Planning Your Company’s Holiday Party

It’s that time of the year again; time to plan the company holiday party!  What are your company’s plans?  Company holiday parties are important because they allow for team building, employee appreciation, and interaction in a social atmosphere.  But with publicity about lawsuits and keeping budget constraints in mind, planning the company holiday party can be a stressful endeavor.  Don’t worry, balancing employee expectations and morale with the realities of finances and liabilities can happen!

The holiday party here at MINES was held last week.  To start, the party planning was opened up to everyone throughout the company and ended up consisting of four party planners.  We made the decision to hold the party on site in a conference room to save on funds and utilize open space.   In order to dress up the conference room a bit, the party planning committee met off site one afternoon and purchased inexpensive decorations from stores such as Safeway and King Soopers.  Employees from all over the company made suggestions for activities and food, and we ended up with the famous White Elephant gift exchange and ordering Chinese food from Yen King with a potluck dessert table.  The party was a success, complete with a thankful speech from our CEO, visits from previous employees, holiday songs thanks to a musically-inclined employee, and hilarious gifts passed around including a “grow your own therapist” and a funky metal pig that was a hot item and stolen many times.

Here are some tips to make your holiday party inexpensive, fun, and non-alcoholic:

  • Invite everyone to join in your party planning and encourage ideas for food and activities from everyone – you will be amazed at the creativity!
  • Consider supporting local charities by holding a toy or coat drive or perhaps even voluntary monetary donations.  MINES’ employees always enjoy participating and it’s a great way to give back during the holiday season.
  • Spread out the seating area and include activities that encourage everyone to move around and mingle with coworkers they don’t know very well.
  • Hold the party during the workday.  Not only will this save money, but will lower the expectations for alcohol.  Plus, employees appreciate the long break!
  • Encourage the President/Owner/CEO to give a thankful speech.  Likely they will plan on it, but ask anyway. Hearing thanks for a busy year really means a lot to everyone!
  • Don’t hang mistletoe! Yes, when I read and heard this before, I thought it was silly…but consider what mistletoe might bring and which policies could be violated.
  • Be sure to insist that the holiday party is voluntary.

If you are considering serving alcohol at your company party, click on the following link for helpful information from the U.S. Department of Labor:  http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/drugs/workingpartners/sp_iss/send.asp

Dani Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist

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