How Not To Ruin Your Own Christmas or Holiday Staff Party

In Edmonton this year, Equinox Sound and Entertainment did over 70 corporate holiday events -- just in one month from November 17, 2012 - Dec 16, 2012. That has to put us in the position as somewhat of an expert on holiday parties.

We've seen a lot of different things at parties. Some great, some not-so great. Some owners go all out, while other Christmas parties are thrown together last minute and you can tell.

We thought it might be a good idea to give a few pointers on what to do or not to do at your party. These are sure-fire tips to ensure, even if you choose not to go all out, that your party isn't a dud.

Tip 1: Don't give out all your door prizes at once or too early.

We see a lot of companies and business owners plan some prizes for the night. It''s a lovely gesture. The problem with it, is that some employees show up to the party only for the draw prizes. As soon as the last or "big" prize goes out, so do the guests.

We suggest that your spread them out over the course of an evening and let your DJ help give them away while he's playing.

If you spread the gifts out, people tend to relax a bit and enjoy themselves. They also stay longer and if you let the DJ award the prizes while he's in his set of music and while in his control, you can also ensure that you don't empty the dance floor each and every time you want to draw more numbers.

Tip 2: Give your guests alternative entertainment, but don't go overboard.

For example, it's nice to have a DJ. Even nicer to have a DJ and a photo booth. But, if you have a DJ, photo booth, photographer, caricaturist, magician, comedian, and casino games lined up, you've probably done too much.

It's hard to organize the timing on that much entertainment. People go longer than you think, not everyone uses everything, you almost guarantee that your dance floor will be dead for most of the evening... there are just a few too many things to select from and your guests will feel overloaded. So too, if you do everything in one year, there really isn't much of a way to change your party up for any years afterwards.

Tip 3: Make sure you don't have too many commanders and not enough soldiers.

It's nice when staff volunteer to be on the committee for planning the Christmas party, but make sure they are on the same page and designate one person to relay information to the DJ or entertainment for the night. We've seen so many instances where people didn't know the "boss" wanted to do a speech or organizers have rented expensive equipment only to find out the "head cheese" doesn't like that type of microphone. You'll save yourself time and money by having one person - two tops- as your liaisons for the evening.

Tip 4: Allow your employees a chance to network with each other

There are many owners shocked at how little some of their employees interact with one another. A Christmas party can be a great way to get employees to meet fresh faces within the company. Don't be afraid to have activities that will encourage this.

Tip 5: Change things up from year to year. 

This doesn't mean hire all new people. If you're happy with the services you were offered by vendors at your last party, yes, by all means use them again. However, each couple of years, see what options those same vendors offer. Can your DJ also offer Name That Tune? Can they do karaoke? Trivia?

If you hired a photographer, can they make a photo booth?

It doesn't have to be a huge change, but the same ol' Christmas party from year to year at the same location every time, may wear on your staff. Keep the people who treat you well, ensure a fun night and are cost effective for you, but give your employees a little something fresh every once and a while. They'll appreciate it.