Think it’s too early to book your holiday party? Think again. Post –Thanksgiving to just before Christmas are peak times for company holiday parties. Planning early will help you to stay on track, stay on budget and secure the venue, caterers, rentals and additional vendors that may be needed. Planning early can also help nip any potential snags in the bud, while also giving your employees and guests ample notice so everyone can attend.

While every company has its Ebenezer Scrooges with their “ba humbug” attitude toward holiday parties, they can actually help reinforce your company culture, provide an opportunity to demonstrate that you value your employees, and build camaraderie. Here are 6 quick tips to help you plan an amazing event with plenty of fun for everyone.

1. Plan in Advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning. Late November/early December are very popular for holiday parties. So get started at least a few months in advance. By planning early you can find the right facility, get the best catering and give your staff enough notice so everyone can attend.

2. Create a Project Plan. Yep, like most other business endeavors, a good holiday party starts with a solid plan. Make sure your plan includes:

• The right venue that is available and appropriate for your group.
• List of who’s invited. (Employees, employee & guest, etc.)
• An event theme.
• Menu and libations for your guests.
• An appropriate decor for our theme and guests.
• A planned agenda for the event.

Here’s a more detailed checklist, if you’re into that sort of thing.

3. Select a Date. It goes without saying that the holiday season is a busy time of year with both personal and business commitments. Check first with key guests on possible dates to ensure they can attend. This may include your senior management, employees who are going to be recognized, home office folks you want to attend, etc. Generally, the most popular dates are the three Fridays and Saturdays prior to Dec. 23. In 2017, there are only seven top tier dates: Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 and 22. (Dec. 23 is not ideal this year because the 24th falls on a weekend). Thursdays are also popular. If your budget is tight, you may want to consider hosting your party on Mon – Wed.

While most holiday parties occur in late November and December, some companies hold off until after New Year’s when the hustle and bustle dies down a bit.

4. Select Your Venue. Booking the right venue for your holiday party is crucial. If you procrastinate too long, your choices will be limited and you may end up paying more for a less desirable space. Make a checklist of things you need – capacity, amenities, event coordination, available dates, etc. Initially, you may want to do a quick Google search to check out possible sites, but make sure you visit the event venue in person before you book. Schedule a tour with the venue manager to get a first-hand look at the facility and to ask important questions so you get everything you need. To check out The McGinnity Room, call us at 1-509-321-1859 or send us a note. Kim, Melissa or Robyn will be happy to help!

5 Employee Recognition. More than anything else, holiday parties are a way to recognize your employees and let them know they are appreciated. Consider including an annual recognition and reward of employees into your holiday party agenda. The quality of your organization’s holiday party is in its meaning — how appreciated do employees feel after they leave? Did your event foster a sense of pride in the company? Were employees able to enjoy time with one another? These are the things that really count and the best way to determine if your holiday party is a true success.

6. Don’t go it alone! You can minimize stress and make sure you cover all your bases by working with a reputable event planner who has the experience, contacts and suggestions for those little extras that make all the difference. A seasoned event planner has working relationships with venues and suppliers, so can get discounts and special pricing that just aren’t available to the general public. We are blessed to have one of Spokane’s best event planners – our very own Kim Culberson. Kim specializes in delivering creative and logistics ideas to design the perfect holiday event for your group. Whether it’s an intimate gathering or a large scale mega-party, Kim can provide you with ideas for the ideal set up, appropriate décor, fun theme, scrumptious menu and much more!

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