It’s that time of year again… the holidays! Unless you want to be labeled as the Grinch, you should plan a festive party for your employees. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, as some of the best holiday parties are the small ones.

Secret Santa Gift Exchange

A corporate holiday party offers the perfect opportunity for a Secret Santa gift exchange. As you may already know, this involves the exchange of gifts between workers. Each worker is randomly assigned a person for whom they must anonymous purchase a gift (note: there’s usually a price limit set on gifts). When it’s time for the holiday party, everyone exchanges gifts in person.

Here are some popular variations of the Secret Santa gift exchange:

  • Thieving Santa
    Also known as white elephant gift exchange, each worker brings a single universal gift to the exchange, at which point workers take turns opening the gifts, and can either accept it, exchange it for a new gift, or steal a gift that has already been opened.
  • Conspiracy Santa
    In a Conspiracy Santa gift exchange, workers join forces to select a gift for a participate without his or her knowledge. Email and instant messaging apps may be used for correspondences between “conspiring” workers.
  • Secret Casino Santa
    Much like the Thieving Santa, each worker in a Secret Casino Santa also brings a single gift to the exchange. But unlike the Thieving Santa, workers must also place a specified amount of cash into a pot. Workers have three options from which to choose: they can either choose a gift; draw money from the pot; or place their name into a raffle to win all of the remaining gifts.

Where to Host Your Holiday Party

One option is to host the holiday party at your workplace.  According to an ERC Holiday Practices study, in-office luncheons were the most common type of corporate holiday party in 2012. But let’s face it, employees would probably prefer a different venue, so consider hosting the party outside of the workplace instead. Some ideas include banquet halls, hotels, the zoo, restaurants, and clubs.

Entertainment Ideas for Holiday Parties

No corporate holiday is complete without entertainment. The right entertainment will set the tone for a more relaxing and enjoyable party that attendees are sure to remember. Rather than setting up a stereo to play MP3s, however, you should consider hiring a live band to perform at your corporate holiday party. The difference between pre-recorded music and a live performance is like night and day. Whether it’s the contemporary soil/jazz sounds of Tori Roze and Johnny Alexander or the 90s-style rock of singer and songwriter Pat Dowling, you can’t go wrong with a live musical performance.

Photo credit: Bunches and Bits