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Navigating the Christmas Party – The Right Balance

With the onset of the ‘silly season’ comes a few certainties – you’re bound to see a few early Out Of Office emails from those taking their leave prior to the 25th, and if you’re a business owner or leader, you’ll need to start considering how your own Christmas party will look and feel.

Christmas parties are a great way to set the tone for the year ahead, celebrate accomplishments, honour standout team members, boost morale and, most importantly, bond closely together in a relaxed environment.

So, the question remains: how do you find the right balance between celebratory and professional? Let’s look at some of the essential considerations and factors that will influence the event’s outcome and ensure you’ll encourage team camaraderie while keeping your sense of business values and culture at your next Christmas party.



Setting the scene

Setting the right tone and atmosphere for your Christmas party is essential, and this can begin right from the earliest conversation and date confirmations with your team. Consider the current dynamics – are you a startup with a team of close-knit hires who started with the business early on? Do you have some new hires you’d like to welcome to the business during the event? Consider the company culture when choosing to make it a more formal or relaxed event, as well as the overall goals.

If bonding, connection and a relaxed environment are front and centre for you, consider hiring a table at a favourite venue where your team can mingle, eat, drink and be merry together. If you’re looking to impress and you have teams from around Australia, consider a more black-tie function that could also act as your internal business awards and recognition evening – of course, budget is also a major influencing factor.


Dress code & behaviour

An office or team Christmas party should balance kicking back and maintaining a healthy sense of professionalism. Different business leaders and owners will have their own take on exactly what this balance looks like, but consider how much alcohol you’ll be giving your team access to on the day and how you’ve set the scene for them in your invite.

Remember: if you have a strict code of conduct for this event, share this with your team and get their buy-in well before, and chat to more senior team members if you will be relying on them to keep an eye on the wider team across the party.

If you do spot any employees imbibing a little too much, ensure they have a buddy in place to keep an eye on them, and ensure everyone has a safe way home – avoid any direct confrontations about behaviour during your Christmas party, and plan for this to be addressed in business hours.

In terms of giving dress code guidance, again consider the culture and mission of your business – keeping a wider dress code bracket allows those who want to theme it up to have fun while not alienating or forcing employees to dress outside of their preferred style – a phrase like “Dress to feel your best – confident and comfortable” can often work a charm.



Remember, not everyone on your team may celebrate Christmas, so keep your language accessible, be mindful of any dietary requirements and gather these in advance. Consider low or no-alcohol options and ensure there are soft drinks available for anyone wishing to avoid alcohol – this will ensure everyone feels comfortable and accommodated. 


Team bonding

Consider what activities will run throughout your Christmas party – these might be simple icebreaker games or joke awards that highlight fun qualities and quirks for your team. A Secret Santa is also a great way to connect a larger group, with an opportunity for the team to share their hobbies and interests.

If you have the budget for team Christmas gifts, a personalised note from the business leader goes a long way and can be a nice way to thank specific employees for their efforts personally.

Hosting a winning office Christmas party comes down to creating the right environment where your employees can relax, have fun and reconnect with one another. It’s also a great way to get a refreshed look at your team, discover potential new interests and talents, and, most importantly, commemorate another year together and the collective wins.