Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Office Parties

No matter what some might say, there is such a thing as inappropriate workplace entertainment. Even if your office is “like a family,” you still shouldn’t play Cards Against Humanity with your coworkers for hours. There is an art to the perfect office holiday party. A good holiday party helps people bond, shows that you appreciate your staff, and helps motivate you to keep working through the winter. A bad holiday party can be cringe-worthy and embarrassing. Here are some tips to help make sure your holiday party is a success.


Don’t over-serve drinks

Having one glass of alcohol can be a great social lubricant, but having more can lead to questionable situations.  It’s best to keep an eye on the amount of alcohol consumption and try to stay under slightly more than one drink an hour- the rate at which the average person processes alcohol. Make sure you have a certified bartender or someone qualified to keep the drinks flowing and the party safe.

Don’t have unstructured time

There is nothing worse than getting off of work and going to a mandatory party where nobody knows what they’re supposed to be doing. When there is an activity scheduled (like a work Christmas-cookie making party), make sure you have everything you need and that the activity starts on time. Having been the one who had to run to the store for corn syrup, it’s best to leave the activities to a professional. Hiring professionals, like ComedySportz, ensures that your event goes smoothly and people don’t have too much time to wonder why they’re there.

Don’t limit to employees only

Holiday parties are a great time to open up and meet some of your coworker’s families. Make sure your employees know that their loved ones are invited.

Don’t make it mandatory

Hopefully you’ve created the type of office environment where people will want to come to the holiday party. Even if you’ve nailed your company culture, there still might be people who have conflicts, or who would rather avoid a party due social anxiety. There are a million reasons to miss a party, and while you should encourage people to come, there shouldn’t be any repercussions for those who can’t.

Do: have food

Especially if you’re serving alcohol, make sure that there’s something for people to eat. Pretzels and potato chips might be fine for a mid-afternoon snack, but if your party is in the evening, you should consider serving something more substantial. Make sure to keep in mind different dietary restrictions as well. Including something gluten-free and vegetarian ensures there’s something everyone can eat.

Do: have space for people to move around

There’s a reason start-ups often have large open spaces. The spontaneous interactions that occur when coworkers meet each other in the hallway produce some of the most valuable ideas. If you’re having your holiday party in your office, make sure that there’s enough room for people to mingle. If you’re hiring some entertainment for the evening (which we definitely recommend), make sure there’s enough room for the performance and if possible, provide a place where performers can get ready and stay out of the way until they’re needed.

Do: highlight special people and accomplishments

Your company has worked hard over the year. Maybe there’s a special person or project that helped make you successful. Take the time in your party to say thank you. A lack of gratitude is one of the major factors that drives turnover and burnout. The holidays are all about saying thanks, and your company party is the perfect time to do so. One of the best ways to highlight special people and accomplishments is by asking your entertainment to include them in the show. When we perform for our corporate clients, we will often interview someone who has done a lot for the organization and do some scenes to show how amazing they are. It’s a fun way to show gratitude and make employees feel appreciated for all their hard work.

Do: have appropriate entertainment

No matter how many cards you remove from that Cards Against Humanity Deck, it still won’t be appropriate for a workplace. While  that stand-up comedian might say they can do a set that doesn’t offend anyone, you’re better off not taking the risk. Choose holiday entertainers whose default is “comedy for everyone.” We’ve performed our ComedySportz show for elderly patrons, elementary schools, churches, and offices alike. We know how to put on a show that makes everyone laugh, and makes nobody feel bad. Whatever your holiday entertainment, make sure you know how long they’re going to perform. There’s nothing worse than expecting a 30 minute show and not knowing how to ask the magician to leave an hour and a half later.

Do: have a cheeseball

Cheeseballs are delicious and no holiday party would be complete without them. Try to get one with dried cranberries since it really makes the cheddar and cream cheese pop.


What ever you decide to do for your holiday office party, we can help. Whether you’re looking for an experienced emcee/host or a full show, we’d be happy to help you make sure your party does what it is supposed to- celebrates the spirit of the holidays.