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  • Writer's pictureEvent Staff

4 Simple Steps To A Better Company Holiday Party (and 2 Cocktail Recipes)

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

What do you think of when you think of an office holiday party? Do you think of begrudging themes, required niceties, and "I'm only here for the free champagne "? It's time for all of that to change.

Read on to unlock the best company holiday party ever.

Company parties at Piccadilly Place, the best event center for employee appreciation parties in Loudoun county.

PS: We have two delicious company holiday party approved cocktail recipes for you straight from the Village Square bar!

1. Make Guests Comfortable

Remember, you're competing with Netflix and takeout, so make sure your employees are comfortable. Consider company culture, seasonal workload, and required (or not) dress code when planning your holiday party.

Kim of Six Star Events says of every good event,

"You want to make coming to an event easy for the guests and very enjoyable."

Bring Your Dog To Work(Party)

Your company culture is an important factor in planning your annual holiday party. If you have a high-energy office, employees could have a great time at a shindig with a strong theme and a costume dress code. A low-key group of employees may be intimidated by required holiday regalia, but would be quite happy with a dog friendly get together with beer tasting and a pool tournament.

Holiday party game night for employee appreciation party at Piccadilly Place

Is There A Dress Code?

Make sure your employees are physically comfortable in whatever dress code you determine for you party. If it varies much from the expected office attire, include the dress code for the office party in the invitations. Yes, if you're having an ugly sweater party it should definitely be pointed out, but when in doubt, include the dress code anyways.

Be Respectful Of Schedules

That goes for the company calendar as well as the employee's calendar. If the holiday season is a busy season for your company, schedule your party before or after the peak time. Luckily, there are fun thematic options from Octoberfest to New Years to build your party around.

Likewise, don't schedule your party during the middle of employee off-time if you can help it. Thursdays are popular for company holiday parties because they strike just the right party spirit and are respectful of any weekend plans your employees may have.

Having your office party on Thursday is also a good way to portion more of the party budget towards prizes and gifts of appreciation - more on that below.

2. Get The Party Started

Choose A Theme

The theme can be per an occasion like Christmas or New Years, or more specific like 'Home Alone' or 'Nightmare Before Christmas'. Either way, a good theme - paired with great food and drink - will be the talk of the office.

Pumeli says of great employee appreciation parties,

"Above all, the cardinal rule is " Don't be boring."

We couldn't agree more.

Company holiday party in Winchester, VA. Best poker themed employee appreciation party.

Games & Entertainment For Your Company Holiday Party

No, not like the baby shower games your Aunt Jean might suggest - far from it. Consider organizing tournaments of billiards, poker, or giant Jenga. Games that encourage socializing or a little friendly competition will get the conversations going and the party atmosphere flowing.

Best holiday work party entertainment for a unique event

On entertainment, a helpful article by WeWork says,

"If hiring entertainers that will perform on a stage, your employees will probably watch the show rather than interact with one another. Instead, try to create an atmosphere that lets people ease into conversations."

We suggest including entertainment that mingles among the guests - a roaming violinist, a magician, or a 20 minute swing dance instruction for the group to jump start a good time.

3. Food And Drink

Should you serve cocktails or mocktails at your company Christmas party?

Cocktails VS Mocktails

Of course, one or two cocktails will certainly get the party started. However, if your company or an individual employee doesn't wish to imbibe, make sure to discuss your needs with your caterer.

These holiday party-ready cocktail recipes from Courtney, the Bar Manager at The Village Square can be served to satisfy both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

The Gingerbread Man

1 1/2 oz Rumchata

1/2 oz Absolut Vanilla Vodka

1/2 oz Domaine De Canton

Shake, strain into a Martini glass and top with crushed ginger snaps.

Peppermint Hot Cocoa

1/2 oz Peppermint Syrup

Hot Chocolate

Whipped Cream

Top with crushed candy canes.

Make it alcoholic with 1oz Peppermint Schnapps and 1/2oz Vanilla Vodka.

Support Your Local Foodie Culture

Local restaurants, food trucks, breweries, and other foodie establishments are the secret sauce to an impactful holiday party. Aside from securing top-notch catering service, involving local businesses in your company holiday party gives a unique and memorable touch to the experience.

Food trucks and beer on tap for the best company Christmas party that employees will want to go to

4. Show Your Gratitude

After all, expressing your gratitude to your employees and your community is the main reason for throwing your company holiday party.

Raffle Off Door Prizes & Gift Swag

Nothing delivers a good time like properly thanking your employees for a successful year. Be sure to allocate enough in your budget for meaningful employee gifts.

On throwing a great company party, American Express Business says in their 7 Ways To Throw A Great Company Party Without Going Broke,

"In addition to the party itself, make sure each staff member receives some type of personal thank-you from you. Depending on your budget, that could be paid time off, a gift card or cash, or simply a thoughtful handwritten note about why you value them as part of your team."

Set An Example Of Philanthropy

If you typically make an annual donation to a cause, consider matching employee's donations, or nominating an exemplary employee to make the donation in their name. Get creative with a giant holiday card that employees can sign, or have a station for writing holiday cards for soldiers overseas.

Staff The Party

We agree with Quickbase when they said in their article How To Throw A Holiday Party Employees Will Be Excited To Attend,

"Ensure that everyone who wants to go can go. Don’t leave your receptionist stuck covering the phone while everyone else goes to the party. And similarly, don’t make some employees “work” at the party (as caterers, coat checkers, or so forth)."

Your venue should have a shortlist of vendors available to provide staffing and other services for your corporate holiday party to help take the guesswork out of your planning.


Ambiance, uniqueness, and a memorable event are waiting for you at Piccadilly Place. It's time to create the traditions for the books.

The holiday calendar is filling up, so reserve your event date today.

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