7 work Christmas party ideas that aren’t completely cringe

by | May 12, 2021 | Gatharing Ideas

A group doing cheers with cocktails

So, the holiday season has inevitably rolled around once more (seriously, already?) Let’s talk party ideas your employees will actually look forward to – and not try to leave faster than they can rip off their ugly Christmas sweater.

From ‘wellness program’ to ‘employee engagement’, the corporate jargon can wear pretty thin at the end of the year when most people are dragging themselves to the finish line. If you’re looking to plan an office party that doesn’t scream ‘corporate Christmas’ and actually shows your crew you care, look no further. 

We’ve wrangled six of the best ideas to inspire your festive gathering, sure to make it one of the hottest holiday parties of the season! 

Grab the popcorn for team movie night

Pairs perfectly with: a delivery of at-home snacks, or tasty tapas in the office cinema.

Let’s kick things off with one of the easiest but still creative office Christmas party ideas: movie night! This is a great option if you’re working with a tight budget, or have a team who aren’t up for mingling and small talk. 

The beauty of a team movie night is it’s a workplace Christmas party that doesn’t need to take place in an actual workplace, making it doable for remote teams as well (see: the new normal).  

Put it to the team to vote for the flick/s they want to watch, with quotable classics and Christmas movies included on the list for good measure. 

Level up with catering or keep it low-key with classic movie snacks, which you can consider having delivered as cute care packages to your remote team members. If you’re feeling extra festive, you might even consider turning your chosen movie into a party theme.

If you’re going remote, lockdown brought us lots of ways to host virtual movie nights, from queuing up a Zoom meeting to apps like Teleparty for Netflix and Amazon Watch Party. 

Whodunnit? You, planning a murder mystery party

Pairs perfectly with: an elegant, sit-down dinner. On-theme, of course. We’re thinking French Classics.

As far as theme ideas for your office event go murder mystery isn’t breaking any mould, but there’s a reason for that: it’s a timeless classic! 

The key to a good murder mystery party is getting into the spirit of things and yes, that includes costumes. A decade theme makes the most sense – every decade from the 1890s to the 1990s (maybe even the 2090s?) guarantees lots of fun and laughs, especially if photo booths are involved.  

Put your marketing team to the task of writing up character bios that suit your team members, drawing inspo from their real-life personalities or maybe turning things on their head and matching people with their opposite alter-ego.   

As far as feeding your famished alleged murders and murderesses, you can opt for office catering, or book a private dining experience if you’re taking the mystery off-site. 

Get your colleagues in the kitchen for a cooking class 

Pairs perfectly with: the delicious food you’ll be cooking up yourselves!

There’s no shortage of clichéd company Christmas party ideas – masquerade balls,

winter wonderland, ugly Christmas sweater party – but a cooking class ain’t one of them. It’s one of those event ideas that works for any occasion and people are almost always into it, especially once they get cookin’. 

If you’re looking for an office party idea fit for a team of foodies, this one is a no-brainer. Doing a cooking class gives you a hands-on activity that doesn’t require a lot of forced chit chat, and actually teaches you something useful – not to mention the fact you get to eat your creations!

Find a cooking class that focuses on one thing, so it’s not too overwhelming and suitable for every skill level. For example, delicious dumpling making, perfecting pasta from scratch, or creating curries in a hurry. 

A corporate Christmas party that’s focused on food? Sign us up!

Plan fun for everyone with a family day out

Pairs perfectly with: pot-luck, food trucks, or an Elevated BBQ, if the end-of-year budget allows.

One of the silver linings of the past year has been families spending more time together. All those hours spent commuting, travelling, or just being in the office have been replaced with quality hometime, which many working parents have never had the chance to enjoy. 

So, with this new blended way of working, it makes sense that your event planning takes into consideration encouraging employees to celebrate with their work family AND their actual family! 

A family day out is always a winner. As a bonus, it can take place outside if restrictions require. There’s just something about having the kiddos in tow that makes it feel like a proper Christmas celebration. But of course, it’s not a kids party without fun and games (and presents!)

Don’t underestimate the fun of old-school games. Nothing bonds a team like a heated bout of hide and seek!

Ready, set, arrange an amazing race! 

Pairs perfectly with: a generous grazing feast when your hungry racers return. 

Okay, so ‘scavenger hunt’ appears on pretty much every list of team building activities and corporate Christmas party ideas, but hear us out. 

If done right, an amazing race or scavenger hunt can actually be a wildly fun activity for any business event. When you’re encouraging employees to run around like mad, just make sure you give them something worth running for. 

Bring office jokes into the clues, and make the items along the way things that will make people laugh. Think: cookies with team member’s faces in edible icing, or perhaps not-so-work-appropriate items, if your HR team lets you push the boundaries for your corporate event. 

Set up Santa’s Workshop in the office

Pairs perfectly with: fancy tapas to reward those hard-working elves.

What’s a company event without a little healthy competition between teams? If you work in a creative office with creative types, put those little elves to the task of setting up Santa’s workshop. 

The best office Christmas parties don’t always have to be in some fancy location with an all-expenses-paid drinks and dinner package; sometimes the most memorable corporate functions are the ones that keep things casual and get everyone involved… and take place within work hours so people can get outta there. 

Turning the office into Santa’s workshop makes for a quirky, creative office Christmas party. Get each team or team member to deck the halls around their desk, with prizes for the best (and worst) decorating efforts.

You can wrap up your end-of-year employee recognition into this get-together, too. Wrap personalised certificates, or enlist Santa’s help to hand out gift cards, lucky-dip style. And yes, Santa’s attendance will very much be required. 

Treat your team to a private chef experience

Pairs perfectly with: any Gathar curated menu, of course!

The beauty of private parties is they’re just that: private. For a small, close-knit team, hiring a private chef to come and cook at someone’s house or a holiday rental is a real treat, and something most of them may not have experienced before. 

As far as Christmas parties go, hiring a private chef is a memorable way to cap off the crazy season and an amazing way to thank your team for a job well done. 

If you haven’t looked into it before, hiring a private chef may not be as expensive as you think! We have a handy blog to help you build that budget for an end-of-year gatharing. 

Deep in party planning mode and looking at catering options? Check out our delicious range of menus available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane + 18 more locations across Australia. Drop us a quick quote to see how we can help you plan your 2021 company Christmas party!