The idea of the staff Christmas Party can send a wave of anxiety over Senior Management as the thought of the combination of alcohol and a group of people in your care can be a scary one.  It doesn’t always have to be like this as there are positive things that can come out of social functions, so long as they are set up and carried out with these outcomes in mind.

The Christmas Party is meant to be a bonding time and a time to reflect on the successes of your business from the past year.  Use this occasion to inject some positive energy into your workplace and celebrate together as a team.

Below are some guidelines to follow when preparing for any social function.

The Party Team

The ‘Party Team’ will be a small group of people in charge of planning the function and drumming up enthusiasm in the lead up to the event.  There are a bunch of different things that you should keep in mind when selecting the Party Team, such as:

  • Select good organisers
  • People that everyone gets along with
  • Select a creative person
  • A mix of ages is recommended, so everybody is catered for
  • Select people who embody the values of your business

Once you have selected your Party Team, let them know any particular requests or details that need to be included, such as activities, drinks, food and budget.


The budget is something that needs to be made very clear to the Party Team as this is something that can quickly spiral out of control.  Make sure you have clearly communicated to them what the budget is and ask that they keep you in the loop as to costs throughout the organisational stage. 

Remember, the aim of the Christmas Party is to show your team that you appreciate them and to provide them with an event to thank them for a year of hard work.  You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money in order to do this and there are plenty of cost-effective options out there.


Activities are a great option for a social function as they can break down the barriers between different groups within the business.  Whilst humorous activities are generally uplifting, ensure they are not directed against any one person or any group of staff.  Similarly, make sure the activity is something that everyone can participate in such as a quiz, lawn games, talent show or a spoof awards ceremony. 

Staff functions can also be a great opportunity for your business to give back to the community.  You could split the groups into teams and run a competition of building and decorating playhouses for children in need, or kennels for rescue dogs.  If you didn’t want to arrange this yourself, there are businesses that specialise in corporate charity team events.

To Drink or to Drink

Now, alcohol.  There is no written rule anywhere that says that you have to serve alcohol at work events.  Some teams will be happy with – and may even prefer – a breakfast or morning tea.  Now, whilst this may be preferable to some people, we do understand that there will be businesses out there that know that they just downright couldn’t get away with throwing a sober affair, and this is absolutely fine.  If that is the case for you, then here are a few different ways that you can try and regulate some of the common misbehaviour that often follows the consumption of alcohol:

  • In order to minimise the drinking time, make the main event of your function an activity that doesn’t include alcohol and just have drinks after the event.
  • Ensure that you provide food and encourage people to eat. 
  • Arrange for someone to serve drinks instead of making it self-service.  Whilst this will be an extra cost, it will be worth its weight in emails to HR on Monday morning.

If you do decide to serve alcohol at the event, you will need to lead by example, and encourage staff to look out for each other and ensure people get home safely. 


Many workplace functions have resulted in injuries and it’s not always the obvious things that that can cause these injuries.  I have seen injuries from a collapsed stage, a costume catching alight and plenty more from good old fashioned fisty cuffs.

Ensure your Party Team meet with your Health and Safety representatives to chat about the management of hazards at the function and to try and do their best to prevent a polyester outfit going up in flames.


Photos are a fantastic way to record the great time everyone had at the Christmas Party.  Whether you have a team member who is a keen photographer and is happy to take photos or you provide a photo booth, this is a great way for everyone to bond and reflect over the event.

Unfortunately, there is one type of photo that is hard to avoid, these are the ones that are posted on social media throughout the event.  The best way to try and avoid this is to clearly communicate with the team your Social Media Policy and whether you are happy to have the business name associated with any photos being posted to social media.

The key to a stress-free event that you can relax at and enjoy is making sure the staff are all aware of the behaviour that is expected of them and what your company policies are.  If you don’t have the appropriate company policies in place or feel that yours need updating, then feel free to get in touch for a chat.