It’s about that time of the year when family, friends, & companies begin hosting holiday parties for some good ole fun times. This year, I got the honor of planning our company holiday event — not only was it our company’s first “real” holiday party but, it was also my first time planning an in-house event from beginning to end. In the end, despite the hours of work and running around, our company party, despite not spending $5k+, was awesome, if I may say so myself, and so utterly worth it. There are plenty of tech companies that easily spend $5k, $10k on a holiday party but I feel like for many employees, our office is an
extension of their home. I tried to give our holiday party a more homey, warm feel rather than the standard over-the-top, Photobooth-equipped (don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome), extravagant touch often found at tech parties.
I guess I just love the holiday parties, both big & small. There’s just something nice about everyone coming together to celebrate the end of a year that warms my heart.
How I cobbled together a holiday party for 20+ people in less than 2 weeks or, AKA how I managed to plan a Christmas party for ~$1k.
The Venue ($0): In the hopes of keeping it simple, and because I was given a budget of approx. $50-60/person, I decided to host at our office. I figured the office could turn out nicely with a little sprucing up and decorating — thank god I was right.
Food/Drink ($650): Our office uses ZeroCater for our daily catered lunches and we have a wonderful account exec. (Janelle). She was able to get us several options at our price point of ~ $16/person and we ended up going with Sweet & Natural. The menu for dinner consisted of coq au vin, garlic masked potatoes, vegetable wellingtons, & roasted vegetables — due to budget constraints, I opted to go for warm, homey comfort food over complex, intricate dishes. Drink-wise, we just kept it simple with a bar of standard alcohols, beer (Anchor Steam Christmas Ale!), and wine.
Decorations ($150): It’s amazing what a miniature Christmas tree, strings of christmas lights, glass paint, nice plate settings, poinsettia centerpieces, and paper snowflakes can do to an office.
Activities ($200): Our office consists of quirky, interesting people – something which I’m proud of – and therefore, I couldn’t rely on food and alcohol to keep the party going. Instead, we had a gingerbread house making competition, an ugly sweater making station, and to finish the night, a white elephant gift exchange — thank you, Michaels! Who knew, 20 and 30 year olds would get so excited over hot sauce, chia pets, and soylent — I think they’re now advocating for monthly white elephant exchanges.