05 December, 2023

5 Christmas party ideas for small businesses

Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for small businesses, which means organising a work Christmas party can often slide down the priority list. But organising an end of year do doesn’t have to be a pain and can bring much-needed joy, reward, motivation and loyalty to the workplace.  

Here are five hassle-free Christmas party ideas to help you celebrate and connect with your employees this festive season.  

1. BBQ at the boss’s place 

Many big businesses boldly claim their staff are ‘part of the family’, but this is especially true for small and family-run businesses. And nothing says ‘welcome to the family’ more than an invitation to celebrate Christmas at your place.  

So, degrease the BBQ and crack out the Christmas crackers. A cook-up at your place is the perfect way to thank your hard-working work family.  

2. Christmas Potluck 

If catering for the whole workplace is too expensive, you can still share a feast by organising a Christmas-themed potluck. 

Whack up a sign-up sheet in the breakroom or email around a spreadsheet for everyone to nominate a dish to prepare and bring in. To avoid double-ups, organise the list into sides, main dishes, desserts, and drinks.  Apart from saving a few bucks and the headache of organising Christmas-time catering, it’s the perfect chance for everyone to share a bit of home life with colleagues — not to mention their favourite holiday foods.  

Who knows? Maybe Dan from accounting is a world-class pastry chef! 

3. Get away from the office or workshop 

Workplace parties are great, but no matter how well you decorate the office or workshop, there’s no escaping the fact you’re still at work! 

Thankfully, there are plenty of venues and activities that provide easy and fun alternatives from the breakroom or shop floor.  

If being inside is a priority, think escape rooms, cooking classes, axe throwing, beer tasting, laser tag, ten-pin bowling, karaoke, or roller disco. 

For outside fun, check out your local picnic areas, lawn bowls, and mini-golf.  

If you’ve got a really adventurous cohort, think kayaking, paintball or rock climbing! 

Whatever you do, getting offsite is the perfect way to help employees truly unwind. After all, it’s hard to duck away to check emails or wrap up ‘one last job’ during a round of putt-putt. 

4. Make it family-friendly  

We’ve all heard the horror stories — flirty co-workers and overindulgent tipplers that turn Christmas lunch into an HR headache.  

By making the Christmas function a family affair, you can ensure everyone is on their best behaviour and embracing the true spirit of the celebration — to spend time with people we care about.  

It’s also a great chance to get to know your employees’ loved ones, making them feel valued and appreciated. 

So, add families to the invite list, dust off the Santa costume for the kids, and create a relaxed atmosphere that even HR can enjoy.  

5. Get personal with gifts 

Recognition and workplace happiness go hand in hand, and the end-of-year celebration is the perfect time to dole out appreciation for what people bring to your business.  

As a small business, you likely collaborate closely with your employees day to day. So, use this knowledge and experience to your advantage and give meaningful gifts that make your employees feel special.  

Whether it’s a day off for a single parent to do some Christmas shopping, a bottle of wine for the connoisseur in reception, or a video game voucher for the resident tech guru, making it personal can make a huge difference.  

It’s all about acknowledging the people who make your workplace truly unique.  

5 Long-term benefits of work Christmas parties

1. Boost retention - acknowledging and celebrating a year of hard work can make employees feel genuinely appreciated.

2. Strengthen team dynamics - a team that plays together stays together. Encouraging casual interactions can help employees connect and appreciate one another.

3. Strengthen workplace culture - end-of-year celebrations are the perfect time to embrace and demonstrate business values.

4. Boost motivation - stepping back from day-to-day work gives everyone a chance to look at the big picture and see where they fit in.

5. It’s fun! - a good balance of work and fun makes for a healthy, energetic and productive workplace.