The annual who-can-wear-the-most-garish-attire party is par for the course for most employees. But the theme is a little old hat and likely to provoke groans from some corners of the office. A Christmas bash doesn’t have to involve ugly jumpers, bland food and wine in plastic cups from the local supermarket; there are plenty of brilliant themes that are bound to get colleagues in the festive spirit. Here are six of our favourites…
SUNNY SOUTHERN CHRISTMAS
Winter-themed parties are an obvious choice for Christmas, but half of the world actually celebrates the festive season in the height of summer. So why not host a tropical-themed sunshine party as an alternative to the usual winter wonderland? Think Hawaiian neck garlands, pineapple-inspired nibbles, coconut cocktails (Piña Colada is an obvious choice) and edible sand (yes, it really exists). This is a great way to bring a bit of sunshine to the (usually) gloomy month of December.
If you’re planning a formal sit-down meal, this theme should be at the top of your list. It will no doubt be popular with foodies (think hog roast and platters of cheese) and there are plenty of fancy-dress options too: knights, peasants, queens or maidens, court jesters or royalty. Alternatively, why not hire entertainers to bring some humour to the event? Set up tables with chess and wooden tic-tac-toe, and let guests try out their juggling skills. If you can’t afford to book an actual castle (sadly, most companies probably can’t) there are cheap online props that can be bought to kit your venue out.
INSPIRED BY FILM
This year has been a cracker for the global film industry. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that Hollywood hit La La Land was incorrectly announced as Best Picture at the Oscars (the real winner was Moonlight). It may have won one less award, but it’s still a fabulous movie – and a great theme for a party. Think musical hits, dancing, jazz and general Hollywood sparkle. Other excellent film-inspired party ideas include: Austin Powers, Harry Potter, Grease and Alice in Wonderland.
Impress your guests with a magnificent celestial theme. Christmas enthusiasts will still be able to douse themselves in glitter while the festive sceptics will (hopefully) be placated by the fact that you’re avoiding an age-old theme. Decorate your venue with black and silver drapes, candles and twinkling fairy lights. On each table leave a roll of tin foil, split your colleagues into teams, and hold a competition for the best life-size astronaut suit creation. Serve liquid nitrogen cocktails and leave mini cookies in jars (they look like moon cakes) on the tables.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Traditional doesn’t have to mean clichéd. Based on the famous song of the same name, this theme is simple but can be fun if executed well. If the event is large, why not have 12 tables, each named and decorated after a verse of the song, and ask guests to dress to match their table? Split everyone into teams and try to sing a round of the song (perhaps best after a drink or two), or organise a Christmas quiz inspired by the theme.
1920S GLAMOUR PARTY
Think The Great Gatsby, flappers and jazz, and transform your Christmas party into a magical 1920s spectacle. The roaring 20s was a time of underground parties (it was the prohibition era in the US) during which people drank, danced and smoked in secret speakeasies. Invite guests to dress for the occasion, hire a poker or blackjack table and serve prohibition cocktails such as French 75 (gin and lemon topped up with Champagne) and Sidecars (Cognac, Cointreau and lemon). And if there’s money in the budget, hire a musician, kick up your heels and dance the night away.