Taking the Stress Out of Planning your Christmas Party - Merlin Venues

Taking the Stress Out of Planning your Christmas Party

11 October 2023

Organising the company Christmas party can feel like a big responsibility. Balancing the expectations of senior management and junior staff across a range of departments can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But at Merlin Venues we not only have a range of spaces to suit all tastes, we also have a highly experienced events team who know a thing or two about putting on a truly memorable festive celebration.

Choosing a Memorable Setting for your Christmas Party

If you work for a typical business, you and your colleagues will probably all spend a lot of time sitting in the same chair, at the same desk, in the same room, in the same building for a lot of your working week. The office Christmas party is an opportunity to take your staff somewhere special, somewhere different and somewhere they can feel inspired, spoilt and appreciated. Choosing a unique party venue is a simple yet effective way of setting the tone for a magical night. Every element of your Christmas party should be about indulging your team and the environment into which you take them should make them feel they’ve been treated.

The Riverside Rooms in County Hall on the Southbank offer an exquisite space in which to hold a Christmas party. The stunning, wood-panelled walls and large windows give the rooms a sense of grandeur and occasion that will make your guests immediately feel appreciated. If you’re looking to include an interactive element in your event, booking Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE London Aquarium or the London Dungeon will offer your guests a genuinely unique experience. A venue with in-built ice-breakers is always a good idea when you’re entertaining a mixed crowd and we find a room full of (waxwork) celebrities, sharks or Dickensian criminals always gives people plenty to talk about.

Culinary Delights – Food and drink

The Christmas party is an opportunity for your staff to make new connections throughout your business and enjoy the company and cement existing bonds with close colleagues. Sometimes a less formal set up – with a buffet and various food stations – can help encourage more interaction between your guests. This might not always be the case though, as some members of your team might prefer the comfort and formality of a seating plan and a served, three-course meal. Give due consideration to the type of food you’re going to serve before you begin to look at which dishes your guests might appreciate.

No matter what London party venue you choose, food is going to one of the most important and exciting parts of your event for you and your guests. The temptation for lots of planners is to go totally off-piste with the menus – throwing out all notion of turkey, stuffing and mince pies. This can definitely work for some groups, but just make sure you know this will be appreciated before you take the plunge. It might feel a little staid to serve traditional ingredients and flavours at what you hope is going to be a dynamic and inspiring event, but you need to ensure you aren’t going to be disappointing people who were looking forward to some festive treats. Perhaps a good compromise for most audiences is to stick with classic elements and introduce some modern twists?

Our catering partner, Seasoned, will design a Christmas party menu for you using seasonal, ethically-sourced ingredients wherever possible. Whether you opt for a sit down dinner, street for stalls, a buffet or bowl food, your guests will be served delicious, restaurant-quality food with vegan and vegetarian options that all of your colleagues will love.

Entertainment and dancing

You don’t have to book one of Merlin Venues’ tourist attraction spaces to ensure your guests have a night packed full of entertainment. For events at the Riverside Rooms at County Hall, we work closely with event production company Full Circle who stage amazing evenings with show-stopping acts and experiences including giant snow booths, acrobats, hot roasted chestnut carts and Christmas choirs. It’s likely you’ll have a large number of people coming to your party who would enjoy letting their hair down and having a boogie as the night goes on so when booking with Merlin Venues, make sure you talk to our events team about a dancefloor.

Catering for the needs of a large group of people is a complex affair, but it is possible with a unique venue that has several different areas, such as Madame Tussauds, to create a dancefloor as well as spaces for non-dancers to mingle and chat.

Adding a personal touch

Often, it’s the little touches that make an event special and subtle branding is a clever way to not only make your party memorable but also to help create a more immersive experience. Cocktails and decorations in your company colours, plasma screens with images or videos of your colleagues and divers in the shark tank wearing your logo on their wetsuits – there are lots of ways you can personalise a Merlin Venues’ Christmas party.

Ingredients for the perfect Christmas Party:

  • 1 date that works for the majority: to achieve this Harpers Bazaar suggests circulating potential dates around the office and going with the “majority rules” when making the final decision.
  • 1 large party venue: a recent Eventbrite survey found that 50% of respondents wanted their party to be held in a dedicated space, and only 8% wanted it held in the workplace.  Often you get more than just the venue – Merlin Events team is made up of experienced event managers who will take all the hard work out of organising the event for you.
  • A liberal sprinkling of drinks – many would say this is the most important ingredient!  Depending on your budget a free welcome cocktail (in company colours) sets the tone, followed by a wine, beer and soft drinks package arranged with the venue.
  • A large handful of party food – forget the dried turkey sandwiches or vol-au-vents.  Think modern, stylish and tantalisingly tasty.
  • A large helping of entertainment – this is a must to help to break the ice and make your party go with a swing.  So make sure you’ve got a decent amount allocated in your budget for good entertainment.
  • A pinch of style: 58% of people surveyed think a dress code for the Christmas Party is a bad idea, so why not opt for something more casual?  Instead you could have a box of fancy dress clothes, or sprinkle festive accessories around your chosen venue for people to put on if they want – think of the #ChristmasSelfie possibilities!

Get in touch

If you think Merlin Venues’ portfolio might contain the perfect London Christmas party space for your 2023 celebrations, give our friendly event team a call on 020 7487 0224 or drop them an email via events@merlinvenues.com.


    Conference/MeetingDinnerPartyAwardsChristmas PartyTeam Building

    Riverside RoomsLondon DungeonMadame TussaudsSea LifeShrek's AdventureLondon EyeMovies at Madame TussaudsThe Bear Grylls AdventureI'm not sure

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