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When to Start Planning a Corporate Holiday Party: The Ultimate Guide

It’s never too early to put on your Santa Claus hat and start planning a corporate holiday party. Getting a headstart means avoiding the stress of last-minute preparations.

In the three to four months leading up to your office holiday party, you’ll need to:

  • Get your budget approved;
  • Book the best event venue on your preferred date and time slot (the competition to get a great venue is tough during peak season!);
  • Curate a menu that takes everyone’s food and drink preferences into account;
  • Prepare unique and fun activities that will entertain guests;
  • Come up with any other holiday party ideas!

Get into the festive spirit early and start holiday party planning!

an employee meticulously planning a company holiday party

🕛 Four Months Out

    Poll Your Staff

    🔴 Ask attendees what kind of holiday party they want
    🟢 Use online poll apps to learn more about their preferences

Would everyone enjoy drinking and dancing at the office holiday party? Or would they prefer interactive games with prizes? By asking them for their corporate Christmas party ideas, you’ll head into your event planning process feeling more confident.

Use online poll apps to collect responses. Encouraging attendees to share their holiday party ideas will help everyone settle on something they’re excited about. Trust us: reading their wish lists is an annual company holiday party best practice!

    Decide on a Date

    🔴 Choose a date that won’t interfere with personal holiday plans
    🟢 Send out a casual save-the-date email

Once you’ve settled on the basics of your office holiday party, the next step in the event planning process is to pick a date. The perfect company holiday party should probably be on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night in the early weeks of December—you don’t want to be a Grinch and interfere with people’s personal plans!

Make sure to send a casual save-the-date as soon as you finalize it so they can block it on their calendars.

    Scout for a Venue

    🔴 Visit the potential venues in person to get a better feel of the places

Every company holiday party needs a great venue. Start exploring your options and visiting potential venues ahead of the holiday season to help you get a feel of the place and how you can spruce it up to deck the halls.

🕒 Three Months Away

    Confirm The Budget

    🟢 Meet with the company’s key decision-makers
    🔴 Decide how much will be allocated per person

Holiday parties need an appropriate budget. So, how much of a budget should you allocate per person? Meet with key decision-makers in your company three months before the event to set and confirm your budget.

    Book The Venue

    🟢 Book at least three months in advance if you want to secure your preferred date

Venues get booked quickly during the holiday season, so make sure to decide on a venue ASAP and commit to it. Booking an event space at least three months in advance is key to securing your ideal location for your holiday party.

 Three colleagues cheers flutes of champagne at their corporate holiday party

🕘 Two Months To Go

    Develop The Party’s Concept

    🔴 Choose unique concepts and activities that encourage attendees to get involved!

When planning company holiday parties, don’t be afraid to go all out with festive games and activities! Will there be an ugly sweater competition? What about a gift exchange or Secret Santa?

Office Christmas party ideas should incite festive cheer and encourage everyone to participate. Whether it’s board games, a photo booth, an escape room, or even a dance floor, your party ideas should be the kind of interactive entertainment that sparks friendly competition—just don’t forget to reward the winners!

    Scout for Vendors

    🟢 Do your research on caterers, entertainers, decorators, etc.

Research potential caterers and attend food tastings. Remember to look for entertainers, decorators, and other types of vendors you might need.

    Lock-in Your Catering

    🔴 Decide on hors d’oeuvres vs. a sit-down dinner
    🟢 Look into whether your venue of choice has catering options

Caterers get fully booked this time of the year, so it’s time to choose whether you want hors d’oeuvres or prefer to serve a sit-down dinner. Some venues have catering options included, so you might want to consider packages to save money and time.

If you want your guests’ taste buds to be happy, lock in your ultimate caterer of choice right away. After all, what’s a work holiday party with just semi-delicious food?

A plate of shrimp on a transparent plate

🕚 One Month Left

    Send Formal Invites

    🔴 Design an invitation filled with holiday cheer
    🟢 Confirm the final headcount

No holiday party checklist is complete without an invitation!

Spread holiday cheer by being extra with the design! Don’t worry—there are many invitation apps you can choose from to make things simpler. Some even have polished designs with customizable templates.

This is also the best time to contact invitees who haven’t responded yet to your save-the-dates to confirm the final head count.

    Create a Supply List

    🔴 From swag bags to venue decorations, list it all down

Are you planning to hand out party favours at your company party? What decorations will you be using to deck the halls at your venue? Create a list of the supplies you’ll need and check them off as they’re completed to keep your stress levels down.

⏰ One to Two Weeks Before

    Confirm The Details

    🟢 Get in contact with the holiday party dream team to see how everything is going

Touch base with your venue, vendors, and suppliers to ask how things are going and if everything is on track for your holiday celebration. Updates like this are important so you can make an alternative plan if something goes wrong.

🥂 Day of The Holiday Party

    Enjoy your unforgettable office holiday party!

There’s no doubt about it: you sleighed your role as the planner. The best part about holiday parties is actually having them, so enjoy yourself!

A wait staff holding two champagne glasses on a tray to welcome guests at The Loft

‘Tis The Season For An Unforgettable Company Holiday Party

If this isn’t your first time planning a corporate holiday party, then you know it’s far from a relaxing walk in a winter wonderland. Think of all the stress you’ll avoid if you put your trust in the experts to make your company’s holiday party a huge success.

The Loft on King is a unique historical venue in downtown Toronto complete with exclusive catering, bar service, and an events team dedicated to bringing your holiday party ideas to life without a hitch—believe in our holiday magic!

To book your company holiday party with us, contact our team today!