From the brilliant to the bizarre, seek inspiration for a more imaginative office Christmas party with our rundown of Christmas celebrations around the world.
The office Christmas party is that most curious of occasions where you are forced to walk a barely navigable tightrope between ‘work mode’ and ‘party mode’; a nether-zone in which the standard rules governing straightforward social interactions are whisked away, on a one horse open sleigh, and nobody knows what to do or how to behave.
Except maybe this year could be different? Your Christmas party doesn’t have to be a cliché. Nor a careening descent to the disorderly. Whisper it, but your festive party can – and should – be an enjoyable gathering that makes your staff feel rewarded, recognised and re-energised for the year ahead. (And by the way, we have a remarkable Christmas party venue if you want a space that gets people talking.)
To help you plan something a little different this year, here’s some inspiration from Christmas celebrations around the world.
We’re not suggesting you haul your entire workforce to NYC. But if you’re looking for a few tips for adding more magic to the mundane, you could do worse than looking to the mother of all Christmas tree lighting events. Each year after Thanksgiving, hundreds of thousands of people gather around a 90-foot Christmas tree just off Times Square for ice skating, food stalls and – most importantly – live performances from A-list musicians.
Your takeaway? Consider booking a band for your event and say goodbye to the dodgy karaoke renditions. It doesn’t have to be the marketing manager’s son’s band and their dodgy Kings Of Leon covers either. For the right price you can book anyone – and most touring bands cost less than you might think for a private hire. Booking agents are there for a reason!
Unless you happen to work with one of the Three Wise Men, most Secret Santa gifts leave a lot to be desired. They are also capable of inducing full-blown panic attacks in staff agonising over what to buy at the eleventh hour for someone they barely know. So let’s try something different.
Jolabokaflod – translated as The Christmas Book Flood – is a Christmas tradition in Iceland that sees friends and family exchanging books with one another (and then spending Christmas Eve eating chocolate and reading).
Why not ask each member of staff to gift a colleague the book that has had the biggest impact on their life? It’s a great way to learn more about someone, it’s a great way to share knowledge and it’s a great way to bring more kinship to your team.
Every 23rd December in the Mexican city of Oaxaca, thousands gather for Night of the Radishes. On display are sculptures made entirely from the eponymous root vegetable.
So far, so bizarre. But there’s a lot to be said for inviting your guests to get their creative juices flowing. That could be with a cocktail masterclass, a Bake Off style contest or illustration seminar.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful. But your party can be sunny and delightful. Certainly if you take Hawaii’s tropical lead. Ditch the festive chunky knits or black tie theme for Hawaiian garb. Swap mulled wine and mince pies for rum cocktails and laulau (slow-roasted smoky pork or chicken wrapped in taro leaves).
Christmas is great and all. But all that traditional festivity can get cloying at times. So deck the palm trees with boughs of holly. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-Aloha.
It seems that no matter where you are in the world, the Yuletide season is spent hopping from one curious tradition to another. So you may as well start one of your own and enjoy something that’s totally unique to your business. Do things your way. And if you’re looking for a venue that gets people excited, we’ve got plenty of Christmas party spaces to provide the perfect backdrop.