10 Christmas party budgeting tips

Employee Christmas parties are an annual tradition for many businesses. These 10 budgeting tips will ensure you and your staff celebrate in style, without it costing the earth.

Acknowledging your staff plays a huge part in shaping the entire culture of your company. Consider some of the reasons why staff Christmas celebrations, done properly, are a must for any organisation's yearly planning:

Employee reward and engagement

  • A great way to reflect on the year’s achievements and celebrate success
  • A powerful way to increase personal productivity by acknowledging the vital role employees have played in your successes

Nurture relationships

  • Builds rapport between your employees while they get to know each other better in a social environment
  • Cements relationships and a positive culture, yielding long-term results further down the line

Return on investment

  • Entertaining and acknowledging your employees outweighs the costs in regards to loyalty, networking, motivation and team spirit
  • A perfect opportunity to also combine business content or employee development

What if you have a tight budget?

A staff Christmas party lunchYou can invest in your staff and still keep your business running successfully at Christmas with a staff event. It is the one time of year when a staff party is pretty much expected.

It is very possible to add plenty of flair to your own Christmas party without blowing the budget. You just need to think laterally and be a little creative.

Here are some tips to reduce costs:

1. In-house event

Bring the party to the office. If you have the space you can save on venue costs and just add some decorations to create your atmosphere.

2. Pick the best day

Thursdays and Fridays are the kings of November and December’s party calendar; however, holding your event towards the beginning of the week can result in a cheaper package.

3. Wait until later

Consider having your event in January or February, after the Christmas rush, to mark the start of a fresh year. This will also reduce the cost, as many venues will be craving business during their slow period.

4. Party with other companies

If you share an office building with other companies, ask them to consider sharing the space and costs of throwing a Christmas party. This will make for a more festive and social event, while saving both companies money on decorations, entertainment, catering and more.

5. Smart food options

Go for a buffet, canapes or platters (or a combination of these). You’ll find that decent-quality finger food will cost you far less than a sit-down meal, and you can take advantage of a range of supermarket party food deals to buy supplies for less.

6. Drinks on consumption

A businesman holding a glass of wine by a lit Christmas treeMany venues have package prices on drinks, which start at around $40 per person. This equates to about four or five drinks per person (for alcoholic drinks). You could end up paying for drinks that many of your staff will not actually consume.

Put a limit on the bar tab, have the venue let you know as this is being consumed and close it when you have reached your limit. You can specify what is not allowed and what is. Companies can save hundreds of dollars this way.

7. Lower the minimum spend

Most venues have a “minimum spend” on food and beverages. Look for a venue that either doesn’t or has one that is not excessive.

8. Set finish time

Plan the event within a specific time frame, avoiding filling time with additional activities, entertainment or food and drink.

9. Young talent

Look for keen and enthusiastic students to assist with entertainment, photography or videography. There are many people you could access who are starting out and would love the opportunity to fill their portfolio with work.

A student studying film, photography or music would cost much less and they come with great enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Make sure you do pay them, and also give them a solid brief of what you would like.

10. Employees only

Aside from keeping numbers down, this sometimes makes it easier for staff to socialise without having to worry about their significant others.

Tiz Porreca, AJUNJOEven if you don’t have the budget to pay for much, something as simple as arranging drinks in a local pub is still a great way to get everyone together to toast the festive season.

The most successful companies say that their people are their most important asset and they treat them exactly that way. It’s worth remembering that it is these investments that will help your company to flourish – by going the extra mile.

Tiz Porreca is the founder of Ajunjo, an events marketing company.

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