29 Sep

Corporate Holiday Party Planning Checklist

Every year companies commemorate the holidays by having a party. Such parties also celebrate the year’s success, as well as boost the employees’ morale by giving them the opportunity to relax and socialize with coworkers in a less formal environment. Typically, company parties occur at an off-site location, which means outside of the office space, and will last about 3-4 hours.

Holiday parties are ideal for gathering all of your staff, showing appreciation, and celebrating the year’s success. Nonetheless, putting on a great party also requires thoughtful coordination and planning. To help you with your planning, we have developed a short checklist of critical tasks. As the planner, you need time to plan an event, especially if your group is big.


Overall, corporate holiday planning (or any corporate party planning for that matter) can be summed up into three points:

  1. Start early. Be sure you are able to secure an event date in advance to help you stay on track, budget and secure your venue and other rentals or vendors needed.
  2. Choose a theme or purpose for your gathering. Once your date is selected choosing a theme or the purpose for coming together to help you determine menu, set up, décor, and other items.
  3. This is key. Plan the menu, beverage needs and be sure the right people are invited and will be present.

Pre-planning: Two to Three Months Before

If you are hosting a party around the holiday season or just after the New Year, NOW is the time to start getting things in order!

  1. Determine the type of event. Are you really only having a holiday party or is your holiday party also your awards banquet? Give this year’s holiday party a business focus and emphasize the appreciation message with an optimistic future. This helps associate the event with more measurable and tangible benefits.
  2. Set the date. This is very basic, but needs to be done first. If you want a great turn out, you have to let people know far enough in advance to plan on attending. Everything you do leading up to your corporate holiday party will depend on the date.
  3. Choose a convenient venue. The venue should be easily accessible to everyone. Ensure the venue can hold the number of guests you expect for the party, and that there is enough space for entertainment or a stage or podium should your event require it.
  4. Send save-the-date notice. No, save the dates are not limited to weddings. They are quite handy in a corporate environment! Once you finalize the date and venue you can sent out an email notice to those that are invited.


Planning the Details: 4 weeks before the party

This is a crucial time for the person responsible for planning. The finer details of the party need to be set – the food, beverage, program, theme, décor- and you need time to get vendors prepared with information that will help them help you.

Food – Make sure that you are able to provide a menu that appeals to the masses. Take into consideration special dietary needs and relay them to your caterer as soon as possible.

Décor – Having a themed party makes it easier to select event décor, but should you opt to not have a theme and rely on the season’s spirit, be sure you spend time selecting holiday décor beyond what your venue has to offer to make the event extra festive.

Program – All good company parties follow a certain order or program. Plan accordingly and make sure that guest speakers, presenters and participants are notified in advance of their responsibility.

Awards or Prizes – Some companies like to add a little spice to their evening of festivities or simply say thanks for a job well done by raffling off some prizes. It will keep things fun and interesting! In the same note, if you plan on giving awards be sure they will be ready in time for your event. Both keep guests from going home early and sticking right to the very end.

Just remember….

Holiday parties are employee appreciation events more than anything else, and as a result, it’s important to recognize the successes of your staff as a whole and communication how much you appreciate their hard work and contributions throughout the year. The quality of your organization’s holiday party is in its meaning – how appreciated employees feel after they leave the event, whether the party fosters a sense of pride in the organization’s accomplishments throughout the year, how memorable the experience was, and if employees are able to enjoy time with one another. This is what really counts and what will make your party a true success.

We know that choosing the perfect venue for your holiday event can be a tough decisions. Allow us to make some recommendations!

For small corporate seated dinners and cocktail parties, consider Montage. With four uniquely modern spaces, this venue has the perfect location for parties as small as 30 or as large as 200.

If you are interested in providing entertainment to your guests, Jinglerails at Eiteljorg Museum can be combined with a reception in Eagle Commons allowing your guests the freedom to mingle with one another or take part in a holiday tradition.

Infuse the season’s spirit into your holiday corporate event with the beautifully decorated Indiana State Museum. With a touch of class and a touch of holiday spirit, this venue is the perfect mix for a corporate event both large and small.

If you’d like to provide your guests with activities and a cultural experience, the Indianapolis Museum of Art‘s galleries and holiday activities are the perfect choice.

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