A Guide to Planning the Perfect Office Holiday Party - 5 Party Games & 4 Sample Menus Included

Explore the ultimate guide to organizing a memorable office holiday party with party game ideas and sample menus for a festive and unforgettable celebration.

A Guide to Planning the Perfect Office Holiday Party - 5 Party Games & 4 Sample Menus Included

Why have parties?

In the US, office holiday parties contribute to almost 20% of money spent on party planning! That’s a big chunk for companies to spend on parties. So, why do they do it? And why should your company be one of them?

Here are the most important reasons you should consider having a company holiday party this year:

It is fun! When you organize a good party, your employees can have a good time. But by doing so, you also help them realize your company values their happiness. In other words, it’s a fun place to work at.

It highlights culture: Companies trying to reinforce or establish a positive culture can demonstrate what they’re all about with such celebrations. Want to emphasize on individual recognition? Throw in an awards ceremony so no one from your team feels unappreciated!

It can boost morale: EOY festivities can help you close the year on a high note. Your employees will leave for their holiday breaks with a positive view of the company. Similarly, you can empower your team with an optimistic New Year’s party before the new year kicks in.

It can increase collaboration & productivity: We all know how important collaboration is to a company’s success. A  holiday party can pave the way for cross-departmental employee engagement. People who normally don’t get to talk may interact and know each other better.

By strengthening employee bonds, you also boost productivity. Think about it, if your employees are communicating, there could be less friction, work duplication, etc.


An office holiday party may not seem that significant in the grand scheme of things. However, it can result in:

  • Fun occasions
  • Morale boost
  • Increased employee collaboration
  • Improved productivity

How to plan parties?

Did we convince you? Are you ready to plan your own party? Where should you begin? You’ll find all answers below:

1. Setting the stage: unveiling the holiday party

Set the stage for your holiday get-together by informing the employees about the upcoming party. We’d suggest doing it:

  • At least two months before the actual event
  • Via a company-wide email
  • By mentioning the date and time
  • Between early Dec-mid Jan


  • Many people travel during the holidays
  • Avoid conflicts and availability issues
  • Build anticipation around your event

2. Preparations beyond the ordinary

Creating an event planning team

Whip up a corporate holiday party that rocks with this plan:

  • Who's Who: Pick roles (see below)
  • Team Pals: Grab folks who are up for fun and can pitch in
  • Divvy Tasks: Give each buddy jobs that fit their thing
  • Chit-Chat Time: Set meet-ups to chat updates and make calls
  • Party Goals: Jot down what you want this bash to rock
  • Get Timed: Make a plan with dates for every to-do
  • Money Matters: Make sure peeps know the budget stuff (keep scrolling)
  • Tech Tools: Use online stuff to chat and keep things tracked (you know what to do)
  • News Blasts: Keep the crew posted on what's happening
  • Talk It Out: Share thoughts openly to fine-tune as needed

Who's who

You’ll need experts like these on your event planning team:

  1. Event Lead—that’s you
  2. Details & Logistics Master—to manage schedules and setups
  3. Chatterbox—info sharer, keeping everyone connected
  4. Budget Guru
  5. Entertainment Planner
  6. Décor Diva
  7. Foodie Coordinator
  8. Vendor Liaison
  9. Tech Wiz
  10. Backup Buddy—helper-on-call

Money matters

Your budget guru should take care of the following:

  • Confirm the agreed-on figure with your boss
  • Include everything on said budget
  • Match money spent previously but adjust for current cost
  • Ensure everyone else sticks to the budget

No such thing as over-communicating! So, make sure you:

Tech tools

  • Repeat yourself to get the message to sink in
  • Ensure info doesn’t get overlooked due to EOY winding up activity
  • Use a centralized hub, such as Notion, for information exchange

3. Igniting curiosity: invitations with a twist

How about a teaser campaign? – something that can be done internally to spark curiosity among teams and encourage more people to attend the party.

We’d recommend spacing out the teasers:

  1. So, you can start by sending out the first one as a save-the-date message
  2. Two more with a gap of 15 days or so
  3. Final party invite, RSVP sign-up link, and dietary restrictions form

Below, we’re sharing three teaser email templates. You can change the message, depending on the games/activities you want to hype up:

Teaser email templates

Email teaser #1: Classic excitement

Subject: Save the Date: Unwrap the Fun at Our Corporate Holiday Party 🎉

Dear [Company Name] Team,

The holiday season is approaching, and we've got a special gift for you! Get ready to jingle, mingle, and celebrate together at our upcoming event. Mark your calendars for [Date] and stay tuned for more details coming your way.


[Your Name]

[Your Title]

Combine it with office holiday party invitations. Or, use the one we’re attaching below:

Template Link

Now that you’ve got ‘em hooked, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Whet their collective curiosity with a peek at what you’ve got planned. That’s your cue to send the second teaser. Find the template below:

Email teaser #2: Mic drop moments await! 🎤🎶

Subject: Get Ready to Shine: Karaoke & Lip Sync Battle Await!

Hello [Company Name] Superstars,

Are you ready to take the stage and unleash your inner rock star? Save the date for [Date], because we're bringing the house down with a Karaoke & Lip Sync Battle extravaganza! Whether you've got killer pipes or can rock the lip sync like a pro, this is your chance to shine under the spotlight.

Stay tuned for more details,

[Your Name]

[Your Title]

PS: Warm up those vocal cords and practice your lip-syncing skills – it's time to own the stage! 🎤🕺🎉

Next up, another email teaser to show off another one of the company holiday party ideas you have been cooking up for them:

Email teaser #3: Unwrap the fun with a gift wrapping relay! 🎁🏃

Subject: Ready, Set, Wrap! Get Ready for the Gift Wrapping Relay!

Hello [Company Name] Team,

'Tis the season for teamwork and a dash of friendly competition! Brace yourselves for the Gift Wrapping Relay on [Date]. Get your creative juices flowing and your wrapping skills ready to create the most impressive gift-wrapped packages.

Stay tuned for more,

[Your Name]

[Your Title]

PS: It's time to roll, fold, and tape your way to victory – may the best wrappers win! 🎁🏆

For the final email, make sure to include:

  • Date, time, & venue location
  • Dress code
  • If plus ones are allowed
  • RSVP + Dietary restrictions—a Google form will take care of that

4. Activities that spark joy and unity

Office holiday party games are a necessity not just because they’ll entertain your attendees. You can also use them to help different employees and teams engage with each other.

Below, we list down a few you have to try at your event:

Holiday Trivia

You can’t go wrong with organizing a trivia game.

Some services you can use:

Don’t like those? Here are some holiday party themes for work you can use to make your own:

  • Music
  • Movies
  • Traditions
  • Food
  • Mythology
  • Winter weather
  • Holidays-based pop culture

P.S. we’d recommend throwing in non-Christmas holidays for an inclusive quiz.

P.P.S. You can also use multimedia elements for guessing games, such as:

  • Audio clips of popular carols
  • Ultra-zoomed in photos of holidays-associated objects
  • Scenes from famous holiday movies

How to play

  1. Make your questions
  2. Divide the audience into teams
  3. Hand out papers and pens
  4. Arrange buzzers/jingle bells
  5. Explain whoever rings first gets to answer
  6. Highest points wins the games for a team
  7. Have tie-breaking questions (just in case)

Karaoke and Lip Sync Battle

Want your employees to interact? There are no better team-building holiday party ideas for making that happen than via music! Whether they carry a tune or battle it out over lyrics, your employees will feel closer to each other after participating in either activity.

P.S. Find the instructions for virtual karaoke battles here.

DIY Ornament Making

Set up a crafting station with supplies for making personalized holiday ornaments. This doubles as a fun activity and produces keepsake decorations for the teams to take home.

You can grab most this stuff off Etsy:

  • Ornament blanks of various shapes & materials
  • Stuff for decoration, like paints, sequins, beads, markers, glitter, ribbons, & stickers
  • Glue & double-sided tape
  • Scissors, rulers
  • Tablecloths & aprons
  • Paper towels & trash bags
  • Instructions or sample ornaments
  • A display area for the finished goods
  • Timer—use Google Timer

Holiday Pictionary

Put a holiday twist on the classic game of Pictionary by using holiday-themed words and phrases, including:

  • Snowman
  • Santa Claus
  • Christmas tree
  • Reindeer
  • Candy cane
  • Gingerbread house
  • Fireplace
  • Mistletoe
  • Stocking
  • Snowflake
  • Sleigh
  • Nutcracker
  • Presents
  • Wreath
  • Hot cocoa
  • Caroling
  • Elf
  • Ugly sweater
  • Icicle
  • Holiday lights

Holiday Charades

Play a game of H-rated charades with holiday-themed phrases, movies, or songs! Divide the audience into teams and have each act out a prompt. Remind them they cannot talk and will have 2-5 min to guess the merry miming.

Examples of office holiday party themes to use:

  • Carols
  • Movies
  • Characters
  • Traditions
  • Legends

Gift Wrapping Relay

Set up a gift-wrapping station with supplies, and have teams race to wrap presents in creative and festive ways.

Find your office holiday party game supplies on Etsy:

  • Wrapping paper rolls
  • Various-sized gift boxes
  • Scissors & tape
  • Ribbons, bows, & other decorative accessories
  • Gift tags
  • Markers & pens
  • Timer
  • Bins & wipes

5. Office holiday party outfits

Based on your party’s venue, theme, or activities, you might want to suggest an office holiday party dress code. That will save the employees from the stress of wondering what to wear. After all, no one wants to arrive at the party while over/underdressed! And you want them to put all their energies towards getting excited rather than nervous.

So, for instance, if you arrange active games, ask your employees to come in comfortable athletic wear. Cozy within-work-hours parties can become both more festive and comfy with attendees in festive pajamas.

6. A wonderland of ambiance and décor


When choosing a venue, decide whether you’ll be partying:

  • In-office
  • Outside

For outside locations, pick potential places for the office holiday party that are:

  • Budget-friendly
  • 30 min away from the office
  • Easily navigable
  • Close to public transportation or accessible by Uber/Lyft
  • Roomy enough—check the RSVP list
  • Kid-friendly—if you’ve invited them
  • Available at least a month before

Also, make sure it has the space you’ll need for games, etc. So, confirm if the venue has:

  • A stage
  • Bar/Buffet space
  • Table space
  • A dance floor

Some of the venues you may want to consider besides your business location include the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Resort/golf course
  • Event centers
  • Hotel ballrooms
  • Bowling alleys
  • Charter cruises
  • Airbnb

Or, you can Google corporate holiday party venues near me, and you’ll have endless options to sort through!


Once you have the place, it’s time to think of office holiday party decoration ideas. Check out Pinterest for inspiration.

Or go for an all-out Snowy Wonderland theme with:

  • Glowy electric fireplaces
  • Fairy lights
  • Battery-operated candles
  • Blue & white tablecloths, ornaments, & chair covers
  • Faux snow & glitter
  • Garlands of snowflakes
  • Snowy arch for a photobooth
  • Faux fur throws
  • Lanterns & tulle
  • Snowflake-themed place settings

P.S. try to lean towards an inclusive theme rather than Christmas-heavy décor.

7. Delightful feasts and culinary exploration

Let’s talk food! Some questions you’d need to answer during the planning phase to avoid last-minute hiccups:

Q. How much food would suffice?

Q. What’ll be on the menu?

Q. What about drinks? (see below)

Food’s usually one of the main things you should consider when discussing office holiday party ideas with your event planning team. By then, you should have the headcount, so the first question should be easy to answer.

Keep in mind:

  • Guests consume less food during the day
  • Plan for 1 pound/adult and 1/2 pound/kid
  • More variety = less amount of each food needed
  • You can get a restaurant, catering service, venue’s in-house catering
  • Plan for set up, serving, and cleanup cost/staff too

For the next question, don’t forget to consult your dietary restrictions list. There are several ways of approaching menu-making for office parties.

We’ll cover the main ones below:

Restaurant format

Guests can either stick to the place’s existing menu or you can have them serve a special menu. Serve a full meal if your party’s going to be a sit-down event with hired-for-the-evening entertainment.

Create a custom menu with:

  • Butternut Squash Soup (Starter)
  • Green Salad (Starter)
  • Roasted Turkey & Cranberry Sauce (Main #1)
  • Grilled Salmon & Lemon-Dill Sauce (Main #2)
  • Stuffed Mushrooms (Main #3; Vegetarian)
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Side)
  • Roasted Vegetables (Side)
  • Assorted mini desserts (cheesecake, fruit, chocolate, etc.)

Buffet format

Parties featuring more physical activities should serve a buffet-style dinner. That way, your guests can load up their plates and get back to their activities.

A sample buffet for you:

  • Build-Your-Own Salad station
  • Carving station with different cold cuts
  • Warm meats, such as roasted chicken
  • Mashed potatoes, fries, & other tuber-based snacks
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Mini desserts (cupcakes, brownies, and fruit skewers)

Hors d'oeuvres format

Serve appetizers during cocktail hour before dinner to get the party going. Some popular Christmas party hors d'oeuvres include:

  • Shrimp Cocktails
  • Fondue
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Oysters
  • Flatbreads (pita) & tortilla chips
  • Cold cuts (smoked salmon, roast beef, chicken bologna)
  • Mini Beef Wellingtons
  • Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls
  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip
  • Hummus
  • Mini Eclairs
  • Fruit Skewers
  • Petit Fours

Potluck format

Employees can pitch in by bringing something from home. This is ideal for smaller companies or companies with not-too-big budgets.

Here’s your sample menu with the usual suspects:

  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Tortilla Chips
  • Bacon-Wrapped Dates
  • Turkey with Gravy
  • Honey-Glazed Ham
  • Vegetarian Lasagna
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Assorted Homemade Cookies
  • Pumpkin Pie

8. Alcohol policy & drinks

Having an alcohol policy in place is important for several reasons, such as:

  1. Runs up the bill quickly
  2. Can lead to questionable decision-making

You can counter that by handing two drink tickets/employee. After they’ve had their two free drinks, you can choose if you want your attendees to be able to purchase more with their money—or not.

Additionally, you should also have non-alcoholic beverage options for employees who don’t consume alcohol.

Our recommended drink list:



  • Sparkling Cranberry Punch
  • Hot Spiced Apple Cider
  • Mocktail Mojito
  • Cranberry Fizz
  • Gingerbread Steamer

You can also use the My Cocktail Bar app to figure out new combos.

9. Transport

Plan for transportation—to and from the venue—especially if you’ll be serving alcohol. You can choose between:

  • Buses
  • Limos
  • Carpool
  • Reimbursing Uber/Lyft receipts

That said, if you’re having employees picked up, just set up the office premises as the pick-up/drop-off point. Finally, if you’re going with carpooling, have a sheet ready for signups to avoid mishaps later.

10. Play great music

Good music is an integral part of creating a lively atmosphere. You can:

  • Hire live musicians/bands for a sophisticated touch
  • Play your own music
  • Have your employees create a playlist with their faves

For the last option, you can also set up an automated Zap to ensure only work-appropriate songs make it onto the list:


Having a traditional Christmas party? Then stick to classic holiday tunes for the first hour or two and then put on your alternative playlist. After all, most people will be tired of Ms. Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You!

Alternatively, regardless of the occasion, it’s hard to go wrong by picking good pop music tracks for a party.

Exhibit #1:

Exhibit #2:

Stick to softer genres for a more relaxed atmosphere. Check out the instrumental and indie playlists below:

11. Hand out fun party favors

What else can you, the party planners, add to your list of great holiday company party ideas? How about party favors? What’s a party without them?

Let your peeps know you’re thinking of them during the holidays with any of the following:

  • Custom tumblers & travel mugs
  • Gourmet chocolates or cookies
  • Desk plants—small potted succulents
  • Custom phone grips, power banks, or earbuds
  • Soft and warm throws or festive socks
  • Elegant stationery
  • Gift cards to coffee shops or restaurants
  • Stress-relief items for wellness
  • Eco-friendly totes, hats, or shirts
  • Travel-sized game sets
  • Thoughtful reading selections
  • Frames for memories

12. Capture smiles and warm memories

Sharing memorable events immortalizes them in people’s memories. Your employees can look at the photographs and reminisce about all the good times they had at the company.

And while you should definitely go ahead and hire an official photographer to cover your event, we’d suggest adding a 2-3 step long process in your final email invite. Explain how your employees can snap and share pictures with their phones using DropEvent.

Or use this for your email:

  1. Snap!
  2. Upload on DE using a QR code/album link (insert here)
  3. Keep making and adding memories!

P.S. since DropEvent lets users comment on individual pictures. It promotes team building & healthy engagement between employees! Find out how to do that & more with DE here.

What to do after parties?

The party lives on

Now that you’ve planned and executed an awesome and memorable holiday party, what should come next? If you’ve been following our party planning blog arc, you’d know it’s time for you to do two more things:

  • Set up an Event Wall

Read all about it and its many benefits here.

  • Share a feedback survey

You can use a Google form to create your survey. Because, believe us, it’s going to be a huge help for you when holiday party planning in the future. You’d get opinions about what worked and which areas could use improvement right from the attendees’ mouths!

Summing it up

We hope you’re now familiar with the positive outcomes of executing a successful office holiday party and how they translate into team cohesiveness and overall productivity down the road. Use our step-by-step guide to nail your office party. And tick off things as you go using our handy checklist.

Two Months Before

  • Inform employees through a company-wide email
  • Set the date, time, and location
  • Create an event planning team with assigned roles
  • Establish party goals and objectives
  • Create a budget
  • Utilize online tools for communication and organization
  • Begin teaser campaigns
  • Choose a venue

One Month Before

  • Continue teaser campaign
  • Finalize the party menu and catering arrangements
  • Plan and prep decorations
  • Confirm details with vendors and suppliers
  • Share the first teaser email
  • Coordinate transportation
  • Set up an event wall

Two Weeks Before

  • Send out the second teaser email, hinting at specific activities
  • Test any technology or equipment needed for the party
  • Ensure all logistics and setups are arranged
  • Confirm RSVPs and dietary restrictions
  • Plan and organize party games and activities
  • Check in with the event planning team for progress updates

One Week Before

  • Send out the final party invite
  • Conduct a final walkthrough
  • Double-check transportation arrangements
  • Confirm catering orders and final numbers
  • Share the third teaser email
  • Prepare party favors

Now that we’ve taken care of perfecting the details for you, we hope you won’t forget to have a great time at the party yourself!

Looking for more themed, creative ideas for office parties? Find some unusual ones here!


1. How do you make a holiday party special?

Make your holiday celebration party special by adding unique touches: a creative theme, interactive activities, live entertainment, gourmet food and drinks, personalized gifts, and a charitable element. Create memorable moments with employee involvement, unique venues, and customized decor, making the event special and memorable for everyone.

2. How do you plan a good office party?

Event planning involves setting a clear purpose, choosing a fitting theme, and selecting a suitable date and venue. Stay within budget while arranging engaging activities, varied food and drinks, and appealing decorations. Secure entertainment, capture memories, and offer thoughtful party favors. Collect feedback for future improvements.

3. What do you talk about at an office holiday party?

Engage in light and positive conversations at a corporate holiday party. Discuss festive plans, favorite holiday traditions, and upcoming vacations. Avoid controversial topics and focus on shared interests, hobbies, and enjoyable experiences for a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.