7 Ways to Amp Up Your Holiday Party

Do you dread the thought of planning another boring holiday work party? Is everyone less than enthusiastic about hanging out at the office for a few more hours? Never fear, we’re here to sort out your workplace holiday celebration. We’ll help you get IT mingling with Marketing, serve up some alternatives to cubicle parties, and more.

Here are seven tips to make your office holiday party memorable—in all the right ways.

1. Get your elf on. Pull out the jingle-belled sweaters, disguise yourself as a favorite movie character, or experiment with variations on elf apparel. Heck, start an “elfie” photo challenge among your staff. For added motivation, hold a contest for best/worst dressed in various categories—and make the prize something worth dressing up for. Offering an extra vacation day can really bring out the creativity in your office.

2. Field trippin’. Sure, it’s nice to kick back among the cubicles, but for a truly memorable holiday party—as well as a productivity recharge—try going offsite. Reserve a few lanes for some offsite fun at Bowlmor Lanes, and while you’re there, team up against your boss in a laser-tag tourney and enjoy a delicious drink at the bar.

3. ’Tis the season for giving. Make the event about more than merriment. The holidays bring out the sentimental and charitable in all of us. Tie your activities to an important cause or local charity. But remember—most of us are strapped for cash during the gift-buying season, so consider a bake sale or coat drive, rather than asking for cash donations.

4. Game-changers. If your partygoers are proving mingle-resistant, break the ice with low-pressure games. Heads Up and Who Am I are just a few ways to get everyone interacting, and they can be played anywhere, from the break room to the bowling alley. Build cross-departmental teams to encourage openness, or pit departments against each other to cultivate friendly rivalries.

5. Work-free zone. It might be tradition to have management say a few words, show a few slides, and get the ball rolling with 15 minutes about your fiscal projections—but some traditions aren’t worth keeping. Plan a separate meeting for the year-end facts and figures, and keep your holiday party festive and work-free.

6. Focus on the food. It’s not really a party without great food and drinks; if you’re gathering offsite, make sure your location covers all the food bases. At Bowlmor Lanes, for example, a customizable menu has something to suit everyone’s taste—from starters and salads, to drinks and desserts.

7. The more the merrier. The holidays are all about bringing people together, whether they’re coworkers, clients, friends, or family. Adding fresh faces to your holiday party can help your employees break out of the awkward trying-not-to-talk-about-work chitchat that haunts most work parties. The presence of family and friends relaxes everyone, offers new conversational fodder, and just makes the occasion more festive. And inviting clients or partners has the added bonus of solidifying business relationships.