5 Holiday Party Ideas to Create a Memorable Celebration This Season

    The Townsend’s director of catering, Joanie Sams
    The Townsend’s director of catering, Joanie Sams

    With the holidays upon the workplace again, your company may be thinking about putting together an event for employees to celebrate the season together.

    As the economy has improved, more businesses are throwing holiday parties again. There are many types of parties out there, whether it is a small luncheon, an evening gala or just some cookies in the lunchroom.

    If there’s one hospitality giant that knows how to organize any event, it is Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel. Courtesy of The Townsend’s director of catering, Joanie Sams, who has been with the property for more than 25 years, here are an industry veteran’s top five tips for planning a memorable corporate holiday celebration.

    1. Create a Theme. Whether it’s a, “Vegas, Baby” Casino Night, “Hawaiian Holiday” luau or a classic film-inspired, “White Christmas” (think all white decorations and guests decked out in nothing but white), a theme makes the party fun and festive, taking it beyond just a get-together with co-workers outside of the boardroom or break room.

    Townsend 22. Plan/Play Interactive Activities/Games. Options like a “murder mystery” dinner challenge or a connected on-site photo booth with costumes/props (where images are shared instantly on corporate and personal social media channels) are fun ways to build camaraderie and deepen interaction among employees. Activities and games are an easy way to elevate dinner and cocktails into a unique experience guests will remember.

    3. Plan a Surprise Twist. Entertaining employees by featuring a surprise twist during the evening is another great tool for adding memorable fun and elevating an event beyond food and socializing. When attendees are least expecting it, a performance from entertainers like jugglers, stilt walkers or a belly dancing troop, or rolling in a mobile body art, temporary tattoo or caricature drawing station, is surefire way to get guests engaged in the evening’s celebration.

    4. Incorporate a Charitable Cause. Integrating giving into a corporate holiday gathering is a great way to remind/encourage employees that feeling grateful and focusing on kindness are key this time of year. Contact a local charity to learn what “wish list” items they may need beyond food, clothing or toys. Based on a non-profit’s needs, you can add a collection effort to your celebration, gathering everything from diapers to hand sanitizer to mittens to pet food to children’s books. Doing good translates into feeling good, which makes for a heartwarming celebration for all.

    5. Leave it to the Experts. In business, companies know to play to their strengths. Accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, bankers, builders, hairstylists and everyone in between — all are experts in their respective industries. And you wouldn’t hire a mortgage broker to plan a party, so why try to do it yourself? Find a trusted resource in the hospitality industry and let them do the work that they know best — planning the perfect party.