The corporate holiday party has the power to boost team collaboration and get your entire company pumped to do big things in the new year. (After a little vacation, of course!)
But then why do so many holiday parties fall flat with people standing around making the same small talk they make any other day? It’s simple, that’s just not how friendships are formed – at work, or anywhere. Real friendships are made by accomplishing things together. Or going to inspiring places and forming memorable experiences. Your holiday party should strive for the same. To help you out, these are our top 5 ideas for holiday parties this year.
Keep it interactive.
Creating an event that’s interactive and focused on completing a task together will keep everything lively and help boost team spirit.
There will be plenty of holiday parties this year where everyone just sips their drinks with no real plan. Your event can go against the grain. It can get people moving, thinking, and having some good-old, well-structured fun! Here are some of our favorite interactive ideas.
Mixology Class: Mixing a proper drink takes way more ingredients, tools, and skills than most people have on hand. A group mixology class, like one from N2 Mixology, gives attendees all the supplies and knowledge they need to make that perfect drink. Also, you’ll be drinking, learning, and working together. A triple threat!
Improv Workshop: Improv has long been the secret weapon of corporate professionals. It keeps you sharp, listening, and above all – always building on other people’s ideas. It may seem intimidating for some, but once they realize there are no wrong answers, they’ll be hooked!
Themed Gift Swap: Possible themes include: “TV shows that get memed too much by coworkers”, “things for adventures,” “sparks creativity or joy,” or even something like “only most ridiculous mugs.” The bottom line, tailor the gift swap to something your team will think is fun.
Throw a party before Noon.
A party in the morning/early afternoon, possibly minus the alcohol, can be just the refresh that co-workers need. ProTip: Let everyone off by 2 pm and it might just be the best party ever.
Around December, everyone is ready to relax and catch up on family time. Planning a daytime event makes this more than possible. It also means that employees can chat and hang out when their minds are most fresh! Here are some great daytime event ideas:
Brunch at the Park: Cook up a perfect brunch at the park or have it catered by a local restaurant. Make it family and kid-friendly with games or relays. Maybe even invite a coffee and tea truck so that everyone is perfectly caffeinated into the afternoon.
Morning Hike: A short, low-intensity hike will get everyone walking and talking early in the morning. Look for local hiking event groups like The Los Angeles Hiking Company. Oh, and if you plan a hike instead of having that big morning meeting that week you’ll be the toast of the town!
Football, Softball, or B-ball tournament: There’s nothing like a little competition in the morning to bring everyone closer together. Encourage employees to bring the whole fam to watch and cheer. Keep the good food and good vibes all day.
Create a virtual experience with your remote teams.
A virtual event can be one of the best and most stress-free ways to bring together large, remote, or international teams.
Remote and hybrid work is still very much happening. It’s also likely your business hired employees from different time zones and countries over the last few years. A virtual holiday party will make it easy to get your entire team into one room for the holidays. These are favorite virtual ideas:
Party in a Linkroom: Linkroom is the only virtual meeting space where you can walk around, chat, and explore, all while looking just like yourself (not those awkward 3D avatars). The best part is that it’s even easier than Zoom. No goggles, no downloads. Just click and you’re!
Coffee or Tea Tasting: The beans, leaves, and brewing equipment are all delivered to attendees’ doors, and master baristas walk your team through the secret steps of making a perfect cup of coffee tea. Check out services like Krafty Lab or Driftaway for more info.
Inspiring Speaker + Q&A: Is there a celebrity, artist, or entrepreneur that your employees never stop talking about? If so, surprise people with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to listen to and talk to someone they look up to. You’d be surprised how many public figures are open to virtual events simply because it’s so simple and stress-free!
Dinner with a view.
Dinner at a museum or sports stadium, with the whole place to yourself, can have an air of magic to it. (Everyone has seen Night at the Museum right?)
Taking your co-workers to a restaurant is not super creative, just being honest. Also, there’s nowhere to walk around, and nothing that really inspires. Throw some art or scenery in and it’s a whole different ball game. Here are our favorite dinner spots to spark some creativity.
Night at the Museum: Almost every city center has at least one modern art museum and one natural history museum, such as MOCA, or the LaBrea Tar Pits. These spaces are more than happy to host corporate and non-profit events. Co-workers can eat, stroll the museum grounds, and get inspired by art and natural history along the way!
Dinner at the Stadium: Baseball season is sadly over for many fans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still throw a party at a stadium. Check out the MLB for a range of spaces that fit any event size. You can chill in a penthouse overlooking the stadium, takeover a sports bar, or get right down there on the field. Just don’t forget to bring your glove for some catch!
Host a charity event.
A charity event is a perfect way to boost positivity amongst your team, and most importantly, give back to the local community.
Sometimes the best events are the ones where we feel like we did something meaningful and real together. Event planners such as Outback Teambuilding, Firefly Events, Wildly Different, and many others, can provide dozens of options for charity events, for both virtual and in-person teams.
Some charity event options include: A bike-building marathon, creating superhero kits for kids or care packages for veterans, or simply completing random acts of kindness all from a Zoom screen.
Whatever you do, make it memorable.
A memorable holiday party, one where employees work together, get inspired, and leave feeling like friends, is maybe the best kind of party.
Planning interactive events such as mixology or improv classes will be far more rewarding than just drinking and chatting. Getting everyone outside before noon can be one the best ways to build in some family time and maybe even blow off some steam on the softball field. And if you really want to plan something real for your team, then a charity event is the way to go. But however you plan, make it a party that your team will smile about until next year.