colleagues have a creative flare? If so, a virtual talent show could be the perfect excuse for them to demonstrate any hidden aptitudes.
Make sure to give people a heads-up a few days in advance and have them sign up for the talent show if they want to perform. Once you have a completed list, you could create a programme detailing each performance, and even designate a host who will present each participant as well as a board of critics that will offer light-hearted commentary after each performance. You can also have everyone cast their vote through an online poll and offer prizes to the winner and the runner-up.
29. Gift wrapping party
The days leading up to Christmas can be quite stressful, especially for those with young children, big families and busy schedules. So, why not help your team out by carving out some time for them to catch up on Christmas tasks, like gift wrapping and card writing, while also spending quality time with their colleagues?
Have everyone join a video call, put on some tunes, and let the wrapping begin! And if you want to be a bit extra, you could also hire a gift-wrapping expert to join you and show everyone creative ways to wrap presents and gifts.
30. Holiday trivia night
Trivia is a great option for online parties and gatherings.
Start by dividing everyone into teams — don’t forget to have them pick out festive group names as well! Once everyone is ready, present different categories to choose from: Christmas movies, Christmas music, Christmas history, etc, and start asking questions!
To keep the party going, you can also prepare other party games to alternate between, such as holiday charades and Pictionary. And if you have quite a big team, you could create rotations and have people play different games in virtual breakrooms.
Organising the office Christmas party might seem like a dull task at first, but with these epic ideas, your event will be the talk of the office! The trick is to pick a theme that’s in agreement with your company culture and to create a fun and entertaining evening that everyone will enjoy!
Join the conversation! Can you think of any other great office Christmas party ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
This article is an update of an earlier version published on 27 November 2019.