How to organise a last-minute Christmas party - Merlin Venues

How to organise a last-minute Christmas party

03 December 2019

When it comes to the Christmas party for your office or company, not everyone gets given the luxury of time to organise something unforgettable. December is a personally busy month for many of us and by the time November rolls around, any spare Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays’ are hot property for events. Planning your own festivities is one thing; but planning them for your whole office is another!

The lead up to period can be busy so it’s no surprise if you’re struggling to pull together enough time to start party planning; or perhaps your boss has simply given you a short lead time for it. Either way, Christmas is one of our busiest periods at Merlin Events so we understand the challenge in finding the time to do it all!

Luckily for you, we’re here to help with some of our top tactics and recommendations for organising a Christmas party when you’re short on time. So without further ado, here are our best tips for getting your last-minute Christmas party started.

Pick a themed party venue

Time is of the essence so save it where you can. Picking a venue that is already themed can be serious time-saver as means you should be able to skip a lot of the decs! Even if it’s not a Christmas-themed venue, it doesn’t take much to get it there. Christmas is a time for being a little fancy and having fun so anywhere themed is a great start. With a little tinsel, strategically-placed fake snow and some strings of elegant fairy lights, a regular themed venue can be transformed into a Christmas-themed venue in no time.

We love how festive Madame Tussauds looks when it’s decorated for Christmas – spruce walls covered with lights and ornaments, fern and bauble-wrapped banisters, a giant, glittering Christmas tree complete with presents – everything works wonders for getting guests in the mood from the moment they arrive.

Office Christmas parties

Divide and conquer

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have to do it all yourself! You won’t be the only person in the office able to pick up the phone and organise things – nor are you likely to be the person with the most free time, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Make a list of everything that needs arranging (the invitations, the food, the entertainment, etc.)  and when it needs to be done by. Put out a request for volunteers and you’ll be surprised at how many people are probably willing to lend a hand – no-one wants the office party to end up coming up short or worse yet, risk it being missed all together. If you’re in a rush after being given short notice, most colleagues will be understanding and happy to help out.

Delegate the jobs listed among those who volunteered. Just doing a little research or reaching out to a supplier is a small sacrifice for your colleagues to make for a fun, festive night full of free booze, food and coffee! You’ll be done in no time.

Take the pressure off

If you do get left in the cold for party planning assistance, our best recommendation is to pick a fun or festive venue with dedicated event managers in-house – better still if the cost of management is included in the venue hire price. The only thing to bear in mind is that by this late in the season many venues (including us!) are likely to have their best dates booked out. But if this still seems like your best option, just be prepared to compromise on your choice of festive party date.

Nonetheless, bringing in someone who’s actual job it is to organise Christmas parties is the ultimate time saving tactic for last-minute Christmas party planning. Assuming the venue can give you the date you’re looking for, you can leave the rest to them.

The added benefit of having an event manager based in-house is how easy it is for them to arrange everything you need compared to trying to do it all yourself.  They’ll know exactly what is and isn’t possible at the venue so they can advise and recommend the best things to fulfil your brief in the time you have. Plus, venues often have close relationships with their preferred suppliers which means more flexibility in getting the elements you’d like arranged with less need to compromise.

Skip the Secret Santa

After struggling with the role of Christmas party planner dropped on you last-minute, you can safely assume the rest of the office won’t want to hunt out a secret Santa gift for the same short deadline.

You want to focus on taking the hassle out of your last-minute Christmas party planning equation, so try to avoid anything that takes extra organising. Skip the secret Santa and cringy party games and instead, opt for exciting pre-arranged entertainment. From magicians to musical acts, there are plenty of brilliant (and affordable) options and simply booking one takes much less time than trying to coordinate an office-wide gift exchange!

In summary, the less you need to organise yourself the better. Being given the last-minute Christmas party planning job is a tough gig, but it’s more than possible to pull-off a night to remember when you have the right resources. We hope you found our festive bash-planning hacks helpful – if you’ve got any questions for the team about events at Merlin’s venues we’d be delighted to answer! Go ahead and drop us a note over on our contact page.


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