Believe it or not, the holiday season is less than two months away and with the economy in a full upswing, a party may be just the ticket to recognize all the hard work your staff has put into growing your business this year.

However, if you have not had a holiday gathering in several years, you might experience some resistance from the C-Suite about holding one now. If this is the case, recent insights by Challenger, Gray & Christmas of 100 human resource professionals may help.

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series focused on best practices of hosting this type of event.


Good news! 89% percent of respondents stated they are planning on hosting a holiday party this year; up from 68% from 2011.


  • 76% said their budget will remain the same as previous years
  • 18% expected an increase of 1-10% and
  • 6% said their budget would decrease

This can be both a challenge and a chance to get creative with green options. For example, rather than printing a program, a LCD projector rental can rotate photos of your year in review. Or rather than handing out goody bags, you can ask employees to bring a canned food item to the event that will be contributed to a local food bank.


71% stated they would be holding their event off-site, which is a good reason you need to start your planning process now. Popular event locations will fill up quickly; especially with a short window of dates to hold your event.

Time & Day

  • 65% will hold their party during or near the end of the workday
  • 35% will hold it over a weekend or evening

“A party that starts during or near the end of the workday is basically the equivalent of being paid to have a good time with your co-workers, which is always appreciated,” stated John Challenger, CEO at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a human resources outplacement agency.

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59% of companies will use event planners, caterers or other outside companies to plan and execute their function.

This allows your already stressed workforce to move the planning details to outside experts. Seasoned event planners already have relationships with caterers, hotel staff and AV equipment rental companies, thus allowing you to hand your budget over to them for management in these categories.

Invitation List

  • 53% stated it will be an employee only party
  • 29% will invite spouses and partners and
  • 16% will include families


41% of the respondents stated they plan on serving alcohol at the party, which means the majority will not. For more details on the dos and don’ts of having alcohol at an event, be sure to check out Part 3 of this series, where it will be discussed in more detail.


Key Takeaways

  1. Start your planning process now by hiring your event planner and give them a budgets range for the party.
  2. Move your business function, such as a corporate training, to the same location and meeting space as your holiday party. You can save money on space, catering and AV since the same supplier can provide their services for both functions. The best bonus is your employees will already be onsite so you don’t have to worry about attendance attrition.
  3. Determine early on how your event can be more sustainable, including identifying a local charity that will be the focus of your CSR activity.

SmartSource Rentals is Your Partner for Holiday Parties

Let SmartSource Rentals provide you with the right rental equipment to make your holiday party stand out! Call us at 800.888.8686, request a quote  or initiate a chat with us and one of our experienced Account Executives will be able to provide you with creative, holiday equipment options.

Watch for Part 2 of this series which will discuss in more detail holiday party budget suggestions.