Ah, the office Christmas party. It’s funny that something that arises out of such positive intentions brings out such stress and trepidation for a lot of us. Stress for the organisers, who could well be tearing their hair out trying to pull something together at this very moment, and trepidation for the attendees, who might be worried about getting themselves in too much of a state.
We’ve all got our own ideas of what a Christmas party should and shouldn’t be, but when it comes to articles and blog posts offering up their Christmas party inspiration, they’re surprising well, uninspired. Christmas… on a boat! Outdoor Christmas! Sporting Christmas! Christmas Christmas!
…We might have made the last one up – but every other idea is one we’ve seen put forward on various sites. But of course, we couldn’t be critical of other people’s ideas without offering our own, so here goes nothing…
July in Christmas
Flipping the old “Christmas in July” idea on its head, why not try to recreate a sunny Summer vibe in the thick of Winter?
Quite what form that might take is entirely up to you. You could opt for a Hawaiian luau, for instance – with the food, entertainment and garlands (known traditionally as ‘lei’ individually or the plural – ‘nã lei’) of flowers or beads that come with it.
Or, you could lean into the typical British Summer, or rather, the typical British Summer on a good day, and a very good day at that. The nice thing about this idea is you can make it as tongue-in-cheek or as idealistic as you like. It can be one of water fights (indoors though!), Swingball and beach barbecues, or one of suckling pig, glorious sunsets and refreshing, alcohol-laden cocktails.
There is a beautiful irony to holding a British Summer Christmas party in the middle of December, one that will probably have more than a handful of attendees nudging you in the ribs and saying something to the effect of: “Hey, you’ve really nailed this theme – how did you get the weather to play along too?”
Then again, a smooth Hawaiian luau might be the perfect antidote to an unusually bitter Winter.
A Nightmare Before Christmas
Taking a leaf out of Tim Burton’s book, why not give your Christmas party a Halloween twist?
Whether it’s dividing the venue quite literally into Christmas and Halloween, or adding scary sprinkles to a traditional festive soirée – you can pick and choose your favourite aspects of Halloween and combine them with the best bits of Christmas. It’s such a strong contrast that seamlessly blends the scary with the saccharine – one that’s near guaranteed to make your event one to remember.
Whichever route you go down, a fully-fledged display of mixology and flair bartending can add a dramatic flourish to proceedings – with billowing dry ice, flipping bottles and the occasional burst of flame practically begging guests to get involved. Tricks may not be our strong point but treats… Treats we can cover, delivering festive staples with the Samuel James Events touch, as well as our own spins on mainstays of the trick-or-treater’s goodie bag.
“The Office” Christmas Party
If we don’t have our own memories of tragic Christmas parties from previous jobs, we can all certainly appreciate the dismal portrait of Christmas parties that Gervais and Merchant painted for us in BBC’s “The Office”.
As such, an ironic twist to the traditional formula would be to lean heavily into office party clichés – setting, soundtrack, cringeworthy games – they’re all fair game down this route. It takes a very particular kind of workforce to appreciate the joke, and you have to make sure you underpin your efforts with a solid foundation of top-notch cuisine – which is where we would come into the picture.
We could take the staples of hastily arranged buffets – cocktail sausages, cheese on sticks – you name it, we can make it, and make it to our exacting standards with ingredients of the highest possible quality.
An exciting new idea is all it could take to bring the excitement back to Christmas parties. Let’s bring Christmas parties back, making them feel less like a chore, maybe even something to look forward to at long last. After all, isn’t it about time the Christmas party shrugged off the tremendously bad wrap it has gotten over the years?