Staff Christmas Party Planning: Is Pleasing Everyone Even Possible?
A staff Christmas party is supposed to be a way for owners and managers to reward a hard year of work, to celebrate a job well done and to release a bit of steam. But no matter which way you cut it, it seems impossible to accomplish that goal with every single employee.
Everyone is different – they lead different lives, with different abilities, preferences and diets. Trying to satisfy every single person means having to juggle each one of those differences, and it can be downright confusing.
If you’ve been tasked with planning the company Christmas party, don’t fret. While you may not be able to orchestrate everyone’s perfect party, there are measures you can take to help ensure that everyone has a good time.
Solicit Input to Pick a Day
Firstly, for everyone to enjoy the party they actually have to attend it! Too often, party planners will just pick an arbitrary day, or book a date with a venue in advance, and then hope that everyone can make it. The problem is, especially during the Christmas season, people are busy with other obligations, like family.
Send a quick poll to everyone in the workplace – Doodle works well, as does Schedule Monkey –and have everyone list their available days in order of preference. As mentioned, you might not be able to find a day that works perfectly for everyone, but you’ve at leased maximized the number of attendees.
Choose a Fun, Accessible Activity
Those are the only two criteria: fun and accessible. Rock climbing, for instance, may be fun, but it’s definitely not accessible. And an office board game night may be accessible, but it’s not that fun.
Take axe throwing for example, a sport/rec activity that’s caught on with corporate parties recently. It’s easy to see its popularity among staff even planners. It requires no previous skills, and prides itself on accessibility and inclusion. And it’s also universally enjoyed by those that try it. If you want to plan a party everyone will love then you need an activity like axe throwing.
Navigate Various Dietary Restrictions Discretely
People love free food. It’s one of the main things that factor into whether they “had a good time”. To that end, you have to try your best to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions; the last thing you want is a hungry party guest.
Ask people to discretely send you their dietary preferences, and then work to put together a spread that works for everyone. If going to a restaurant, consider a small plates restaurant, since you can order a variety of things. If ordering in, choices like pizza are often very customizable, or choices like Mexican tend to tick a lot of boxes already (corn tortillas are gluten free, and vegetarian options abound).
Have a Generous Budget
Finally, don’t be stingy. If you want everyone to have a good time, start with a generous budget. There is nothing sadder than a company Christmas party with empty food containers and a deficit of alcohol.
You may not please everyone, but following the above recommendations, at least you can say you tried your damnedest.