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How to Plan Your Office Christmas Party this year on a Budget

If you ask most people who have ever had to do it, organising the office Christmas party is one of the most difficult tasks of the year!

2020’s been an incredibly long year, and your colleagues are looking to you to deliver on one of the best perks of the modern office job. With your teammates (and boss’s!) expectations riding high, the pressure can build. And along with the excitement, there’s also a little bit of nervousness. Everyone has experienced at least one not-so-great Christmas party, and they don’t want to have to live through another.

Now you’re asking yourself: how do I organise an office Christmas party that my colleagues will actually enjoy? And how do I do it in 2020 of all years? Even more worryingly, how do I do it on a budget?

Now more than ever, the office Christmas party is the perfect occasion to get the team together, socialise and lift some spirits.

However, you don’t need to break the budget to make this year's office Christmas party a success. We’ve put together a list of affordable Christmas party ideas to help you and your workmates finish 2020 strong!

1. Beach Day

We all have to try and stay out of enclosed spaces now, right? So why not take your office Christmas party outside for a beach day?

A beach day is one of the best ways to do an office Christmas party on a budget because it eliminates expensive venue hire. You can reallocate the funds you would have spent on the venue and use those dollars in creative ways. For example, you might like to use it to buy prizes for activities you organise on the day, like a volleyball championship or increase your bar tab!

There is a big assumption out there that an office Christmas party has to be at night-time and heavily involve alcohol. But if you organise the event well, you might generate a lot more positive bonding between colleagues than you otherwise would. Having the chance to play beach cricket with the boss can have all sorts of benefits for future working relationships—and, at the end of the day, everyone can always go out to a bar afterwards anyway!

2. Group Kick-off Activity

On that note, if you are trying to organise your office Christmas party on a budget, you don’t need to organise hours and hours of entertainment. The most important thing is to get everyone together in the first place. So, what you can do is organise a kickoff activity to start off the day or night!

You can get the office together to do a unique event like dodgem cars or laser tag— just make sure that the activity is in a good location, so it’s easy for the group to move on to bars or restaurants afterwards.

The beauty of this idea is that you only need to fork out a relatively small amount of money to get the party started, but afterwards everyone can pay for their food and drinks as they like and are free to continue on with whatever they like.

3. A Normal Office Party Without Plus-Ones

For some people, new-age office Christmas party ideas will never beat the traditional venue and supplied food and drinks model. If this is the case—and it’s a good idea to canvas your colleagues to see what their preferences are—you can have a regular work Christmas party, but without the plus-ones.

As anyone who has organised a party knows, each head added to the drinks and catering list adds in the overall cost. Of course, it’s great to have everyone’s partners there to cross that divide between work life and home life, but if the budget really is an issue then this doesn’t need to be a priority. At the end of the day, the most important outcome of a work Christmas party is to make sure your colleagues enjoy themselves, feel positive about their work environment, and builder stronger relationships with the people they work with.

4. Virtual Office Christmas Party

If the budget is really running tight and it really is difficult to get people together, you can always do a virtual office party via a video platform like Zoom. In fact, this is one of the few cheap office Christmas party ideas that you can only really get away within 2020.

If you do this, though, make sure you take the time to plan the event still, giving it some structure. Try to organise games to play and think about having a prize-giving as well. These things will make people get people much more excited and involved in a difficult situation.

Wrapping Up—Be Honest and Communicate

If the finances really are tight, it may be a good idea just to be upfront and honest with your team about it. Tell them that this year isn’t a normal one and you need to think creatively about office Christmas party ideas that won’t break the bank. If you do this, your team is more likely to appreciate the situation and be positive in doing all they can to help make the event a success, even without a big budget.

But, also, make sure the communication goes both ways. Get feedback from your colleagues about how they want to celebrate. This will reassure them that you do care about providing them with a positive and enjoyable work environment. You never know—getting creative with your office Christmas party plans could force you to organise a more enjoyable event than ever before!

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