Small office Christmas party ideas & tips

Small office Christmas party

Christmas office parties are a great way to celebrate the season and bring the team together. A good event can foster employee engagement and morale, and inspire them before the new year.

Organizing a great office party is not for large companies only. With a small team of 20, 10, or 5 employees there are ways to make your Christmas party fun for everyone.

If you are responsible for organizing a Christmas party in your small office this year, worry not. In this guide, you will find tips and tricks for planning this year’s festivities and creating a memorable event for everyone even with a limited budget.

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Did you know? The first Christmas party in the office took place in 1923 at the Engineering Societies Building in New York City. People enjoyed dancing, a buffet dinner, and a visit from Santa Claus.

How to plan your small office Christmas party?

Any successful Christmas party starts with considering all the small details and preparation. Here are some tips you might want to keep in mind:

Start planning your party early

Start planning your office Christmas party a few months in advance. Think through the party theme and activities, office decoration, menu, and more. One small detail can make or break your party, and with plenty of time, you’ll take care of everything without getting overwhelmed.

Here is what you want to take care of:

  • Allocate the budget – reach out to the business owner or CEO to discuss how much money you can spend on the event.
  • Ask about preferences – discuss with the colleagues their expectations – what food, drinks, activities, and venue they’d prefer. Not only will it help you to cater to the team’s needs, but also it will help your coworkers feel valued.
  • Take care of decorations – if you plan to have a party at the office, it’s the decorations that set the festive mood and make it look less like a casual dinner for coworkers.
  • Prepare formal invitations – everyone enjoys receiving party invitations. Discuss in advance whether the party is just for the team or everyone can bring a spouse.
  • Incorporate a creative theme and activities – below, you will find some creative ideas to make your office party awesome.

Allocate your party budget

The party location, presents for employees, activities, and entertainment depend on how much money the company is willing to spend on the event. If it’s been a good year for business, you can book a table in a cozy restaurant or pub, choose the dress code, and run all the fun activities there.

If the budget is limited, you’ll need to get creative. Decorate the office, get the Christmas tree, and think about fun activities. Here’s what to include in your Christmas party budget:

  • Office decorations
  • Food and drinks
  • Invitations
  • Gifts for employees
  • Games and activities
  • Entertainment.

Consider the location

If you choose to celebrate Christmas at a restaurant or café, book tables in advance. Christmas holidays are hectic, so you might want to make reservations months ahead. Hosting your party at the office is a great budget option, and you can organize any games and activities you like.

Create a Christmas vibe in your small office

Invest in the Christmas tree to put everyone in the office in a festive mood. Decorate workstations and desks with lights and tinsel to remind everyone that the holiday is approaching. Use the paper chains, snowflakes, holly berries, and balloons to decorate your office, or use a theme for decorations.

Encourage the coworkers to bring what they have at home and decorate the space together – thus, everyone will contribute to creating the holiday vibes. Moreover, it will help bring people together.

Arrange for food and drinks

No perfect Christmas celebration is possible without delicious food. Think about the set-up for your office – will you have a Christmas dinner or just snacks? Depending on the size of the team and their preferences, you can opt for catering, delivery service, or order a takeout. If you book tables, make sure that the venue offers suitable menu options for everyone.

Here is what to keep in mind:

  • Consider the preferences of all team members – with a small team, it is easy to pick options suitable for everyone. If someone on your team has dietary restrictions or is vegan, make sure there are delicious meals for them.
  • Order desserts – in addition to main courses and finger foods, make sure that you offer traditional Christmas desserts such as snowball cookies, rich gingerbread, and chocolate cakes.
  • Drinks – make sure there are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available. For those consuming alcohol, you can offer gingerbread martini, mulled wine, and other cocktails. For non-alcoholic options, think juices and flavored cocoa.

Pick a theme for your small office Christmas party

The simplest way to organize the office party is to ask the team to wear something festive. Yet, adding a theme can shake up your party and give it a creative twist, making it not just another office bash, but a celebration worth being remembered. Here are some themes you can incorporate in a small office setting:

  • Ugly sweater party – remember those green and red sweaters your aunt or grandma gave you for Christmas? Instruct your team to wear the ugliest sweater to the office party and run a competition. Plus, you can take amazing photos together.
  • Winter Wonderland – if you live in a place where it’s warm in winter, there is something special about using the Winter Wonderland theme in your office. Decorate your office with artificial snow, ice sculptures, glitter, and fairy lights. Wear something white and silver, or encourage the team to put on scarves and gloves.
  • Chocolate Factory party – use candy themes, bright colors, and stripes in office decorations. Encourage the team to wear something quirky and bright, and prepare a candy or chocolate buffet with a range of delicious options.
  • Vegas-themed party – think Vegas decorations: Christmas banners, curtain lights, and casino decorations to create an atmosphere of glamor and excitement. For activities, a prize wheel, Secret Santa casino or poker would be great.
  • Eco-friendly party – how about organizing a sustainable Christmas in the office? Use paper, wooden, or DIY upcycled ornaments to decorate the office and prepare a plant-based dinner using ingredients from local companies. Use reusable cutleries and encourage the team to exchange eco-friendly gifts.

Show appreciation

Christmas is the best time to show appreciation to employees. When planning your party activities, allocate some time to recognize the hard work and thank everyone for their input.

You can even set up a small award ceremony and give performance awards. Here are some examples:

  • Employee of the Month
  • Best Team Player
  • Most Improved Performer
  • Best Customer-Centered Employee
  • The People’s Choice.

In addition to public appreciation, it is a good idea to offer monetary rewards to employees. It will increase loyalty and morale. Think about how much money you can spend on gifts and bonuses, and if the budget is limited, consider non-monetary recognition. Cash bonuses, flexible working hours before holidays, gift cards, free gym membership, and paid leaves will inspire your team to stay productive next year.

Pick fun games and activities for a small office

Fun Christmas games and activities are the essential element of every party. They promote camaraderie and collaboration while letting your coworkers have a good time! Here are some game ideas for a small office:

  • Christmas Tree decoration competition – turn decorating your office into a contest! Hold a competition for the best office cubicle design, or create 2-3 teams and see who will do a better job decorating the office space.
  • Snowball fight – a team of younger, energetic individuals will appreciate heading outdoors to play snowballs. If you don’t live in a snowy area, use cotton balls.
  • Watch Christmas movies – get a TV or projector, arrange seats for everyone, and have a relaxed holiday with coworkers watching the holiday classics, for example, Home Alone or It is a Wonderful Life.
  • Scavenger Hunt – play the classic Scavenger Hunt game with a holiday twist. Divide the coworkers into teams and write a list of items they should find in the office or the neighborhood. Don’t forget to write creative clues!
  • Secret Santa – Secret Santa is the most popular gift exchange activity in the workplace. In it, all coworkers draw names and give presents to a person whose name they drew. If you haven’t tried it before, here is our guide on what Secret Santa is and how to play it. If you play Secret Santa every year at work, here are the ways to play traditional Secret Santa with a twist.
  • Christmas workshop – if the team is in the mood for something creative, host a craft workshop in the office. Book a lesson on Christmas wreath making, Christmas baubles, stockings, or other décor – options are limitless!

Planning your Christmas party in advance and taking care of the décor, food and drinks, and entertainment will help you organize a party even if you haven’t done this before. Follow the tips and ideas above to make your small office party truly memorable.

Exchange presents in the office with a twist

Secret Santa is a popular way to exchange presents in the office. With MySanta online organizer, you can streamline the gift exchange and make it seamless for everyone.

Here is how it works: all coworkers sign up and tell what they would like to get for Christmas. If you don’t know what to ask for in Secret Santa, read our guide. Then, each player becomes someone’s Santa and can see the gift ideas and communicate with the gift recipient anonymously. Plus, the game host can see who bought a present and who hasn’t, ensuring that everyone receives a gift on time.