7 Fun Holiday Party Ideas Your Employees Will Love

Holiday parties can help boost employee morale and company culture. They show your appreciation for employees’ hard work and dedication. This article highlights creative party ideas to celebrate the holidays with your employees.
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What is a holiday party? 

A holiday party is an event that company leaders typically host in December to celebrate the seasonal holidays with employees. Employees take a break from tasks and attend a company-funded party either on- or off-site. Leadership uses this party to demonstrate their appreciation for their employees’ performance.  

Related: Office Party Ideas: Three Ideas for Your Business or Office


Holiday party ideas 

There are many unique ways to celebrate the holidays with employees. Some ways to hold a holiday party or office Christmas party include: 


Plan a themed party 

Get creative with your office party with a theme where employees participate in themed activities like decorating the office, wearing costumes or eating themed foods. Possible party themes include: 

  • Favorite holiday movie: Employees vote for a movie and decorate the office accordingly. Dress up as movie characters and watch the film during the party.
  • Gift wrapping party: Bring presents for friends and family and wrap them together. Supply ribbons, gift tags and wrapping paper for everyone to share. 
  • Gingerbread houses: Decorate the office as a gingerbread house. Provide gingerbread kits and crafts to host a gingerbread house-making contest. 
  • Winter wonderland: Use white decorations and add effects like twinkling lights and artificial snow to make the office look like a winter wonderland.
  • Tropical themed: Take a break from the winter weather with a beach-themed office. Have team members wear sunglasses, leis and flower shirts. 


Host friendly competitions 

Have each department work together to play games and engage in friendly competitions. Award prizes like gift cards, candy, tech gadgets or paid time off. Possible friendly competitions include: 

  • Miniature tree decorating 
  • Holiday relay race 
  • Employee- or holiday-themed trivia 
  • Cubicle or desk decorating


Volunteer together

Celebrate the holidays by giving to local charities. Possible charitable or volunteer activities include: 

  • Hosting a charitable event: Invite employees and families to dinner and auction off prices during the meal. Donate ticket fees and other proceeds to charity. 
  • Organizing a gift drive: Ask employees to bring toys to donate to local charities or toy drives.
  • Putting up an angel tree: Collaborate with a local nonprofit to set up an angel tree in the office. Employees can pick a tag and donate to a person in need.


Provide extra entertainment 

Hire someone to perform at the party or set up activities for employees to try. Ideas include:

  • Hiring a magician
  • Hiring face painters
  • Renting a photo booth
  • Purchasing a tree and holding a tree lighting ceremony 


Find unique ways to exchange gifts 

There are affordable and creative ways employees can exchange gifts. Some ideas include: 

  • Cookie swap: Employees can bake unique cookies at home and bring them into the office for a swap.  
  • Themed gifts: Exchange specific gifts like food, movies, books or gift cards.
  • Draw names: Pick names and exchange personalized gifts to each other. 


Take employees somewhere new 

Host your party outside of the office by taking your employees to a venue like: 

  • Ice-skating rink
  • City scavenger hunt
  • Bowling alley
  • Escape room 
  • Restaurant 
  • Holiday happy hour at a bar
  • Holiday theater show 
  • Art class 
  • Cooking class 


Provide treats or meals 

Food is a great way to employees to bond as they try new holiday-themed foods and cocktails. Food-themed ideas include: 

  • Potluck: Employees sign up to bring dishes or assign types of food to different departments. For example, marketing could bring appetizers and accounting could bring beverages. 
  • Ice cream sundae bar: Place different ice cream flavors and sundae ingredients on a table and encourage employees to decorate their sundaes.
  • Cookie decorating: Supply ingredients and have employees decorate holiday-themed cookies together. 


Frequently asked questions about holiday parties 


How do I plan an office holiday party? 

Plan your office holiday party around your budget. For example, you may need a larger budget to take employees to an off-site venue and a smaller budget to host an office party. Encourage employees to form party planning committees to help decorate, plan and pick a theme. Send out surveys to learn what kind of holiday party employees prefer. 


How do you spice up an office holiday party? 

Ways to make your holiday office parties more unique include: 

  • Inviting a surprise entertaining guest like a magician
  • Announcing and distributing end of the year bonuses or extra paid time off 
  • Bringing employees to an off-site location 


How much do companies spend on holiday parties? 

How much your company spends depends on what your budget allows. Many companies spend around $50 to $75 per employee. If you’re a newer business, spending $100 to $200 total on a themed office party can be an affordable and creative option.

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