If you’re in charge of planning your company’s holiday party, you probably are tired of planning the same old thing. You book a location, cater in some food, perhaps hire a DJ and hope for the best. Sure, you are achieving your goal of having the party and showing your employees you appreciate them, but if you’re bored with planning the party, don’t you think that maybe your employees are bored with attending it? Why not do something different this year? Shake it up and get everyone out of their same ol’ same ol’ routine so you can all have an amazing time! Of course, this may sound easier said than done, but when you start looking around and keep an open mind, you might be amazed at all the fun ideas there are for your party! Here are just a few of them.
Having your company party at a bowling alley is always a fun idea, but you can even take it to the next level by playing fun games, having themes and more. “Anything out of the ordinary usually goes over well,” states John Losito from Sun Valley Lanes. “We’ll play fun bowling games and have contests throughout the night as well as give away prizes. We’ve even had mascots walking around, costume contests and magicians here during private events. We are fortunate to have an area-exclusive scoring system that allows us to play games with the bowlers during the event. We’ll be happy to throw in a few team-based bowling games to help increase team chemistry within an organization. In addition to bowling, you staff can also enjoy billiards, air hockey, darts, shuffle board and many other games in our game room and lounge.”
“Some of the best parties we’ve seen utilize amenities like our stereo system, Glo-Zone bowling (lights out, glowing balls, pins and walls) and our computer scoring system’s ability to play different games (line 9-pin No-Tap or Red Pin) while your guests bowl,” adds Jennifer Davis-Korn with 48 Bowl. “Often companies will award their employees for striking when a color pin comes into the rack or will hold actual competitions with pre-assigned teams. If you give us line-ups ahead of time, we are happy to program them into our scoring and host a mini-tournament for you, complete with scoring results.”
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors! Consider renting a tent for your holiday party and really make an impact! Lori Miller with Lincoln Tent has seen some unique and fun parties involving tents over the years. “We have someone who does a Hawaiian luau every December,” she says. “He rents a tent and heaters and roasts a big underneath with tiki torches and the whole bit. It’s so much fun! We also had a person last year who had a concrete pad on their back porch, so we put a tent over that and heated it. She kept her double doors open all night and had her annual Christmas party that way. She said everyone is always in the kitchen, and this was a way to continue that tradition but not have everyone jammed all in one area.”
“We’ve even had someone drain their underground swimming pool for the winter, then we put our decking over the top of it and a tent on that and they had a party on the pool,” adds Lori. “They didn’t have a back yard due to the pool and didn’t want everyone in the house, so they came up with this idea!”
While having a tent party may not be all that unique in the summer months, it certainly will stand out in the winter! Think outside the box and talk with a tent professional to see what your options are.
Having unique entertainment at your party is a great way to make it stand out. Why not consider having a stage hypnotist come to your party this year and entertain your guests? “Everyone can get involved in a stage hypnotism show,” says Jeff Martin with Lincoln Hypnosis, “and it gives everyone a chance to have a good time. I do a clean but funny show where everyone can feel safe and secure. Anywhere from 75 to 300 people makes for a great show and the more people, the more fun you can have. The shows typically last around 45 minutes to an hour and the longer the show goes, the deeper people go into hypnosis and the more fun people can have. ”
“Hypnosis parties are a good option for those who are looking for something that everyone can enjoy and not worry about being embarrassed at,” adds Jeff. “I’ve done stage shows for over eight years in Texas, Lincoln and Omaha and a number of different areas. They are fun and funny, yet tactful. Some people who have been on stage even want to come up again because they had such a great time.”
A Party to Give Back
Why not make this holiday season about those who are less fortunate than you or your employees? Instead of spending money on a holiday party this year, consider working with a non-profit and bringing the whole staff in for a day to help out. You could wrap gifts for a store that serves low-income families, serve a meal at a local soup kitchen, help gather toys for underprivileged kids or a number of other things that will get your staff working together for a greater cause.
It’s not difficult to find a charity that needs help this holiday season. Do a little bit of research and choose one that either fits in with what your company does, has a similar mission or is close to one of your employees (perhaps one of your employees has a child with autism and you can work with a charity that helps support research to cure autism, for example).
You can even take it a step further and encourage your employees that, instead of buying each other holiday gifts this year, they can take that money and donate it to the charity you’ll be working with.
Progressive Holiday Dinner
If you’ve got a relatively small staff, a progressive holiday dinner might be just the ticket for a fun holiday party that will really help each employee get to know the others better.
Progressive dinners are held at multiple locations (usually each person’s home). The drinks can be served at one person’s home, the appetizers at another, the first course at yet another’s and so on and so forth. The main course or dessert can be held at your own home so that employees can linger at your home (wonderfully decorated for the holidays, of course) and meet your family.
You can make this extra special (and safe) by hiring a limo company to take all of the guests to the different homes so that no one has to worry about getting lost or driving after having a few drinks.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
Our staff actually did a white elephant gift exchange last year and it was so much fun! We reserved the party room at a local restaurant and were told ahead of time to each bring one serious gift (with a price limit) as well as a gag gift. After gathering and having a wonderful time visiting and eating, we all drew numbers.
The person who got number 1 chose a gift and unwrapped it in front of everyone. The person who got number 2 had the choice to either steal the first gift or unwrap a new gift. #3 could choose either of the two previous gifts or unwrap a new one and so on. With gag gifts thrown into the mix, we certainly had a lot of laughs. One gag gift was a signed portrait of one of the employees while another was a hillbilly belly button lint cleaner. This was so much better than getting individual gifts for each employee as we all got to enjoy every gift and have lots of laughs while opening them.
Why not make this year a unique one that all of your employees will remember? Think outside the box and come up with a holiday party that is anything but ordinary. Consider one of our above suggestions or talk with your colleagues about great parties they’ve held in the past. Start planning now and you’ll have a party that will make your employees feel appreciated as well as ensuring that everyone will have a ton of fun!