« Back

That Time of Year Again…

October 28th, 2019 by Anne Celeste Anders

Karaoke at a holiday party

It’s that time of year again—when companies start the conversations on whether to have a holiday party. There are so many things that affect the answer to this question. Over the past few years, many employees have been asked to work longer and harder, often without any more compensation. We try to find ways to make them feel good about the places they work by showing our gratitude in a variety of ways. One way to thank them is with an event that says, “thank you.”  Having something to round out the calendar year and kick off a new year is a great idea. However, companies still struggle with the obvious questions: is it in the budget, what is our liability, what type of event should we have, when should we have it, who do we invite and who is going plan it?


What is the goal of the event?

Now that the conversation has started about a holiday event, it’s time to figure out what the goal of the event will be. Is it to say thank you to employees, help your employee bond with each other or just let them have some FUN? 


What to call it?

Corporations are careful to not offend any religious groups. Is it a Christmas party, Hanukah party, Kwanzaa celebration, etc? Most of the time it becomes a winter celebration or takes on a theme so no one has to worry about offending anyone. 


Who to invite?

Should it be just employees, employees and significant other or a whole family event? Each type of group calls on different types of entertainment and dictates which direction the planner of the event might go. Often, it is best to survey your employees to see what they want and go from there.


When to have it?

The fall is already busy with a wide array of holidays and events. This means traveling, shopping and multiple personal engagements. Many employees find that adding another thing to their calendar outside of the workday is a strain. However, some others might find that a night out, on someone else, fun.  Since you can never make everyone happy all the time, you might want to alternate the things you do throughout the year. For instance, if you had a summer outing at an off-site venue on a weekend, perhaps do a special holiday lunch at work with some fun activities. That might be a nice change that caters to a diverse workforce. It’s important to keep in mind your staff and what they like. If they are a group that likes to go out after work together, that can lead you in one direction, but if they are a group with young families they might want to go in another direction. 


Who will plan it?

We often see the human resource departments planning these types of events, but not always. We all know that no matter who plans the event, this can be a time-consuming endeavor. Finding a partner such as an event planner or outside event company can often save you time and money since their experience and expertise can be invaluable. 


Other options

Some companies decide that, since it is the time of year for giving back, it is a perfect time to sponsor a community project that gives back to their community. A few ideas include:


  • Caroling at a senior center or hospital,

  • Volunteering at a food bank,

  • Collecting coats for the winter season ahead,

  • Donating toys for a good cause.


Sometimes we all get too busy with work and our home life that we forget about volunteering and doing things that make us feel good. Providing employees the opportunity to give back to their community can be both FUN and uplifting for them.


I guess what I am trying to say is, yes, there are a lot of things to consider, but taking the time to do so is the first step to finding ways to say thank you to your employees for all their hard work. So, it is that time of year and you should do something no matter what you call it or do. Celebrate your employee’s dedication to your company. After all, it is because of them you are the success you are. 


About the author:  

Anne- Celeste Anders, CMP is the Vice President of Corporate Event at FUN Enterprises, Inc. Her experience in the event planning industry began in Higher Education holding various positions in student activities at Framingham State University, Middlesex Community College and Merrimack College. She has presented on such topics as transitioning your volunteer role into a career, how to best work with your vendors, adding experiences to your events and trends in interactive entertainment. Anne Celeste is a past board member of the MPI New England Chapter Board of Directors and is a past president of the International Live Events Association.



Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash