Print & Go GuidanceBy Genni Burkhart
In 2022, in-person holiday office parties made a triumphant “return.” This year, company holiday celebrations are about creating meaningful memories, serving delicious themed treats, and shifting the focus onto employees by incorporating fun activities and sustainability into events.
For the 2023 holiday office party checklist, we’ll explore what it takes to create an engaging atmosphere where your team can unwind, connect, and celebrate their shared accomplishments. Additionally, it should serve as a reminder for employers to be thankful for their employees and value their contributions.
Ultimately, a successful holiday staff party will help to foster a positive company culture and create a more harmonious workplace.
1. Value Your Employee's Time: Try a Holiday Luncheon
Common in finance industries, luncheons are trending for holiday office party celebrations in 2023. Having your staff holiday party during business hours allows everyone to keep their free time open. It also avoids adding to busy holiday schedules that can lead to exhaustion and stress.
Holiday luncheons are a great way to reward your team for their hard work during the year. Plus, it will ensure that everyone has a chance to make it to the party, as it's held during the day when people have more flexibility in their schedules. Additionally, lunches can be less expensive than dinners, making them an attractive option for many businesses.
2. Themed Menus and Craft “Mocktails”
In line with a holiday brunch, mocktails (nonalcoholic drinks that mimic the tastes of bourbon, gin, and vermouth and incorporate carbonated sodas, cream, and fruit juice) are fun-for-all libations perfect for inclusive holiday celebrations.
From holiday punch to peppermint juleps to elevated hot chocolate recipes that double as desserts and mimosas made with sparkling apple cider - mocktails are a fun and delicious way to indulge without overindulging.
Another hot holiday party trend this holiday season is to base your menu around a theme.
This year's trend is “candycore,” which combines two of this summer’s hottest trends – Barbiecore and mermaidcore – with a holiday twist. The team at Etsy describes this as one of their hottest trends heading into the holiday season. It includes everything from lollipops, candy canes, gumdrops, cotton candy cakes, treats wrapped in iridescent materials (searches up 50%), playful patterns, pastel colors, sparkles, glitter, and pearls.
For those tastes that fall outside of Barbie’s sugar-filled fantasy land, themed menus that tell a culinary story are a popular holiday party catering trend for 2023. Crafted menus that take your guests on a culinary journey include dishes inspired by wintery North Pole landscapes or whimsical delights such as the “Nutcracker Suite” or a cheese tasting.
With a themed menu, you can transform your holiday gathering into an immersive experience full of flavors, textures, and aromas, sure to leave your guests enchanted and delighted.
Themed menus can be executed as a formal sit-down dinner, as standing hors d’oeuvres, or pot-luck style where guests are invited to bring a dish centered on a particular theme, encouraging engagement and, no doubt, meaningful conversations.
3. Team-Building Charity Events
Team-building activities that support charity allow employees to engage and bond with each other through a shared effort that benefits a meaningful cause.
There are even organizations that help to maximize company holiday charity events while incorporating fun, team-building activities. Some popular holiday team-building events include building bikes for kids, GPS-triggered challenges, The Big Give, Paws for A Cause, Operation Military Care, and a Foodbank Showdown.
4. Thoughtful and Fun Gift Exchanges
The “white elephant” gift exchange is making all the holiday party lists this year, and for a good reason: they’re a fun and easy way to spread a little joy, especially when everyone battles it out for that standout gift!
Regardless of the gift exchange, white elephant, secret Santa, ugly Christmas sweaters, gag gifts, or cookie exchange, look for practical items most people would want and enjoy. Gift items such as candles, cozy socks, gloves, or beanies, beauty products, gift cards, bespoke coffee, handy portable lights, beauty products, and kitchen gadgets are relatively universal.
5. Hands-On Fun
For those looking to incorporate activities and adventure, incorporating hands-on fun during holiday parties is fairly simple.
This can include everything from mock game shows such as a “Family Feud” or “The Price is Right” to hosting a holiday-themed scavenger hunt.
Other team activities include group cooking events, ice sculpting, and gingerbread competitions.
No matter the activity of choice, hands-on fun encourages creativity, laughter, and teamwork for a holiday party night to remember.
In 2023, celebrating is clearly something to cherish and look forward to. Moments like these allow us to reflect, express gratitude, and embrace the human condition. So this year, go for it and let your imagination lead the way.
With trends this year focusing on charitable giving, thoughtful party menus and gift exchanges, and capturing the youth-like magic of the holidays, we see a focus on honoring the spirit of the holidays in ways that are fun and unique.
Not unexpectedly, people are embracing a more lighthearted and joyous attitude this holiday season.
When planning your holiday staff party, remember to show your team how much you appreciate them, let go of the daily workplace stressors, and embrace the child-like magic of the holidays.
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Author: With over 13 years as a published journalist, editor, and writer, Genni Burkhart's career has spanned politics, healthcare, law, business finance, technology, and news. She resides in Northern Colorado, where she works as the Editor in Chief of the Incisor at DOCS Education.