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From Our Blog

Top Tips for Planning an Office Holiday Party

Whether you’re planning a small office gathering or a larger event, the holidays are the time to bring your staff together to celebrate the year’s achievements. Adrianna Avery Picozzi, Senior Catering and Events Manager at Boston Park Plaza has some top tips for hosting a holiday party for your organization.

1. Consider your audience when choosing a date and time.

Before you start circling dates and developing your holiday party ideas, check the calendar. Consider other celebrations that may impact attendance such as Hanukkah. What about travel plans? Some companies avoid hosting on the last Friday before Christmas as people may be taking extended weekends to travel to their family. Others like the last Friday, as it’s an opportunity to have a real end-of-the-year celebration.

Also consider the time of day. Some offices choose to shut early for a late afternoon event. Drinks and appetizers from 3pm – 5pm mean everyone can attend and addresses a more modest budget. “This type of event allows for people to plan a date night after the office party,” Adrianna says. “Other companies will have a Friday night celebration and block hotel rooms for those wishing to stay after the event.” If you’re looking to block rooms for your staff at one of the city’s luxury hotels, Boston Back Bay where Boston Park Plaza is located provides selection and accessibility.

2. Invite people early.

The holidays are such a busy time for people, it’s important to get on their calendars early. “And when you send out the invitations, be clear who you are inviting,” Adrianna says. “It is staff only? Staff plus one? Are kids invited?” No one wants to have the awkward conversation about who is actually invited, so be clear from the beginning. As well, consider those you’ve invited. If most people are commuting from the suburbs, they may not be able to stay late. Consider Uber vouchers or other alternatives to ensure they get home safely.

Christmas tree and nutcracker statues decorated in the Boston Park Plaza Lobby

3. Plan for choice in your menu.

Whether you’re creating a holiday party menu for your office, or even at home, consider a variety of options, including kosher, vegan and gluten-free options. “Make sure your menu is inclusive so people don’t feel left out, or that they need to eat beforehand, because there’s nothing for them,” Adrianna says. This diversity of choice extends to drinks. Not everyone is having alcohol, so be sure to include mocktails and other non-alcoholic choices. If you’re extending the invitation to children, then focus on fun, flavorful choices that are kid-appropriate. Yet the holiday party is also a time to inspire people to try something new, whether it’s a signature drink or a dish. Offer something different. Your guests will  remember it.

4. If it’s an annual event, make it different every year.

“People like to be surprised,” Adrianna says. “If you host your event at the same venue each year, consider new colors or themes. It can make the space feel completely different.” But keep the elements that are popular, so they become annual traditions. And consider activities that move beyond people simply talking to each other. “Give your guests something to do such as games,” Adrianna says. “It allows people to break the ice and get to know others.”

Avenue 34 venue space showing tables and bar setup
Avenue 34 Venue at Boston Park Plaza

5. Make the décor work for you.

Think beyond traditional red and green colors, Adrianna advises. Consider the styles, colors and trends of the year and weave them into your theme. If you’re decorating your home for the holidays, think about choices that can stay up after Christmas. A winter-theme, rather than a holiday theme means you can enjoy your decorations after December.

The décor of Boston Park Plaza always inspires the imagination. Stop by our lobby restaurant Off The Common, one of the best Boston Common Restaurants, and experience how design choices can transform a space.

Working with a party planner?

If you’re planning to work with an event professional, know your budget and roughly the number of people you expect. At Boston Park Plaza, we can plan for events from 50 people up to 1300 guests. Adrianna also advises to understand what you’re looking to accomplish with the party. Is it an end of the year awards dinner? These events tend to be sit-down meals. Is the focus an opportunity for the CEO to speak? In this case, consider a cocktail reception, time for speeches then dinner stations following the presentation.

When you’re planning your holiday party, or any gathering, contact our team at Boston Park Plaza by phone at 617-457-2281 or email at [email protected]. We’ll work with you to deliver an office holiday party that will capture the spirit of your organization.

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