Hosting Helpers for Company Holiday Parties

By Phyllis Cambria and Patty Sachs

If the thought of organizing another ho-hum holiday event for your office, plant or store staff is making you wish the Grinch really would steal Christmas, here are some expert tips for turning your party from blah to blowout!

Get Help

Organize the more social staff members into a committee. Not only will they give you input for party ideas, but by making them part of the process, you can guarantee there will be less grumbling about the plans made. Solicit ideas from employees by either collecting answers on a short questionnaire or setting up a suggestion box.

Let's Get Outta Here

If you normally hold your company party surrounded by equipment, computers, desks, store merchandise and piles of work to be done, it's tough for your staff to get into the holiday spirit. Move the party to another, more festive site. However, if you don't want to go the hotel or restaurant route, think outside the box and choose an art gallery, day-cruise ship, museum, country inn, ice rink or other non-traditional locale. Or pile the gang onto a chartered bus, serve snacks-on-the-go and tour your city's holiday light displays.

It's the Season for Giving

Most people like to give to charities during the holiday season. Make it easy for your employees to do so by setting up an area at the party where they can donate non-perishable food items and unwrapped toys. These then can be gathered and donated to a charity or two in your area.

When the Music Moves You

If you can't afford to bring in a live band or DJ, at least provide a quality sound system with a multi-disc player. Ask your employees to bring in their favorite CDs, set the player on random play and then put someone in charge of periodically changing the albums to ensure a variety of music. Another viable option for music is the use of your "in-house" talent bank. Musical genius may dwell within your employee ranks.

Peace on Earth

When the party is held in the afternoon, it's understandable if it's an employee-only affair. However, if it's an evening event, allowing your staff members to bring their spouse or a guest will go a long way to keeping peace, at least in their home. If you plan a family event, be sure to plan extra-special activities, refreshments and gifts for youngsters.

Be Responsible

Provide festive and delicious non-alcoholic drinks for tee-totalers. Depending on the circumstances, it's possible that you might find yourself liable if an employee causes an accident while driving home intoxicated from your party. Either limit alcohol consumption, provide employees with a ride home, or set up a designated driver car pool.

It is Better to Give--Real Gifts

When selecting a guest gift or take-home favor, avoid an item emblazened with your company logo. No matter how attractive or useful, it still serves as an advertising specialty rather than a true gift. A perfect present is one personalized with the name of the guest or at least one that has been specially selected for that individual.

This time of year affords you the ideal opportunity to reward your employees with a festive break from their daily pursuits. Your special occasion can also be a time for them to not only mix and mingle with each other but perhaps with customers or clients, as well. Your warm, friendly and fun gathering will be remembered and appreciated by your guests until the next holiday season.

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The Complete Idiotís Guide to Throwing a Great Party

by Phyllis Cambria and Patty Sachs

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