If you’re in charge of planning your company’s holiday party, you probably are tired of planning the same old thing.  You book a location, cater in some food, perhaps hire a DJ and hope for the best.  Sure, you are achieving your goal of having the party and showing your employees you appreciate them, but if you’re bored with planning the party, don’t you think that maybe your employees are bored with attending it?  Why not do something different this year?  Shake it up and get everyone out of their same ol’ same ol’ routine so you can all have an amazing time!  Of course, this may sound easier said than done, but when you start looking around and keep an open mind, you might be amazed at all the fun ideas there are for your party!  Here are just a few of them.

Dinner Theatre Production

If you’ve ever been to a dinner theatre production, you know how much fun they can be.  Now imagine going to one with a huge group of co-workers!  Not only will you get to see a great show, but you and your employees can also get involved in the action, making for a one-of-a-kind party that no one is likely to forget.

Millard Plaza Ballroom has a great lineup of dinner productions that would be perfect for a corporate party.  They include Christmas with the King, Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding and Night at the Speakeasy.  The winter lineup of entertainment suits the needs of any company ranging in size from 1-200.  At the ballroom, no company is too small and they invite small companies to join forces to celebrate the season as one.  Large groups can book the ballroom for private parties.  In addition to assisting with the entertainment, your design budget is also eliminated because they decorate for the holidays as well.

If dinner theatre isn’t your company’s cup of tea, Millard Plaza Ballroom can also offer entertainers such as hypnotists, magic shows and game show hosts or provide an R&B singer, a full band, a DJ or a Jazz Ensemble.

Dessert Party

Who doesn’t love yummy desserts, especially around the holidays?  While many parties feature a little dessert table or dessert trays that are passed around, why not concentrate all the food on desserts?  Make sure you let everyone attending the party know that dinner will not be served and there will be sweet treats instead (they can decide whether or not to have dinner before coming).  Get in touch with a delicious bakery or dessert caterer, such as Alotta Brownies in Fremont, and have a grand selection of holiday-themed desserts!  You can even keep the theme going with the drinks.  Hot buttered rum, decadent hot cocoa, peppermint martinis…the list could go on and on!

If you’d rather not cater in the desserts, consider having each guest bring their own holiday sweet treat.  Ask them to look back to their childhood and try to remember their very favorite holiday treat and then bring it to the party!  Not only should you get a wide variety of desserts for everyone to try, but it will also get the guests talking about their upbringing and the stories that revolve around these treats!

Photo Booth Party

One of the hottest new trends for parties is renting photo booths, such as the custom designed one from Ham it Up!  These are not the low-quality photo booths that you’re used to seeing at fairs and malls.  These high quality booths produce beautiful pictures yet are still in that familiar strip that you’re used to.  In just a few minutes, guests can have their pictures taken, write a note on the photo strip and have a keepsake for years to come!

To make this type of party even more fun, consider having some props for guests to put on for their pictures!  Santa costumes, scarves, hats, beads, boas…be creative!  You can even have a contest for the most unique photo.

Photo booths are great entertainment, and also a way for employees to break the ice if they don’t know each other well.  These are especially good for those large corporate parties where employees from different departments never really get to interact as they’ll get a chance to pose with co-workers that they might have never really talked to before.

Caroling Party

What’s Christmas without a little caroling??  Though we may not see it much these days, caroling is a wonderful tradition meant to bring joy and holiday cheer to everyone.  Think how much fun it would be to get your staff together and go on a caroling expedition around town!  You can even decide to do it during the day and make a list of clients that you can go in and carol for them!  This is likely to make a big impact on them as they’ve probably never had a service provider bring in a group of carolers.

If you don’t think you can get your employees on board with doing the caroling themselves, consider having professional carolers at your party instead.  S. Clause & His Holiday Friends can provide Dickens Carolers as well as Father Christmas or St. Nicholas, Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves and more to make your holiday party a truly unique experience.

A Party to Give Back

Why not make this holiday season about those who are less fortunate than you or your employees?  Instead of spending money on a holiday party this year, consider working with a non-profit and bringing the whole staff in for a day to help out.  You could wrap gifts for a store that serves low-income families, serve a meal at a local soup kitchen, help gather toys for underprivileged kids or a number of other things that will get your staff working together for a greater cause.

It’s not difficult to find a charity that needs help this holiday season.  Do a little bit of research and choose one that either fits in with what your company does, has a similar mission or is close to one of your employees (perhaps one of your employees has a child with autism and you can work with a charity that helps support research to cure autism, for example).

You can even take it a step further and encourage your employees that, instead of buying each other holiday gifts this year, they can take that money and donate it to the charity you’ll be working with.

Progressive Holiday Dinner

If you’ve got a relatively small staff, a progressive holiday dinner might be just the ticket for a fun holiday party that will really help each employee get to know the others better.

Progressive dinners are held at multiple locations (usually each person’s home).  The drinks can be served at one person’s home, the appetizers at another, the first course at yet another’s and so on and so forth.  The main course or dessert can be held at your own home so that employees can linger at your home (wonderfully decorated for the holidays, of course) and meet your family.

You can make this extra special (and safe) by hiring a limo company to take all of the guests to the different homes so that no one has to worry about getting lost or driving after having a few drinks.

Scavenger Hunt

Want to get your employees really working together for a common goal?  Consider having a holiday scavenger hunt!  This can be held at your office, at your home or at an outside location.  Split your employees into teams of 2-5 and give them all a treasure map!  Clues can be taken from your business or you can come up with a theme that runs throughout the hunt.  Prizes can be anything from gift certificates to treats to traditional gifts you would normally give your employees.

Destination Party

Who says you need to stay in town for your holiday party?  Why not have a destination party this year and get everyone to a fresh new location.  This could be anything from half an hour outside of town to a completely different city.  It could mean an evening out of town, an overnight complete with a block of rooms at a local hotel or a whole weekend getaway (depending on your budget).  You can have your actual party at the hotel or at a nearby restaurant or reception hall and continue the party the next day with a fun daytime activity.

If you are doing a destination party, make sure you are planning early and letting all of your employees know what’s going on as they might have to make arrangements with their family, especially if they are going to be out of town for an entire weekend.

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Our staff actually did a white elephant gift exchange last year and it was so much fun!  We reserved the party room at a local restaurant and were told ahead of time to each bring one serious gift (with a price limit) as well as a gag gift.  After gathering and having a wonderful time visiting and eating, we all drew numbers.

The person who got number 1 chose a gift and unwrapped it in front of everyone.  The person who got number 2 had the choice to either steal the first gift or unwrap a new gift.  #3 could choose either of the two previous gifts or unwrap a new one and so on.  With gag gifts thrown into the mix, we certainly had a lot of laughs.  One gag gift was a signed portrait of one of the employees while another was a hillbilly belly button lint cleaner.  This was so much better than getting individual gifts for each employee as we all got to enjoy every gift and have lots of laughs while opening them.

Why not make this year a unique one that all of your employees will remember?  Think outside the box and come up with a holiday party that is anything but ordinary.  Consider one of our above suggestions or talk with your colleagues about great parties they’ve held in the past.  Start planning now and you’ll have a party that will make your employees feel appreciated as well as ensuring that everyone will have a ton of fun!