It’s never too early to start preparing for that long awaited time of year when you and your co-workers get to unwind and enjoy each other outside of the office at the company holiday party. Holiday parties help keep up moral and make employees feel appreciated for all the hard work they have put into the company throughout the year. Unfortunately, in today’s tight economy, many businesses have been forced to cut back or even eliminate annual bonuses. So, more than ever before, a company holiday party can be a fun and cost-effective way to bring your team together to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments.
By implementing some, or all, of the following money saving tips, you can still have a company holiday party that all your employees will appreciate and remember in the coming years.
- Timing is everything. Host a luncheon instead of a dinner (but, don’t make your employees go back to the office afterwards!). There is a perception with dinner that guests don’t expect to see at luncheon. DJ’s, open bars, and extravagant meals aren’t typically expected at a nice luncheon. Your employees will also appreciate leaving a little early that day to finish up their holiday shopping or just relax during this busy time of year.
- Go straight to the meal. Many hosts love the idea of a heavy hors d’ouevres reception with various cuisine stations thinking this will save them money. However, this can actually cost more money because you need so many stations to make up for not serving a full dinner. On the flip side, you can cut back on the cocktail reception or dessert. Making these courses a little light, and keeping the primary focus the main meal, will certainly help save you money.
- Do it yourself centerpieces. More and more hosts are providing and making their own centerpieces for events. A collection of elegant candles purchased at discount stores can easily become a do it yourself centerpiece. During the holidays, small poinsettias are often discounted heavily at big box stores. Start with a decorating committee. You will find hidden talents in your associates while developing camaraderie at the same time.
- Play games!! Trivia is extremely popular with guests. Everyone loves some friendly competition. Trivia can range from holiday trivia to corporate trivia if you want to tie it into a theme. Or, organize a scavenger hunt at the party. For example, the first one to show an out of state driver’s license wins $5 or an extra raffle ticket, etc.
- Ask your vendors to contribute. You purchase from your vendors all year long, so why not utilize that relationship for your holiday party? Many companies frown on individual holiday gifts to the buyer, so ask your vendors to provide something that will benefit all employees. For example, vendors can sponsor the “open bar” or the “dessert reception” at your event, provide a favor for guests to take home, or donate a nice raffle prize for your associates. Be sure to brand what they are providing with their logo or name prominently on display, making it a great advertisement for them. Vendors usually don’t mind thanking their buyers for purchasing with them or getting their name out there.
- Bundle items. If you are getting a DJ and also want a photo booth, try getting them both from the same vendor in order to save money. Many vendors will offer discounts for buying more than one service.
- Save on the bar. It’s smart to cut the bar off at least one hour before your party ends. Switch to desserts and coffee before your guests depart. Not only is this providing a more responsible party, but you will save money on the bar price at the same time. You can also limit the drinks you serve, such as offering only beer, wine and soda. Another option is to offer a special cocktail of the night that ties into your party’s theme.