Making Christmas Functions Easy
…so easy you’ll think you had hundreds of elves organising it.
If you’re the champion whose job it is to organise your annual Christmas do, but the thought of herding all of those colleague and/or friends has turned your festive cheer into a resigned ‘bah humbug’ – rest easy, my friend.
Let me jingle your bells with some helpful advice. Partying is our business, after all – now, let’s make it yours.
It’s beginning to look a lot like…
Get onto it early! Chances are, as you slide into Spring, you’re starting to have vague thoughts about the year being finalised; your daydreams run to ditching your workplace for a couple of weeks and kicking back with an Aperol spritz. Unfortunately – this is true for everybody. It’s a great idea to plan a big bash with your work-mates one Saturday in December; the only problem is that I can guarantee you that every office in town are starting to think the same thing.
As someone who usually organises things within a 24-hour window, I was surprised to learn that it’s incredibly common for Christmas function enquiries to start filtering in in July, and they peak in October. Now, don’t let the hyper-organised get you down. If you’re reading this in November and you still haven’t emailed me yet, don’t stress. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve and I can have you organised before you can say ‘North Pole’.
First of all, let’s think outside the box. Saturday has a bit of a reputation as the quintessential Day to Party but if I remember correctly there are twelve days of Christmas, and seven days of the week. The beauty of the festive season is that there’s a lot more flexibility around Days You Are Allowed to Party and well, at least for us here at Concrete Boots, we like to take full advantage of that fact.
Fridays are the next clear choice of course, for obvious reasons. But the end of the year is less about deadlines and more about decking the halls so make sure you leave your options open! A Thursday event has a lot going for it: you’re less likely to lose attendees due to event clashes, your venue is more likely to be available, and odds are your pre-break-up Fridays will consist of a single meeting followed by a long lunch anyway.
Speaking of… another festive favourite is the Christmas lunch! Block out your afternoon and get ready to yank some crackers, because that’s right, we’re daytime partying! If an arvo holly jolly is your thing, a venue might even open their doors early, especially for you.
Of course there’s the added bonus of not being responsible for any rowdy behaviour that might occur after 10pm. Have lunch, give ’em a few cocktails and send ’em on their way.
Make a list, check it… nah, get someone else to do it for you.
The man in red can tell you everything you need to know about names on a list. Take a leaf out of his stocking and get those names down early.
The sooner you can get the invites out to everyone, the greater your chance of maximising attendance. The silly season often fills up with events alarmingly fast, so to make sure you pull off the one to remember we need to be in people’s calendars now.
Not only that, nabbing those RSVPs early will mean that you’ll have a clear idea of numbers from the get-go. Knowing the number of guests will make everything easier for you down the line, which is what I’m all about (less stress, more sleigh ride). It means that you can easily decide whether you need exclusive use of the venue, or just need to reserve a section.
It also helps with budgeting; once you know the number of attendees you can get to work on planning food and drink packages and cost them accordingly.
The other advantage of a greater turn-out is that there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll get to see Sharon or Simon kissing Santa Claus…
Deck ‘em/silver bells
Dire warnings aren’t very jolly, it’s true – but sadly a downside of Christmas is the monumental amount of waste created. We’ve all wrestled with our bins on Boxing Day often enough to know just how much is discarded post-celebration.
When it comes to decorating for a Christmas event, no doubt the first thing most people reach for is the tinsel, and fair enough – it’s the stuff sparkly dreams are made of. But it’s worth considering a few alternatives that have a longer lifespan and give off that sweet, sweet multi-purpose vibe.
Decorative garlands can be made out of almost anything, including but not limited to: old Christmas cards, photos pegged to string, mason jar lids with fabric or paper glued in, old socks.
Instead of artificial wreaths, consider hanging plants. Given that Down Under we’re more likely to celebrate a 35-degree Christmas than a white one, it’s unlikely that we need a symbol of fortitude during an everlasting winter, anyway. Let’s ditch the prickly circles and get leafy up in this.
Table-toppers are another classic, and just as simple to fashion from repurposed materials (I’m looking at you, jars). And look, I totally get that not everybody has time for arts and crafts, particularly in the midst of Christmas preparation, but don’t worry; God(?) rest ye.
We’ve got a few good options to fancy-up your space. Candle-lit venues lend a sensational warmth and, if I do say so myself, incredibly flattering mood lighting. Venues often include use of a projector or television, too – and what better decoration than beautiful pictures of everybody’s smiling faces/office mishaps on a loop?
(Not very) silent night
Anyone who has been to Boots knows that we keep things jingle bell rockin’ and like to play a selection of old school hip hop and R&B, peppered with a few of the funk and soul greats. We would highly recommend finding a venue whose music tastes emulate yours. If you’re bringing enough of your mates to have exclusive use of the venue, all the better. Customise your own playlist and have them blast it until the wise men come home. Better yet, bring a DJ and take advantage their nightclub set up!
If you need some help organising a DJ (again, those type-As are right, earlier is better), hospo pros can likely help with that too. Just let us know what kind of tunes you’re after and your budget, and anyone who knows functions will be able to do a bit of a ring-around and organise your little drummer-machine boy*.
After a year of hard work, it’s nice to give people a bit of a pat on the back, too. Try and work in a speech or two to share the love and congratulate people on their performance over the year. Grab hold of a mic and do just that (or, hijack it for some Christmas-themed karaoke**).
*there are of course loads of great female DJs, I’m just going for a theme here, not sure if you’ve noticed.
**please don’t do this.
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight
Make sure your venue is accessible. You can use PTV or Google to check routes to and from your party. For those whom public transport isn’t their bag, relax. Designated drivers, ask your event-helper-elves for any information on parking for your sleigh.
It’s a thoughtful touch for a workplace to offer Uber or Taxi vouchers to those attending any event where alcohol is present. As it gets busier, too, consider booking your Ubers in advance to ensure everyone gets home happy and safely.