Seven tips to throw the best end of year party
Year-end functions can sometimes be a hit and miss affair – it’s hard to please everyone and often expectations around the party are over the top.
If you’re looking to shake things up or simply organise an amazing function that will be the talk of the water-cooler for the next year – here’s how you can impress your boss and give your colleagues an unforgettable part: seven fantastic and do-able ideas that will elevate your humdrum office party to the stuff of legends.
1. First things first, where?
So you’ve been struggling to find that quiet spot with lush, green grass that Susan in accounting wants while trying to meet Mpho’s demands for a great buffet where the tables aren’t on top of each other.
Don’t opt for a boring restaurant event – rather go all out and rent a venue just for the team. A venue like The Canvas Riversands in Fourways, Midrand could be just the thing you’re after. It’s got big, rolling, lawns with bright, airy, open indoor and outdoor spaces that you can decorate to suit your needs. The cherry on top – delicious food options that won’t break the bank. The Canvas has a variety of catering options starting at R380 per person with options ranging from delectable buffet style, plated meals to spit braais and cocktail parties. And you can justify the costs by considering this a combined end-of-year party/team-building exercise.
2. Theme Away
Now that the venue is sorted and you know what kind of space you have to work with – think theme! A theme will give your party an edge, it’s different – so people are excited to attend and actually end up looking forward to it.
Go beyond a James Bond or Oscar Night themed event. Think about the mood and culture of your organisation – are you a murder mystery and fine dining crowd or a more boisterous amusement park set? Employ a bit of creativity, with themes like a winter wonderland– but done right with fake snow and all the trimmings. If you’re stuck inland – a tropical themed party is always fun. Go all out with sand, luau dancers, brightly coloured lei garlands, fire eaters and more! Or why not pick a decade? An 80’s themed party complete with big hair and shoulder pads also makes for some creative fun.
Make sure there are different activities for everyone to try. Add in games, different dance floors with more than one style of music and comfortable places for people to chat. Outdoor access really ups the ante, as it’s a great opportunity for competitive games that get the blood pumping.
Whatever you do, commit to it. The right decorations will set the mood and make the event feel really special.
3. Pick the right day and time
The timing of your party is crucial. You don’t want the party to take place right when people are rushing around on deadlines trying to finish all their work before the end of the calendar year.
Also throwing your party for a Friday sets different expectations than a Tuesday afternoon. You can’t expect people to stay late and party to the killer DJ if you want them in bright-eyed and ready to work at 08h00 the next morning. Also, if you’re going to let the booze flow, be responsible and offer shuttle services or discounts on ride-sharing apps so everyone can get home safely.
Remember if you’re holding the event during work hours, ensure the team’s workload is taken into account. No one wants to squeeze in a full eight-hour workday into four hours because of the office party.
4. Invite the hype
Now that you’ve decided on the kind of party you’re going to throw, simply announcing that you’re throwing a party isn’t going to cut it. Be creative – don’t just send out an email. Try to match your invite to the theme, for a tropical party you could deliver little bottles of sand with an invite in it or hand out flower garlands with an invite attached.
A little inspiration can go a long way in piquing your guests’ interest and creating a hype around the event. Use your creativity and make the invitations just as memorable as the party promises to be.
5. Come together
Every unforgettable party needs that special something – some type of event or activity to bring everyone together. It could be a gift game – like a Secret Santa but with a twist – a team-building challenge or a competition. You could offer prizes for the best dressed and other interesting made-up categories. Another fun alternative would be ice-breaker activities to get everyone in the party mood. Consider getting a large screen and projecting 80’s video games on it for guests to play. This is a good way to get the competitive juices going all while fostering bonds between colleagues.
6. Good food – good vibes
You want to make sure there’s delicious food and lots of it – especially if people have been hitting the themed cocktails rather hard. You can easily incorporate the theme into the party menu and offer some exciting options. Interactive food stations with alchemists at the bar are all the rage now. Fun ideas that you can also eat with your eyes include having a build your own mini-cake station or a special customisable waffle bar. Or you could hire that trendy dessert food truck that everyone’s been dying to try. Choose options that get people mingling and adds that extra something.
7. Speak your gratitude
In keeping with the holiday spirit, pull on the employees’ heartstrings by sharing your gratitude and appreciation. Make sure your team gets some kind of personal thank you from the company leaders whether it’s the CEO or a department head. If you can swing it, a small gift, a gift card or cash bonus is always a welcome gesture. But even a thoughtful card recognising your employees’ hard work and thanking them for their contribution is a big deal. A small thank you and recognition go a long way to building morale and helping staff feel valued.
And there you have it – now go forth and plan the perfect party.