I just read an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about small businesses having more subdued holiday parties this year, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun.
Here are some ideas for having a frugal and FUN holiday party:
1) Have it at the office (frugal), but decorate it festively. Silver and gold party decorations always make thing classy (fun).
2) Leverage your vendors and/or clients. If they can give you sample products or swag that would be appropriate for stocking stuffers or goodie bags, then see if you can use them. [Note:Make sure it is something that employees haven’t seen all year long.]
3) Have a potluck. This can be done sweetly as an afternoon cookie or cupcake swap especially if there are avid bakers in the group. If enough people in the office are big on cooking, then ask them to bring their favorite dish. Be sure to reimburse them for their grocery expenses.
4) Play Games. It’s fun to play a game (not a team-building exercise) with the office. I don’t mean Rock Band or Guitar Hero. I recommend Apples to Apples because you may get insight on your office mate’s personality. There’s also a Jewish version of the game.
5) Give to a local charity. The money you are saving on a frugal holiday party can go to a charitable organization. Canned drives are commonplace this time of year, but seek out a local nonprofit that your office can help and/or volunteer.
6) Don’t forget the booze, but be prudent. The article suggested not serving alcohol at the holiday party to save money and lessen the possibility of accidents or bad behavior. For some, a holiday party is not a party without a glass a wine, so it’s OK to supply wine and beer, but put the kibbosh on the candy cane jelly shots! If your office is more into temperance drinks, then punch and soda are fine.
7) Give Thanks. Thank your team for working hard, sharing ideas, bringing in new business and/or being a joy to work with. Think of something of value that each person brings the company, and let them know. If you are stuck not having something to say about a person on your team, then you may need to consider whether they should on in 2009, since everyone has to contribute to make 2009 a more prosperous and profitable new year.