Which Type of Holiday Party Should You Host?
It will soon be that time of year where your calendar explodes with holiday activities. As the list of family, friends and work parties grows, we just accept that our next free weekend won’t be until January 2016!
In fact, you’ve probably already started thinking about what kind of holiday party you’re going to host this year, whether you’re in charge of hosting your company’s holiday party and/or your family and friends holiday gathering.
Decide which type of holiday party to host by considering the pros and cons of each type. There is something for everyone out there!
Formal Dinner Party: The black tie, little black dress event
- You can dress up! Maybe it’s a chance to break out of the big sweater, yoga pants routine. Or maybe getting dressed up gives you a reason to invite that special someone to join you for a night out.
- The food and drinks are usually amazing. If someone is throwing a formal party, they typically want to treat their guests to an exquisite evening. You can be that person (or company!) that indulges in fabulous tastes and shares a delectable meal in style!
- If this formal evening includes a plated meal, you may be seating guests next to someone they don’t know. Social butterflies may consider this a “pro” but introverts might be intimidated.
- If this is a company party, the cost of a formal event may override the company’s budget for series of employee appreciation events throughout the year. Or, it might set the bar pretty high for the rest of the events your company might host (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).
Informal Potluck: Everyone brings a dish to share
- There are so many food choices at a potluck that you are bound to find something (or many things!) you love.
- Everyone contributing to the meal makes the host’s life much easier.
- Personalized dishes can show a little of everyone’s personality, or at least show if they have any real talent in the kitchen.
- You have to plan extra time before the event to make your dish.
- You’re asking your guests to help host, in essence. This isn’t always a bad thing, but as the host, you should be aware that you should have some extra responsibilities.
- Too many choices of delicious food can often make us eat until we are beyond full. We recommend sipping on some sparkling water after eating your fair portion. That will give you something to do while socializing and preventing you from feeling too guilty about trying every single thing!
Cocktail Hour: Socialize, drink and graze, but not for too long
- Typically an “easier” holiday event to plan, your biggest conundrums include choosing between yummy cocktails for your cocktail menu and deciding on stationary or passed hors d’oeuvres.
- Cocktail hours usually take place after work hours, so attendance is usually great. Plus, as the host, you can still get to bed at a decent hour.
- The layout of a cocktail hour encourages guests to walk around and talk with old friends as well as make new ones. The cocktails may help you spark up conversations with new people, and making new connections is never a bad thing!
- Cocktail hours never seem to last long enough. Just as you are getting into the festivities, people start to leave. Bah, humbug.
Themed Holiday Parties: Unleash guests’ creative side
- Challenge your creative side (and those of your holiday party guests!) to dress as instructed, whether it is with an ugly sweater or as a character in the selected party theme.
- All the guests can guarantee the activities will cause lots of laughing – snag an espresso before it begins because it’s bound to be a wild evening!
- Lots of planning goes into these events. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – or, better yet, partner with a professional company (caterers included!) that can really help walk you through this process. We’re creative people by nature, after all and love, love, love these kind of intricate party ideas.
- Often these kinds of parties can be more inclusive, meaning between entertainment, costumes, décor, prizes, etc., things can add up. While there are ways to be budget-conscious, consider how “big” you want to go with this party idea with the costs of decorations, outfits, themed foods, catering and more.
Charity Event: ‘Tis the season for giving
- Giving to a charitable cause will put you in the holiday spirit. You’ll leave this party knowing you made an impact, and so will your guests.
- Often these become a bit of a “Who’s Who” event. This may be a great opportunity to network, as well as get those VIPs, to finally attend your holiday party over someone else’s on that same night.
- On the flipside, charity events in the form of a holiday party are often networking events. If that isn’t your goal, perhaps you can simply add a charitable element to your other holiday party idea.
This holiday season, we are all blessed to enjoy time with family, friends and co-workers. We hope this will help you decide how to make the most out of your holiday party this year.
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Timothy Seeberg is the Director of Major Events at BG.