With winter around the corner and the holiday season coming along with it, you may already be setting your mind to this year’s company holiday party. While some might find holiday parties lose-lose ventures that make no one happy, with careful planning, you can put together one that everyone can enjoy.

Emphasize Staff Input

One way to ensure holiday parties are comfortable and enjoyable for everyone is to rely heavily on staff input. After all, they’re the one the party is for, so seeking their opinions is a good idea. Create a questionnaire where staff can share their views, desires, and ideas, or set up a submissions box for the same. You can use these ballots to inform what kinds of themes, foods, or decorations your staff is interested in. As you find out more, you can narrow down options and repoll everyone to refine your plans further.

Keep it Seasonal

With workplaces becoming more diverse,  it is important to make sure everyone is comfortable. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays, celebrates the same way, or even celebrates. Choosing one, or even three, holidays to highlight could make some employees uncomfortable. Therefore it’s prudent to stick with neutral themes, decorations, and music that rely on seasonal elements, rather than religious ones.

Fun for All

In keeping with the last point, any entertainment for the party should be fun all can enjoy. Steer away from activities that are denominationally specific, like caroling or lighting candles. Instead, consider games that focus on building inter-department camaraderie, for example, winter-themed karaoke and trivia games made up of dealership FAQ. If you’re planning an anonymous gift exchange, set some ground rules about what can be given. This way, you don’t end up with gifts submitted being holiday specific.

Food for Thought

No one likes a party where they can’t eat anything. Make sure when you poll your employees that you find out if there are any restrictions, and supply food everyone can enjoy. If you’re not sure if a coworker is able to eat something, ask them beforehand. Or, if everyone’s on board, suggest potluck with everyone bringing a meaningful dish.

Additionally, provide non-alcoholic beverage options. This will cover any who prefer to skip alcohol for religious or personal reasons.

Participation Optional

Finally, resist the urge to make the party mandatory. Yes,  you’ve put a lot of work into making it a great night for all involved, but people don’t like feeling pressured into having a good time. Not only that, but during the holidays it is not unusual for there to be conflicts. You don’t want to put your employee in a position where they’re choosing between their child’s class holiday party and their work party. And if someone else has a cold, you don’t want them to feel they had to give up an evening of rest because they’d be penalized otherwise. Making participation optional will be appreciated by all and let you know that whoever has shown up chose to be there.

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