Planning a holiday party can be tough, particularly when you have a limited budget for the event AND your team’s expectations riding on your shoulders. But having an incredible holiday celebration doesn’t have to break the bank.
It may seem early to start planning, but trust us — it will only make the process smoother and easier to get cracking now.
Because money can’t buy happiness, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for having a fun, meaningful, and memorable holiday party, even on a small budget.
1) Listen & prioritize what your team wants for their holiday party.
Ask your employees “what’s important to you for this event?” and listen to their needs. You may be surprised to find that the perks are a whole lot less important than things that cost less like having time for recognition, convenience, and being able to introduce their families to their colleagues.
2) Save on food & drink.
Ask the venue, “How can we save money on food and drinks?” Not surprisingly, the most expensive part of an event is often the food and drink.
A few ideas you can consider as you plan:
- Can the venue provide drink tickets? What about a by-consumption bar tab?
- Is there a BYO option?
- Can you do just beer and wine, instead of more expensive liquors?
- As companies move away from drinking-focused holiday parties, have you considered a cash bar?
- Do you have drinks on tap at your office? If so, can you provide food and drink in your office either before or after the outing?
3) Be flexible on event dates or times to save money.
Ask the venue, “Do you offer lower rates for different days of the week or times of day?”
For example, a Monday evening may be substantially less expensive than a Thursday or Friday evening. And if you’re willing to do something in the daytime, you may also get a discount. One last tip is to ask the venue if they have any pre-booked or last minute inventory they’re looking to sell.
4) Get creative about activities.
Ask yourself, “Are there creative events that keep costs down?”
For example, since food and drink tend to be pricey, maybe your event activity can be something like cooking, make your own kombucha, or mixology classes, or get classy with a wine and cheese tasting.
5) DIY: Get crafty.
Ask yourself: “What can we provide that’s do-it-yourself?” For example, instead of purchasing customized swag, have you considered gift bags created by your events team or interns?
Instead of renting a photo booth, could you bring a Polaroid and hang pictures with clips? If we agree that “time is money,” and you’re short on the latter, just take some time to make what you can’t buy. Yes, it may take effort. But sometimes that trade-off makes your event or activity even more unique, personal, and memorable.
There are so many ways to have a great event, no matter how small your budget. For more tips, ideas, and the latest learnings about company events and culture, subscribe to our blog!