Sometimes having the company holiday party before the holidays can get tricky. Your employees have family in town, or are going out of town to see family. Deadlines approach and the office gets a bit crazy. The last thing you want to think about it trying to figure out the best time to squeeze in a holiday party with everyone’s schedules.
Well, this year why not consider having your holiday party after the actual holiday season? Not only will this allow you more time to plan a memorable holiday party, but also help accommodate more employee schedules. Having a party after the holiday season also provides something for the employees to look forward to until the next holiday rolls around. “One of the best reasons to have a holiday party in January or February is the availability of nights may be more conducive to everyone’s schedule,” said Cherie Anderson with Venue. “As a busy mom/employee, I don’t have a night to spare between now and the New Year. You would get a more relaxed, enjoyable version of me after the holidays and your guests would be more likely to look forward to an evening out with co-workers.”
“My experience has been that companies hold holiday parties to show their appreciation and to say thank you to their staff,” stated Annette Marquez with The Perfect Occasion. “Saying thank you can be done after the holidays as well as during the season. The holiday season is a wonderful time for celebrating with family and friends. However, with so much happening, the fun often gets lost in the stress of trying to do too much. After the holidays and a couple months of winter doldrums, the idea of getting together with work colleagues for a party can be much more appealing.” She added, “You should always plan ahead. I recommend booking suppliers six months in advance, otherwise you will likely discover that the preferred caterers, venues and other suppliers are booked on the preferred date. You might also want to consider hiring a professional event planner for all or at least part of the logistics.”
Here are some places to consider for your after the holiday party destinations:
“After holiday parties are great for a number of reasons, everyone is scheduling holiday parties from Thanksgiving through New Years so the dates and times that you want to book can be difficult to come by in our centers. Also, you will be contending with your employees spouses work parties, your own holiday shopping list, the earlier nights and all of the extra stress we sometimes have fitting in the merriment in the four weeks between holidays,” said Jennifer Davis-Korn with 48 Bowl.
The bowling alleys with 48 Bowl also hold theme parties for your employees to enjoy. “The theme we are starting to see in our centers is the 80’s – which would be a wonderful idea to have your employees come dressed up in big shoulder pad blouses, Miami Vice suits, neon colors,” stated Jennifer. “A theme can add a lot of silliness and your employees letting down their guard and even showing their creative side. Depending on the time that your party is booked, we can also play music that would fit your theme! Keep in mind that even though bowling is our thing, we also book our bars for parties and we’ve got great American-fare food at both centers, craft beers on tap, wine and a variety of spirits. We’re seeing more and more wedding receptions, birthdays and retirement parties in our bars so think about it for your holiday party, too.”
The price rate for the bowling alleys varies on when the party is booked and the number of people attending. “If you book your party during the winter months, which would be November through March, you are still subject to peak rates. However, for groups of 20 or more people, we can save you the cost of shoe rental, which is $3 per person,” Jennifer said. “No matter what time of year you’d like to book your party, do it as far in advance as possible. We see groups year round. Also, have this information in front of you before you call: event date and time, group size, food and beverage needs, your budget and any other special instructions.”
If you are looking for some place off the beaten path to hold your holiday-after party, why not consider Main Street Café in downtown Lincoln. They love holding holiday season because it eases the stress of the season for their staff and business.
“One issue I have run into is that for staffing or even people who are looking to attend the event, is that they have family events that they have going on and for staffing it’s hard because we have students that are gone for the holidays and or have finals to study for. We are not able to staff appropriately for some events overall around the peak holiday season,” Lawrence Chatters from Main Street Café said.
Starting next year, Main Street is looking to host more corporate events and to rent out rooms for meetings. “We really don’t have any specials right now because are prices are already pretty low to begin with,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence suggests talking with your employees before scheduling your party to make sure they are going to look forward to the event. “My first recommendation would be to have employees talk about certain events that occurred at work that had an emotional tie to them. It’s always great to talk about certain events that made you happy or laugh at events because it boost moral and brings people together. Another recommendation is to have games, exchange gifts or have a fun theme to the event. All of things are sure to make your next event memorable and bring everyone closer together and makes people happy to work at the business.”
Another option to consider for your after-holiday-party is Sun Valley Lanes. They get booked up fast during the holidays, and frequently host parties after the holiday season is over. “There are several reasons why it might be better to wait, including the availability of your favorite location or schedule,” Shawn Herout with Sun Valley said. “Some businesses might be very busy during the holiday season, so adding a party might be more stressful to your staff at that point. Waiting until business slows might be a better option for your company.”
Sun Valley Lanes also holds themed parties. “We have seen many themed events over the years, but we can also provide theming with our scoring system. Theme options include: prehistoric, fairy tales, Halloween and disco. Anything that has people dressing up in costume is always fun. Awarding prizes for best costume encourages participation as well,” Shawn said.
Sun Valley has party packages as well. “All of our party packages are discounted as they are bulk purchases. We offer an additional discount on our party packages over the summer months, as that is our “slow” time of the year,” Shawn said.
This holiday season, Sun Valley recommends taking your staff to the bowling alley for some good old fashion fun. “Bowling is America’s largest participation sport, with more than 70 million people bowling at least once a year. Bowling appeals to a large variety of people and can be played by anyone. We are a state-of-the-art bowling facility and have recently improved our food and beverage options to provide some additional high-end menu options. We can customize a party package for small groups to large corporate events.”
“Most venues have a lot more availability after the holidays,” Angie Lewis of Corky Canvas said, “so take the time to find something unique and really show your employees that you appreciate them.” The Corky Canvas offers guests the chance to paint their own unique canvas, led by a professional who can guide them the whole way. With no painting experience necessary and a full bar, your group won’t be able to have anything but a great time! And, if you book your party in January, you even get two free bottles of wine.
If your employees are looking for a little adventure after the holiday season, then hosting your after-the- holiday party at VictoryQuest is right up your alley! “Sometimes it’s better to have your company holiday gathering after the holidays are over because it’s simply easier to coordinate everyone’s schedules in January than it is in December. For most people, December is packed with obligations to family and friends and the flurry of activity to get ready for the holidays makes scheduling a company function compete with everything else that’s going on during this busy season. When you schedule your company gathering for January or even into February, you are more likely to have more focused attention from your team members and the ability to achieve your goals of rewarding people and also highlighting goals and plans for the new year,” Doug Pfeifer of VictoryQuest said.
VictoryQuest offers a discount to business that book events for team building purposes. “VictoryQuest is currently offering a $500 discount to companies or groups that book a team building, wellness or retreat event during January, February or March for groups of 25 or more. Whether you’re looking for a unique location to host a retreat, a catered meal event, a strategic planning meeting, a wellness or team building event, VictoryQuest offers inspiring programs that can come to you or be hosted at Camp Gargano just minutes from downtown Lincoln,” Doug said.
VictoryQuest wants to help make your employees stronger as a unit and the build the team up to something powerful. “Some ideas to make your after holiday party special and unique include inviting a guest speaker with an inspiring message, hiring some unique entertainment, conducting interactive activities that help people get to know each other and to work together to solve a challenging task and have fun together. These approaches can all help strengthen personal and work relationships and hence develop all members on the team on a deeper, more wholesitic level,” Doug said.
At Victory Quest, you won’t just get a party but a team building experience as well. “The other thing that I would like to add is that if you want to get a different result, you have to do something different,” Doug said. “Determine what the objective is for your company gathering and if it is more than just having annual dinner and drinks together, maybe an unique Team Building, Wellness or Retreat event with VictoryQuest is worth a try this year.”
No matter where you decide to have your party, you can always come up with a fun theme or other enjoyable ideas for your party. “When deciding on a theme, don’t overlook the guests’ preferences,” explained Annette Marquez with The Perfect Occasion. “If the goal is to say thank you, consider what your employees like and your budget allows. If your employees love an elegant evening out and your budget allows, then by all means design your event accordingly. If your employees are much more laid back and prefer casual, then go that direction. Once you decide what your employees would like to do, then the theme, location, etc. will fall into place. If you don’t know what they would like to do, ask. You can design a simple ‘ballot’ and ask them to fill it out. Names should be optional.”
When it comes to coming up with ideas for your party, Jeremy Schafer with Top Shelf Beverage Catering suggested, “Do something different and fun! Everyone has already had their fill of traditional holiday parties. We have many people booking different types of tastings. Whether it’s wine, beer, tequila or any other spirits, it’s an interactive way for people to sample and learn about something new. Top Shelf does wine blending seminars, which are a fantastic way for people to team build, have fun and work together to blend a great wine. We usually have prizes for the best blends, wine names and descriptions. We’ve already had some hilariously comic events!”
Of course, food can make nearly any party! Monte Conrad with Surf & Turf suggests, “Get simple things that are already prepared like fresh cooked shrimp cocktail, fully cooked cocktail crab claws (shell cap removed), fully cooked split Alaska King Crab legs (normally crab is too much work for company), calamari salad, seaweed salad (something unique and fun) or honey smoked salmon (a full side for appearance or available in smaller increments as well). A quality seafood product will have your guests buzzing!”
This holiday season, don’t try and cram a holiday party into an over-filled schedule. Your employees are all busy too, so waiting to have your holiday party after the actual holidays could make for a better turn out.
Give one of these places a try and give your employees something to look forward to after the holiday fun is over. We all know the next holiday is Valentines Day and we need something to give us a little holiday cheer to get us there.