The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and jubilation — and yet for some, the Yuletide season brings nothing but dread. Why? Because it's up to them to plan their holiday office party. And if last year's festivities are anything to go by, there's absolutely nothing they can do to keep it from being a total disaster.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Despite what you may have heard, it is, in fact, possible to put together an office party that does not bore your staff to tears and drive people away before Yankee Swap even gets underway. Follow these four office holiday party ideas, and your shindig is guaranteed to be a huge hit with your co-workers.
1. Hire a caterer
Many an office party has gone down in flames because someone thought it would be fun to make it a potluck. That is a huge gamble. Every office has its amateur chefs and burgeoning bakers, but not everyone's dish is going to be a winner. Heck, it might not even be edible. Who wants to sample plates of questionable food? Not us, probably not you.
Play it smart and just leave the food to the professionals. Besides, this party should be about celebrating your staff and showing your appreciation for all the hard work they've done over the course of the year. Forcing them to cook kind of defeats the purpose.
2. Reconsider your gift exchange
Secret Santa, White Elephant, Yankee Swap — all fine ideas, in theory. In practice, not so much. How many people wind up receiving gifts they either don't want or can't use?
Rather than make employees play detective to find out what their co-workers would like or simply take a shot in the dark, use one of the several popular gift exchange platforms out there to make the whole process as pleasant as possible for everyone involved.
Elfster, for instance, has a Secret Santa generator that pairs up employees and lets them create a wish list so they don't get stuck with yet another lame coffee mug. You set the spending limit, and let the software do the rest. Everyone wins.
3. Plan a holiday happy hour
Don't overthink this one. Whatever your personal feelings on alcohol are, there's no denying that it serves a very important roles as a social lubricant during office parties. By making your holiday office party a happy hour, you encourage co-workers to come out their shells a little and actually mingle.
Not to mention, your staff would probably prefer ending the workday a couple of hours early rather than wait until 5 p.m. or later to get the festivities going.
4. Make a killer playlist
Your shindig needs a soundtrack, which is why you should spend some time putting together an amazing office holiday party playlist. People will be expecting some Christmas tunes in there, so be sure to throw in some classics that everyone can agree on — Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis" are both pretty safe bets.
Don't feel like you need to stick with that theme, though. Work in classics like Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" or Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," along with newer hits like Janelle Monae's "Make Me Feel" or Charli XCX's "1999." Get a solid mix so there's something for everyone to enjoy, and no one gets burned out on Christmas standards early in the night.
To really make your office holiday party playlist pop, you'll need a wireless speaker that's compatible with the most popular streaming services and supports high-fidelity audio. HEOS wireless multiroom speakers put you in control of your music wherever you go. Pair them with Amazon Alexa to switch tracks, change the volume or play different songs in specific rooms with just the sound of your voice. Whatever else happens, with a HEOS wireless speaker in your corner, you'll know you have your music needs covered.