There is something about the Christmas season that can make even the most anti-sociable amongst us want to flip (or rather scroll) through our address books and invite near enough all those within to be our guests at a little soirée that we'll be throwing. Hosting a party of any sort can be a little daunting, but a Christmas party always has somewhat high expectations, which is why you've got to ensure that you hit the nail on the head.
So how do you do it? What do you need to throw the best Christmas party ever? Well that's what we're going to talk to you about now.
Quality Over Quantity
One of the most stressful things about throwing a party is choosing who to invite, and rightly so. As host it is your responsibility to ensure that those in attendance are going to be able to mix well together; so you may want to avoid inviting your rather conservative boss if you're also thinking of getting your crazy mate from uni round.
It is also important to be realistic. If you're holding a party at your home and space is already rather limited, but also decide that you want to keep everyone attending downstairs, then you should make sure that the number of people do not exceed the number of seats, plus (we'd say) a maximum of 5 standees. The same rule should be followed when it comes to inviting people to a venue.
Know how much you are going or are willing to spend and stick to it. There is no point spending more than you otherwise would on a limited edition bottle of Amaretto just so that the drinks table looks nice – it all tastes the same in the end. Moreover, when you plan your budget do take into consideration the possibility of hiring a venue and paying for catering, as this will allow you to focus on arranging the event without then having to host it single-handedly.
We'd advise you not to be stingy with your budget. If you want to pull off your shin-dig with no more than a tenner, then you've got to put 'BYOB' on the invitations and prepare to have a messy house with a lot of plastic bags, half full bottles and wine stains to clean up; as there is no way that you'll be able to rent out a room or even a upstairs area of a bar around Christmas for less than £30 (unless you know the manager).
If you are unwilling to dedicate the funds or the time then perhaps you ought to rethink holding a party all together.
Picking A Venue
When it comes to selecting a venue sometimes it's not about picking the right venue so much as it is about not picking the wrong one. If your Christmas party is a family affair (partners and children invited) or is likely to have a myriad of different types of people then you may want to avoid establishments that are perceived as niche or overly adult orientated e.g. cocktail bars, burlesque clubs, sports bars, etc.
If you start early enough then you ought to have your pick of venue and at a good price too, but the longer you leave it the more narrow your choices will become and the cost of hiring space will undoubtedly raise higher. Many venues will offer additional services, such as the provision of food and complimentary drinks, which ought to take some of the heat off you as organiser, but needless to say this will incur additional costs; which is why it's important to remember your budget.
It is best to keep your budget to yourself and not tell the venue how much your maximum spend is. Let them tell you costs and prices and judge for yourself if the spending can be justified in relation to your budget. Bear in mind though that these prices will take into account their overheads, and if you don't mind doing a little bit of work yourself then you can save money by holding the party at a home or by simply hiring a venue and supplying the rest yourself.
Set A Date & Stick To It
Ideally you would plan your party some time in advance, allowing you to set a date and get everyone's RSVPs before they become otherwise engaged or booked up by other events. It is good practice to try and gauge when people will be free before setting the date, but once it's set do not change course unless you absolutely have to.
When people agree to turn up to an event they place trust in the organiser that the event will be happening. If you keep changing the date, the venue, the starting time, etc. people will lose faith in you and the event, and will likely end up not showing up at all.
In terms of a Christmas party you will want to hold it within the first 2 weeks of December, as the closer it gets to the 25th the less money and time people will be willing to spend. The weekend before Christmas (which is home to 'Mad Friday') is probably the least ideal day to hold a party at a hired venue, as the prices will be higher and everywhere will be busy.
Keep Track of Who is Coming
Once you have a rough idea of who's coming and how many people there will be you will have a much easier time planning the event. The number of people coming can have a big affect on your budget, but the maximum number of people invited ought to have had an effect on your budget when you were setting it, so it ought to be no bother.
Try to build a bit of excitement around the event to reduce the likelihood of people dropping out as the date approaches, or from forgetting that they had dedicated their time to your event in the first place and double booking themselves.
The most important thing when it comes to holding a Christmas party, or any sort of event for that matter, is your will to want it to be a successful event. If you do not have the motivation to plan the event properly and stay on top of things then it's not only yourself that you're letting down, but also your guests. This is especially true if you have opted to organise a work Christmas party, for example; as not only will everyone be depending on you but you have also taken the opportunity away from someone else who could have done a better job.