How to prepare for the office Christmas party

Christmas party
If you're starting to plan this year's Christmas party, you may be approaching the task with trepidation. Jeremy Warrillow is our Head of Hospitality and he looks at how the party season has evolved and why, this year, we’re celebrating ‘A Royal Christmas at 116 Pall Mall’...

Christmas parties - loved and loathed, dreaded and demanded. How much to spend? What to do? What to avoid? And where? Keep up with the Jones's or do the bare minimum? 

A 2016 Eventbrite survey showed companies splashed out almost £1 billion on Christmas parties across the UK, with spend on average £42.48 per employee. Regional differences varied from £12.36 per head in Northern Ireland to £56.49 in Greater London. 

According to a survey of 700 office workers in 2014, about a quarter said they looked forward to office Christmas parties, while four out of 10 were ambivalent and a fifth said they hated them. 

The reasons for not wanting to go included bad restaurant choices, having to spend even more time with colleagues you already dislike and feeling pressured to get drunk.

Meanwhile, websites are dedicated to party ‘do’s and dont's’, what to wear, and how to make it all look good on Instagram. 

Whatever your view, you will probably be going to at least one Christmas Party this year. It remains one of the few constants in our rapidly changing relationship with work. So, we should try and embrace and enjoy it. And with that in mind...

Five Tips for Party Preparations

1. Why are we here?

What we shouldn’t forget is that the Christmas party is one of the few times of the year when you and your colleagues can relax and let your hair down. We are meant to be enjoying ourselves!

2. Get more bang for your Bucks Fizz 

If you are the employer, you’re allowed to be generous at Christmas and use the tax-deductible annual allowance of £150 per head. However, if things get too out of hand, there could be tax implications for overspending. 

3. Overpromise v Underdeliver

There is that episode in The Apprentice when they are asked to organise a social function and they will do whatever they can to cut corners. In other words, don’t order Asti just because it’s a sparkling wine in the hope that ‘nobody will notice it’s the cheap stuff’. You don’t want people to remember the night for the wrong reasons.

4. Celebrate success

A separate report, by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, stated that ‘It's a great way of helping celebrate the culture of a company beyond just business success’ and ‘It also helps your staff get to know each other - particularly when the company is spread over multiple sites’.

5. Move with the times

Christmas parties have become increasingly more specialised. Dinner in a local restaurant or drinks in the office with a few balloons and a bowl of the FD’s Sangria no longer cuts the mustard. Purpose built attractions, themed venues and designer marquees vie for your business that offer everything from trampolining to cocktail-making.  

Themes can range from The Enchanted Forest to the Great Gatsby’s Roaring Twenties (and surely there will be a few ‘Greatest Show’ parties this year). It breaks the cycle of doing the same thing every year, which will inevitably be greeted with a collective groan when the email titled ‘This Year’s Christmas Party’ gets sent around the office.

Christmas at 116

Here at 116 Pall Mall we are joining the party and hosting our first themed Christmas party. We have built on the history of the 1820’s John Nash building and the royal connections of the former Prince Regent before he moved down the Mall to become George IV. 

2018 brought London two royal weddings and this year we have welcomed another royal 

baby. In keeping with the theme, we’re celebrating ‘A Royal Christmas at 116 Pall Mall’.  

We’ve partnered with Oxygen Events to create something unique at 116. 

We may not be serving up seagull, marigolds, swan or peacock this Christmas (as they used to for the royals just down the road). But what we can promise is our guests will still indulge in a feast fit for a king or queen as we roll out the red carpet. 

Plus, it will look great on your Instagram feed, which is obviously the most important thing!

And remember:  

Don’t - Gossip, get too drunk or leave too early. 

Do – Enjoy yourself. 

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Spectacular lighting, opulent decorations and flexible packages mean that planning your party will be a breeze, whether you’re celebrating with colleagues, friends or family.

Make an enquiry to find out more information, including arranging a personal tour of 116 Pall Mall.

Kate Dean