Why do we love holiday parties? Better question... do we love holiday parties? I would venture to say YES and NO. There are the dreaded holiday parties, the ones that you know you will have to deal with the uncomfortable questions, the awkward pats and the drunken dealings, yet we still feel obligated to attend.
Then there are the parties we can't wait to attend. We know the company will be fantastic and we won't even get to to talk to anyone long enough, that the food will be delicious and easy to get to, the beverages sparkling and the music and atmosphere fabulous.
So what makes the difference between the two? (and leads to the many variations between) It goes back to the basics
- the guests - invite people who you want to spend time with and who by extrapolating that would likely enjoy each other's company as well - a mix of old and new is great
- the venue - it should be inspiring, fit the size of the group well and have an ambience that works for whatever you want to create, whether that is a ballroom or a skating rink, a pond or a restaurant, your home or a nightclub...
- music sets the tone, so from all holiday to cool dance - choose music that adds to the tone of the experience
- food simply needs to meet the expectations of the guests - if they are expecting dinner, make it hearty, if it is a dessert reception - well you get the point - it is distracting to be hungry and unable to find food and then eventually irritating and you have to leave
- beverages should provide for the drinkers, the drivers and those in-between, offer a special cocktail/mocktail and the basics
- gifts, trinkets and give backs - are you asking people to give something that will go to a charity or are you having fun gifts on offer for the guests - both work but know what mood you want to achieve (giving and getting are both part of the season!)
- unless it is an event specific to a religious celebration, in this diverse landscape most of us live in, keep it about celebration and togetherness
- decorate to suit - last week we did a very traditional Christmas dinner and a "naughty Santa" event - very different, both very fabulous
- entertainment for holiday events should enhance - you may have live music or a play or a focal point that starts with or is followed by a reception to share the joy, otherwise let people focus on each other in this season of joy, and if for your friends that means rocking a dance floor - do it!