How to Throw A Fun Last-Minute Office Holiday Party in 10 Steps

October 26, 2017

Party time is fast approaching this year and if you are the one who is tasked with making your office shindigs awesome, don’t freak out. Fun gatherings don’t have to take tons of work and weeks of planning. And just remember that giving your employees a chance to unwind and celebrate the holidays together is a hugely important way to foster a positive company culture and even make improvements to different specific aspects of your workplace like inclusivity, teamwork, work-life balance and office-work environment (these are a few of the 18 different workplace categories that kununu measures)


Here are ten steps to throw a fun last-minute office holiday party that employees will actually enjoy:

#1: Establish a budget.

You can’t begin planning without knowing how much you can spend. Because everything costs money! Get a number from the powers-that-be, or at least a range, that you can drop on the party. That way you don’t shell out all your budget on food or the venue and have no money for entertainment.


#2: Pick some helpers.

Trying to do it all yourself leads to stress. Plus you may forget something. Loosen your control and find a handful of responsible people to assist you in the planning. Designate each of them specific tasks to complete.


#3: Decide on a location.

Can you have it in the company’s lunch room, or do you want to do it off-site? Your options may be limited since it’s last minute, but do a little research to see what’s still available. Before you sign anything, make sure you understand what is included in the location’s price, such as chairs, tables, utensils, clean up, etc.


#4: Choose a theme.

A theme is fun and helps you know which direction to take with decorations and food. Announce the theme when you…


#5: Email the invitations.

People cram their schedules full during the holiday season. Let employees know the party’s date and time as far in advance as possible. If it’s super last minute you may want to avoid having it on a weekend, as many people probably won’t be able to attend. Ask for an RSVP so you have an approximate number of attendees to plan around.


#6: Organize some good music.

If your budget allows, get a DJ to play tunes for the event. Otherwise download a playlist and borrow someone’s speakers. Keep the theme in mind when choosing the music. Obviously an 80’s party wouldn’t have showtunes.


#7: Arrange for delicious food.

Don’t skimp on the eats. Talk to caterers and get some quotes on finger foods. If the budget doesn’t allow for catering, cruise by your local market and find some tasty appetizers, and see if they offer delivery. Avoid making anything yourself. Trust us, you will NOT have time for that.


#8: Answer the alcohol question.

Will you or won’t you? Offer alcohol, that is? Having some drinks may be fun, but it comes with liabilities. A smart idea is to have drink tickets so each employee is limited to the number of cocktails. Or, if you want a full bar, practice responsibility. Hire taxis, rent out rooms if the party is at a hotel, or give Uber gift cards so they can get home safely.


#9: Set up a photo station.

No matter the theme, everyone likes to commemorate events with pictures. A photo booth is a great way to offer a cool way for employees to connect and have fun. If that’s out of the budget, at least have a selfie station with a themed backdrop and a few selfie sticks for employees to snap their own pictures.


#10: Designate a charity.

Organizations are increasingly choosing to give back to non-profits during the holiday season. Incorporate this into your event! Instead of Secret Santa or exchanging cards, how about asking the attendees to bring canned goods for the local food pantry, or a small donation to the charity of your choice?


Don’t let planning a last-minute holiday office party stress you out and ruin your attitude. With a little help from other employees and a bit of legwork, you can pull off an enjoyable event that people will still be talking about next spring! 




Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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