Team Building: Hosting a Holiday Party Without Breaking the Bank - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Hosting a Holiday Party Without Breaking the Bank

The year is drawing to a close and the collection of holidays in December make it a prime time to host a celebration. It’s natural to want to host a party as a sign of appreciation to all those who helped your business complete another successful season.

However, the funds for your party planning committee probably aren’t limitless, so below are some inexpensive ideas to keep the party festive without running up a sizable bill.

Choose a Theme

Photo: Mullin

Picking a theme for your party will help you narrow down your focus and you’ll know exactly what you need to pull off a certain theme.

There are a number of different party themes categories to choose from, varying from a philanthropic focus to downright silly.  

Some options include choosing to do a party with a purpose such as a wish tree wrapping party where you partner with a local non-profit to provide gifts for those in need. In the weeks leading up to the party, employees can place unwrapped presents under the wish tree. At the holiday party, you can provide a catered meal and all the wrapping supplies and your team wraps the presents.

Another one could be a storybook Christmas where staff can bring children’s books to be donated and they dress as their favorite book characters.  

If you decide you want to host a party where your employees can bring their families some possible themes include doing an evening of caroling, hosting a gingerbread house construction contest, or a sugar cookie decorating party.

Other general holiday party themes include the common ugly sweater contest, a white Christmas where everything from the decorations to the attendees should be in white or a Christmas around the world where you feature decorations, food and drinks from different countries.

No matter what theme you pick, setting up a simple photo booth somewhere at the party will provide your employees a chance to capture some of the fun. Also once you’ve narrowed your party theme options down, don’t be afraid to poll your staff and see which they would prefer to do.

Holiday Games and Activities

There are plenty of holiday games and activity options where the feasibility will vary on the size of your company. Also, keep in mind the demographics of your staff so you can select games that are the most likely to keep everyone engaged and having fun.

For smaller organizations, you could host a holiday ‘award show’ where employees vote ahead of time for silly categories like ‘most interesting hobbies outside of work,’ ‘most knowledgeable about plants,’ etc. Another option is a holiday tradition show and tell where employees can sign up and share about their holiday traditions for a set period of time.

In a larger staff setting, you can encourage mingling with a holiday version of the ‘Who Am I?’ game where attendees must guess Christmas characters’ names on their backs by asking other guests yes or no questions. People bingo is another game that encourages meeting other team members and learning more about them. This is where participants must find other employees who match certain facts like ‘is fluent in Spanish” or “has been to more than 5 countries” to get 5 boxes in a row: horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Food Options

Renting out a restaurant or catering a sit-down dinner can quickly get expensive, but there are ways to keep food costs down. If you’re at a venue, consider providing heavy hors d’oeuvres like sliders, egg rolls or chicken wings. These can provide a substantial amount of food without having the higher price tag of a full-blown meal.

If you are catering a meal, add a fun competitive twist by having a potluck dessert contest. Choose the first prize winner by a juried panel or by vote for best homemade and best-purchased dessert. Award them with a gift card or an extra PTO day to get more participation. If you’re located in a more temperate region, having several food trucks come for your party is a fun option that provides plenty of meal choices for your staff.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.