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How to Turn Your Office Christmas Party

Into an Effective Engagement Experience!


AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! The holiday season is almost upon us! This means party, part, party, food, excess, party, gift giving and more party.

So how can you turn your office Christmas party into something more than just an excuse to NOT work?

Here are some great ideas on how to make the most of your office Christmas party.

Unfortunately many office Christmas parties are a wasted opportunity to boost employee engagement. More often than not, most parties are simple social get together to celebrate Christmas instead of being used to strengthen team connections and staff loyalty.

By incorporating one or two of these simple ideas you can turn your Christmas party from a 'ho-hum' event into something which has meaning, heart and joy.

1. Genuinely Thank Your Staff

This is more than a company branded T-Shirt from the Marketing Department cupboard! Take the time to sit down and write a personalized thank you letter to each and every staff member. Let them know what you value about them and how they've made your workplace a better place to be!  

2. Run Some Fun Team Building Games

Get people interacting with people they don't normally interact with. Whether it's a series of short 5 minute activities or a longer team event, make it more about 'team fun' than 'drinks and nibbles'. 

Using fun, team based games will help in sparking new team relationships, energizing existing ones and make staff feel more positive and happy. Having a fun shared experience with your fellow team members will create a sense of belonging. 

When you run some Christmas party games, just make sure that they are fun, team based (so everyone can easily participate) and are delivered in a fun, playful way.

Here are some ideas on how to bring some team fun into your party.

  • At Dinner - Run some fun team trivia which has a focus on 'getting to know' more about your team
  • In the Office - Run some fun novelty games in a fun team competition. All it takes is a series of 5 minute fun activities. Award points and prizes to the winning team
  • Heading out for Drinks - They say happiness is the journey NOT the destination. If you're heading out to a venue (pub, restaurant or bar) make the journey getting there fun - run your own team scavenger hunt finishing up at the venue.

3. Volunteer as a Team

Give back to the community. Find a local charity, school or group who are taking positive steps to contribute to the community. Find out what they really need help with and then offer to lend a hand!

You might want to check with staff what local groups they have an affinity with. If you can find a charity your team resonates with, it makes the day even more special.

4. Perform Random Acts of Kindness

One of the most successful office Christmas parties I've been involved in was performing random acts of kindness. Each staff member spent the morning performing acts of service to either people or local groups which they connected with. We met back up for lunch and shared our experience with the group.

5. Celebrate Like a 'Family'

Not all the arguments and fights (which can happen with some families), but rather set up an area within your office as if it's a family lounge room. Some ideas include:

  • Make a time to decorate the tree as a team
  • Have staff make their own decorations for the office tree
  • Set up a few lounges and bean bags
  • Have each person place their 'Secret Santa' present under the tree in the weeks leading up
  • Each staff member can bring in a favorite family Christmas dish
  • Play a few Christmas games like pin the nose on Rudolph or some of these ones
  • Have the Manager hand out each present and share one or two things they appreciate and value about the team member as they do it

6. Share the Spirit

Get dressed up as Santa, reindeer and elves and visit key clients and suppliers bearing gifts. Thank them for their support and continued relationship. Make sure the gifts are more than just chocolates and wine. Think about something which is meaningful, fun and engaging!

7. Get Creative

The easiest way to get creative is to 'cut your budget'. The less money you have to spend on your office Christmas party means the ideas need to be more creative.

For example instead of doing the usual Secret Santa...

  • Have it that staff need to make something for their allocated person. It could be as simple as a cake, a mixed CD of their favorite music, a picture frame - it doesn't really matter. What matters is that each staff member has taken time to 'think about that person'.
  • Have a $5 limit and they need to buy something which starts with the persons initial

FINAL THOUGHT - Whatever you do the real trick to getting the most from your office Christmas party is providing the organizers with time and resources to develop ideas which bring your team together, help them feel appreciated and is fun.

If you're going to pay for a dinner or event, you may as well put a little bit of extra effort in and make it something special!

mikesymondsroundMike Symonds is the creator of Funergizers. Funergizers is an easy, flexible and effective 'staff engagement program'. Containing a suite of tools, workshops and activities. Funergizers empower you to easily engage, energize and connect your staff.