There's a lot of pressure on the person in charge of finding holiday party venues for the company's year-end celebration. Finding event spaces that suit your size and budget and have availability in December is challenging enough, but the ambiance has to be right too.
Before you start creating a list of possible company Christmas party locations, think about what kind of event you think the staff wants to attend. Are you going for cocktail reception vibes with high ceilings, chandeliers and elegant canapés? Or is your workforce more of a games-and-karaoke crowd? Will kids be invited? Do you plan to do team-building activities or play party games during the event? If so, how much open space will you need for those activities? What travel radius are people willing to go to attend this event?
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Once you're clear about what kind of holiday event your company is going to throw, it's time to find the where. Here are some ideas for office Christmas party locations that are bound to be a hit with your coworkers.
Classic company holiday party locations
Sticking with tradition may be a safe bet if your company is somewhat conservative. Partners in a white-shoe law firm probably aren't going to want to attend a holiday party that's held at a bowling alley (though we'd love to see it). Classic corporate event spaces include:
- Hotels: You can't go wrong with a hotel as a holiday party venue. There's adequate parking and a variety of room types to choose from, depending on the guest list and pricing. A penthouse suite makes an impressive yet cozy setting for a party of just a few dozen people, but a ballroom or hotel restaurant could also work. Hotel staff also tend to be familiar with hosting corporate events, so food, setup and cleanup can be handled in-house. (Just hope no employees sneak off together at the end of the party to create new office gossip in January.)
- Restaurants/bars: Like hotels, restaurants have the benefit of being experienced with hosting parties. No one has to think about bringing in caterers or bartenders. Reserve a private dining room for a lunch or dinner sit-down meal or buffet, complete with toasts and gifts at the end of the meal.
- Private event spaces: Even in small cities, private event spaces pop up all the time. A renovated warehouse or barn could be the perfect backdrop for your classy holiday party, especially once the space is decked out with twinkle lights and Christmas greenery.
- Private homes: Sometimes, a boss wants to host the company holiday party at their house as a gesture of appreciation for everything the team did that year, or if you're located in an area with vacation homes for rent, look for a luxe rental that allows private parties.
Did you know?
Airbnb imposed a global party ban on its listings starting in 2022 because many renters were throwing raucous parties in Airbnbs and infuriating communities. So you can’t rent a house for your 50-person holiday party, but small businesses might still be able to use the app. If you’re planning a fairly conservative holiday party and the invite list includes 16 people, just find a house with a 16-person capacity. You won’t be disruptive or break the rules.
Crowd-pleasing party locations
These party locations are a little less conventional than a bar or restaurant but still upscale enough for even conservative professionals to feel comfortable.
- Live music venues
- Art galleries
A company holiday party has to be inclusive of everyone on the team (within reason). Choose a venue that’s physically accessible for everyone on the invite list and a menu that accommodates all major dietary restrictions. Think about guests’ comfort level too. A brewery might be the perfect party location for a small team where everyone enjoys going out for beers together, but it could be the wrong choice in a company that includes employees who are sober or don’t drink for other reasons. Ask around among the staff before finalizing a reservation with any party venue to make sure no one would be uncomfortable going there.
Activity-based party locations
Would your group be bored by a quiet party in a private room in a restaurant? Take your celebration on the road with one of these party ideas for an event that's centered around an activity:
- Private cooking class
- Escape room
- Paintball/laser tag/arcade games
- Karaoke bar
- Paint-and-sip party
- Volunteer work, followed by dinner
- Basketball or another sports game (viewed from a private box, if the budget allows!)
Have you considered having the office holiday party… at the office?
Holding the company party in the office might not be glamorous, but it is easy. Considering how busy everyone gets around the holidays, employees at your company might prefer having an afternoon party at work to an evening or weekend event. Hire a food truck for the parking lot, play holiday music, hand out raffle prizes and exchange gifts.