Year after year, you put time and money into throwing a holiday party. But nobody seems to care. A Glassdoor survey found that only 5% of employees actually cared about or wanted to attend their holiday office party—leaving you chasing down and trying to get a commitment from the other 95%.
Throwing a party to show your appreciation and boost morale for guests who don’t even want to be there can be less than motivating. But what if we told you that it’s actually possible to throw a holiday work party your team will love? Have no fear, because we’ve got some ideas for you to take your next office holiday party (and every one hereafter) to the ultimate next level.
But before you put on your planning hat, consider this. People generally care about thing they’re invested in or feel they have some say in. Getting your team on board to help you plan an event they’ll love is a great way to find out what they actually want (and a great teamwork project too).
So without further adieu, check out this stellar list of awesome office holiday party ideas! If you’re working with your team, run it by them as a starting point, then let creativity take full reign. Keep the party about your team, and everyone will be happy.
Make it a season of giving
There’s nothing like the feeling of giving to others to leave everyone feeling on top of the world. And by giving, we don’t mean the cheesy white elephant gifts. Spread some holiday cheer to your community and your employees by seeking out a senior center, a homeless shelter, or any place you see a need, and moving your party there. Bring your food, drinks, laughter and good cheer. Preparing meals, serving others, playing music, leading games with residents, and sharing your time and yourselves can give givers and receivers alike a happy morale boost.
Give great gifts
A $5 Starbucks gift card is great and all, but it might not be enough of an incentive to get your team to show up. Think bigger and get some big-ticket items on the giving list this year. Start building hype by spreading the word on the gifts you’ll be raffling out during your party. Everyone will have a chance to win, giving everyone a reason to get excited.
Around the world potluck
Food brings people together in unique ways. Invite your team to shine the spotlight on their favorite international cuisines by preparing unique dishes to share with everyone. Not only does it encourage participation, but it allows everyone a small taste of other cultures without having to leave the country.
Sing the night away
Between eating and gift raffling, have a karaoke sing-off (or better yet, a team sing-off) to get your team working together. The team that sings together is more likely to stay together, and a study shows that singing is a really effective team-building exercise (and one of the best, actually!). There’s nothing like singing to break the ice and create a bond between strangers or coworkers. You get bonus kudos if they form a band after your party.
Have a themed costume party
We all love a good theme. It’s the thing that stories are made of. And stories are the things that life is made of. So before you start planning that party, find a theme that will unite and excite your team. Declaring it a costume party will encourage everyone to be a participant and take their place in the story at hand. Build the excitement even more with prizes for the “best dressed,” “zaniest,” etc. etc.
Bring on the competition
Business is competitive. And while your team is usually working together to achieve a common goal, you can tap into their competitive sides with challenges, games and prizes. Carnival games. Scavenger hunts. Murder mystery dinners. Get creative, ditch the expected and get set to have a great time.
Themed bowling night
Leave the office far behind as you make for the alley–the bowling alley that is. There’s a reason why bowling is one of the most loved sports and pastimes in the country: it’s just plain fun. Take your bowling party up a bunch of notches by coming up with a fun theme and encouraging teams to dress up accordingly.
With a little thought and creativity, you can throw the best holiday office party—and leave your team chomping at the bit for next year to come around.