YES, we know it’s only July and YES we know you want to hurt us for the mere crime of just mentioning the words ‘Christmas party’.
But let’s be real here. It’s time to start planning for that special night of the year where you can watch in frozen horror as Karen from finance stealthily avoids creepy Barry’s mistletoe sprig, where you can imbibe too many mulled wines and wake up with several free mince pies crammed into your jacket pocket.
All in all, a fun festive time – unless you’re the sorry soul who has to plan the entire event. As the freakishly wise Kevin McCallister would say:
But fret not, friend! Here are a few golden rules to make sure the work soirée goes off without a hitch (we can’t do anything about Barry, sorry).
Get Out Of The Office… We Beg You!
This is probably the best piece of advice you can get for office parties. Please don’t just have them in the office. It’s a weird atmosphere, people will be in work mode and someone will try and be funny with the photocopier. Nobody wants that.
Why be stuck in a boardroom drinking warm wine when you could be in Sophie’s, taking in views of our charming little city on a winter night?
Budget, budget, budget
This is vital. Before you book the five-star venue, champagne fountain and a five-course menu you should consider that your startup with a staff of eight people just might not have the funds for an extravagant bash. Don’t worry though, there’s a party for every price point.
Get in early!
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you’re attempting to organise a Christmas do anytime after the October Bank Holiday, you’re playing a losing game.
A lot of the time venues will offer a sweet perk or two for booking early, too. Bonus brownie points for you. For a really unique experience with stunning view of Dublin, The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse is a fantastic venue that can accommodate up to 200 people.
Stuff your (festive) face
For many people, Christmas is about three things – food, food and oh why not, a little bit more food. If you’re going to be having a meal at your venue, ask about things like allergies and vegetarian or vegan options.
If you’re going straight to a bar, look into organising some platters of delicious finger food. For instance, The Bridge 1859 is a warm and stylish pub, with a delicious menu for large groups.
Make it accessible
Ensure that the venue you choose is fully accessible to your co-workers with mobility issues to ensure there are no disappointments on the night. Think Lemon and Duke – a gorgeous spot with great cocktails, tank beer and the space for up to 450 people.
You can’t go wrong with photographs – but just because everyone has a camera in their pocket these days, don’t assume the night will be properly documented unless you add a few special touches. Buy a few disposable cameras to have at the tables – or hire a photo booth if it’s within your budget.
Remember to actually invite people
It’s not enough to tell Aisling at the water cooler and expect her to let everyone know because she’s a notorious gossip (though to be fair, Aisling really is such a notorious gossip). Nor is it enough to mention the date in passing on Slack in October, and presume people will remember. They won’t.
Send a cute email invite some time around early November to get an idea of numbers, then send a follow-up in the calendars closer to the date for the scatterbrains on the sales team (you know the ones).
Try out a theme
Ugly Christmas jumpers, Roaring Twenties or a black and white theme will have everyone feeling creative. Throwing in a few deadly prizes for winners won’t hurt either (drinks tokens, hint hint).
One of the newest and most glam venues in Dublin, Roberta’s, would be the perfect place for a Great Gatsby-style vintage Christmas party.
If your office has some craft beer obsessives, get on their good side with a Christmas do at Against The Grain. The staff really know their stuff, the bar is stocked with the best brews in the city and their function room is ideal with capacity to hold 100 people.
Consider a classy cocktail party
The Vintage Cocktail Club in Temple Bar is one of the most sophisticated spots in Dublin, with a vast menu of tipples to choose from – they take group bookings of up to 20 people, which is perfect if your work gang is on the smaller side.
The cocktail bar at Fade Street Social is another deadly choice, holding up to 110 people in their gorgeous red-brick event space – and if drinking the goods doesn’t quite do it, you could also consider booking a masterclass for your Christmas party punters.
And of course… plan for a proper rager
If you want the Christmas bash to end all others, you can hire out Dublin institution Coppers for your office do. We can only hope they’ll play the 5ive megamix at the end of the night – and if they don’t, well, surely that’s grounds for a lawsuit.