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There is no time like the holidays to take some time to reward your employees for all they contribute to the business all year long. But with most small businesses forced to adhere to strict budgets, it can feel difficult to find ways to throw a party without breaking the bank. Luckily, you do not need a fancy, catered event with a DJ or live band to get the job done. Read on for office party ideas that will do the trick.

Office Party Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

First of all, it is important to note that some of these office party ideas and their applicability to your business will depend on the size of your team and what your budget is. If you need help deciding what a realistic budget is for your office party, reach out to an accounting professional to help you make sense of your books and decide on a number. We have tried to include a range of ideas that will work for a variety of offices.

Party like it’s 1980-something

office party ideas

The 1980s were arguably the best decade of all time. From cinematic classics like the Princess Bride and Back to the Future to fantastic music from the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson at their primes, the decade offered enduring pop culture artifacts that have held up pretty well over time. Go 1980s with your party to instantly take it up a notch while keeping it all affordable. Invite your team to dress like a character from their favorite John Hughes film (prize for the best outfit is optional), Then create a playlist or stream one like this from Spotify and you will have a good start. Retro board games like Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary are a cheap way to offer hours of entertainment, especially if you can already find them laying around in your closet or garage. Bonus points if you can manage to find a NES or Sega Genesis console to hook up in a conference room to hold a Donkey Kong tournament.

Hold a bake off

There is nothing like baking to bring out the competitiveness of some team members. Take advantage of their drive to win by holding a contest to see who can bake the best holiday dessert. Gather the team to try some of each entry and let them be the judge! This way, you are all sure to bond over delicious baked goods and you only have to provide beverages and a prize for the winner.

Check out our blog on holiday accounting tips for businesses. Click here!

Dessert Party

If you like the idea of catering a party (for example, if your team doesn’t cook) but are not quite sure how to make it fit within your budget, consider serving hors d’oeuvres or desserts only instead of a full meal. The cost per person is significantly less with most caterers and it gives people a better chance to socialize and mingle.  

Ugly sweater party

Ugly sweater parties are seriously popular right now. And, in the same vein as the bake off idea, holding a contest to see who can find the ugliest sweater is an easy addition to any party that is easily enjoyed and requires minimal investment on the business’ part. Just be sure to spring for a cool prize for the winner, and remember that it does not have to be a prize that costs money, either. For example, the winner could get the boss’ parking spot for a month or a paid day off.

Give everyone a shopping day

If there is anything that can bond people over the holidays, regardless of their religion or cultures, it is that everyone is super busy. Between traditions and parties, it is amazing that anyone has any time to get anything done. Acknowledge this and reward your team by giving everyone a full or half day off to go get some holiday shopping done. Consider giving everyone a small gift card to a local retailer to sweeten the pot — it will still end up being way cheaper than a lot of your other alternatives and your employees will be extra appreciative.

Have a party in January

If you are set on having a more formal, off-site party, consider moving the entire affair until January. After the holidays are over, caterers and spaces are far less in demand, meaning that it can be easier to negotiate affordable rates for your office party. And because, as we discussed previously, everyone is so busy during November and December, your team is not likely to mind waiting until the holiday craziness has subsided. Just let everyone know ahead of time if that is the plan.

Do you have any other holiday office party ideas to contribute? Be sure to leave them in the comments section. And whatever you do, make sure that your holiday party adheres to good HR policies. Want to run an idea by us? Give us a call! One of our experienced HR professionals will be able to  give you expert advice to ensure your holiday party is a success!


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