It’s that time of year again, time to start planning your annual work Christmas party. Apart from the traditional Christmas dinner, we have put together some ideas of different types of office Christmas party ideas you can use for your team, as well as some ideas that can work for remote working teams as well.

Work Christmas party ideas for non-remote teams

  • Become mixologists 

A range of restaurants/bars now offer cocktail masterclasses where your team can go along and learn how to make an array of alcoholic (and non-alcoholic if preferred) drinks with one of their bartenders/mixologists.

  • Get baking 

There are numerous regional event companies that can host a Bake Off for your team, or you can host your own using the recipes from the official Great British Bake Off site.

If you’re based near London, recreate your own version with your team at one of The Big London Bakes events. There are 12 baking stations for 12 teams of two in their marquee, and you’ll have 90 minutes to create and decorate your bake.

  • Crazy Golf

Crazy golf can be great for team building. Companies like Swingers Crazy Golf offer two crazy golf courses and a range of curated street food and delicious cocktails for your team.

  • Dust off your bowling shoes

There are some great bowling venues around the country that offer more than just a few rounds of bowling. Based in various locations around London, All Star Lanes offer retro bowling, karaoke, handmade cocktails and American food that you can enjoy with the whole team.

  • Venues offering games and drinks

Boom Battle Bar offers a variety of games that your team can play, including augmented reality darts, karaoke, crazy golf, beer pong etc. Food and drinks are also available throughout the variety of their sites across the UK.

  • Christmas treasure hunt

Depending on location, there are event organisers that can set up a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt for your team culminating in a Christmas lunch.

  • Unusual locations

Take your team somewhere they may never have been before and host an event at an iconic, or unusual venue. Companies like Venue Search London allow you to search over 1,500 venues for free. These include the likes of the 17th Century pleasure gardens at the Museum of London, aboard a yacht or at the Barbican Conservatory. How about a trip through the wardrobe to Narnia? Portland Place will transform itself this winter to take you back to a childhood gem.

  • Immerse yourself

From Secret Cinema to interactive tours, immersive experiences are hugely popular and allow visitors to get stuck into the action. Check out some of these suggestions:

  • Escape rooms: can be found across the country and are a fun way to solve challenges as a team on a fun day out.
  • Movie-inspired: take your team to see a festive film in an unusual location. Backyard Cinema offers alternative cinema experiences across the UK.
  • The Great Christmas Feast is an immersive experience that brings Charles Dickens’ London house back to life, complete with storytelling, a culinary feast and festive drinks.
  • Keep it small and intimate

Here at Bespoke HR, we’ve hired out some great venues for our office parties which allow the team to chat and mingle. Look for private rooms with style. We’ve used the Cosy Club, Tattams and Positano Guildford (for those near Surrey) or if you’re in London then Bar Duoro is a great choice.  In South London, Livelyhood pubs have spaces to choose from including The Treehouse, boasting reclaimed wooden cladding, woodland animals, botanical features and a roof terrace.

  • Join forces with other businesses

If you’re a small business but want to feel part of a bigger buzz, why not join forces with other companies at hosted events where you can buy your own table? These are held in venues across the UK including hotels and large venues such as the NEC, Birmingham.

  • Bring the party to you

If you’re hosting a party, hire a mobile bar from companies like Flightcase Bars – they have over 30 different bespoke-setup bars available across the UK.

  • Follow a trail

There are treasure trails, walking trails and ale trails across the country. We like the Brakspear Henley Ale Trail which culminates in a free t-shirt once completed.

  • Organise a charity event 

Your team may prefer to do something which gives back, so why not consider an event that raises funds at the same time? Or give your staff time off to volunteer as a way to team build whilst doing something positive? The British Heart Foundation has some Christmas fundraising ideas. You can find volunteering opportunities through organisations such as TCV or RSPB.  CIPD has some useful factsheets on employee volunteering.

Christmas party ideas for remote teams

  • Remote cocktail making

If you like the idea of a cocktail masterclass, you can bring this to your employees’ homes! You can get a box of all the equipment and ingredients needed sent to your employees in a package and then have a professional mixologist teach them how to mix their holiday-inspired drinks over video conferencing (eg Zoom or Teams).

  • Decorate Christmas cookies/gingerbread houses

Test out your employee’s creativity skills by sending them Christmas-themed DIY kits for them to complete in their own homes. For example, a kit for employees to build their own gingerbread houses or a Christmas Cookie kit where they can decorate a set of pre-made cookies. You can even make it a competition by offering a prize to the winner.

  • Remote gift exchanging

Just because your team is remote doesn’t mean they should miss out on Christmas gifts if it’s appropriate. We use DrawNames to pick out names and match them with a Secret Santa at random.

For more alternative Christmas party Ideas check out our other blog here.

  • Virtual escape rooms

During lockdown, virtual escape rooms were a cost-effective way to enjoy a team-building exercise. There are now lots to choose from including those that raise money for charity, check out Macmillan’s ‘Trapped! Escape room’. 

Things to be mindful of when organising the staff party

Before committing to your staff party plans there are a few things it is worth considering:

  • Get your employees’ opinions
    • Some of your employees, particularly those that work remotely, may feel more comfortable with a remote Christmas party, so you should check what they feel comfortable with before assuming they are ok with an in-person event.
    • Also, staff may prefer some alternatives to a traditional Christmas dinner more than others, so it is worth getting their opinion on what they would likely enjoy more.
    • Be inclusive – be mindful of the different backgrounds of your employees and the fact that not everyone may celebrate Christmas. ACAS has good advice on making your workplace inclusive.
    • Be mindful of the cost of living – staff may not want to buy gifts for each other or get involved in anything which will leave them out of pocket.
  • Choose your venue carefully
    • When thinking of what venues to choose for your Christmas make sure that the venue you choose can accommodate all your employees. Some venues have a maximum amount of people that can participate in activities, so make sure to find a place where all staff can participate if they choose.
    • Also, think about whether the venue you choose can cater to your team’s dietary requirements, your team’s accessibility needs (eg does it have wheelchair access for those who need it), and if your team has under 18’s, does the venue accommodate for them?
  • Consider how employees will travel to and from the Christmas Party
    • To avoid logistical issues after the Christmas Party ends it is worth checking with employees how they intend to travel to and from the event. Could certain employees who live close to each other share taxis? Is there public transport near the venue?
    • Remind employees that there is likely to be drinking at the event so they should arrange for alternative travel to and from the event if they want to participate.

Read our HR guide to managing your Christmas party.