We talked about holiday party justification in Part 1 and balancing the proper budget in Part 2, now it is time to put the planning wheels in motion with discussion and ideas about the smaller, often overlooked items in the party planning process.

Remember, you and your co-workers are coming together to recognize this year’s achievements and set the tone for new and exciting things next year.

Unfortunately, a poorly planned and executed event sends a signal that you don’t care. A bad event is worse than no event at all. So use the planning techniques listed below and everyone will have a wonderful time at this year’s holiday event!

10 Steps to Make Your Party Sizzle


Theme Your Event

Theming allows attendees to quickly transition from the business meeting to the party environment. Having a consistent theme that is carried through with the dress, colors, decorations, music and even lighting rentals can make your holiday party really festive.

Here are three party ideas:

  1. Ugly holiday sweater – Ask everyone to wear their worst holiday sweater. Give a prize for the ugliest one.
  2. Holiday Fiesta — Ask people to dress in their most festive wear. Offer a prize to the most festively dressed person.
  3. Mad Men Cocktail Hour – bring everyone back to the 1960s and ask them to dress accordingly. Serve the food and drinks common at holiday parties during that time period.

Have Great Food Options

Whether it is dinner, lunch, appetizers and/or desserts, offer employees a large variety of seasonal options they may not normally get this time of year.

Drink & Be Merry (But Not Too Merry)

If you decide to have alcohol at your event, be sure to take the following precautions to protect yourself and your organization against potential liability issues. Here are a few great ideas:

  • Offer special seasonal drinks that do not contain alcohol. Examples may be eggnog, hot tea or hot apple cider.
  • Give employees only two drink tickets. After that, turn to a cash bar or offer them a non-alcoholic alternative.
  • Set up a cash bar for alcohol but provide non-alcoholic drinks for free.
  • If you have alcohol at your event, have Uber or a taxi service on standby to take employees home if they have gotten too merry.

Provide Entertainment

Depending on your budget, music is a wonderful addition to any holiday party. Hiring a band can get everyone up and moving, but it can also be loud and halt most conversations. Hiring a DJ or having background music, such as a pianist or harpist, might be a better option if you are looking to create a festive mood but networking is your ultimate objective.

Set Up a Photography Station

Put together a themed backdrop and use an Apple iPad rental to snap photos of your employees and/or their guests. Print off each photo after the event and send it along with a thank you holiday note to every employee.

Start with an Icebreaker

Play “Guess Who I Am?” Ask everyone to submit their baby picture and 4 obscure facts about themselves most people would not know well before the party. Display each biopic slide via a LCD Projector rental unit. Give each guest a slip of paper and a pen to write down their guesses. The person with the most correct guesses wins a prize.

Give Out Party Favors

Giving everyone a bag of cookies as they leave is another way you show that you care.

Raffle Off Door Prizes

Use part of your budget to purchase a variety of door prizes. Examples are a:

  • $5 Starbucks Card
  • iPod
  • Wii or PlayStation
  • Flat screen TV

Raffle these items off during the evening festivities. Give each employee two to five tickets as they arrive.

Provide Babysitting Services

Offer onsite child care during the party so employees with small children can attend.


Hire SmartSource Rentals

With 20 locations nationwide, SmartSource Rentals can help make your holiday party something employees will buzz about for months to come! Get them into the holiday spirit with great lighting, sound and mobile technology options. Give us a call today at 800.888.8686 for more information!