The Changing Corporate Holiday Party

By Sue Brady

Party in a BoxOffice holiday parties are changing. I’ve been reading about this and decided it was worth writing about, given the uniqueness of the one I just attended.

I’ve always enjoyed office parties. It’s a chance to talk to coworkers in a more casual way and allows you to get to know folks on a different level. When I first started working, holiday parties seemed to always be in the office. There was plenty of drinking and socializing. Later, parties seemed to shift to hotels or cool locations. One employer of mine from Washington, DC held our party in the Air and Space Museum! It was different and very cool.

Another company I worked for more recently has a tradition where each year at the holiday party, two folks are nominated to plan the party for the following year. There are no rules other than sticking to budget. This leads to a lot of creative parties, like the one held in the lobby of the Field Museum in Chicago.

Some companies have completely changed the paradigm. One small company mentioned in this article took their employees to a shopping mall, bought them lunch, gave them gift cards to go and spend right then and there (with the rule being, they had to spend them on themselves), and then they met back up after the allotted amount of time for drinks. Other companies are making their holiday parties into charitable events.

Because we are a 100% virtual company, my current employer, RM Factory, threw a virtual office party. A few days before the party, a box arrived containing a holiday music CD, a holiday glass, mini bottles of vodka and Baileys, cranberry juice, a martini shaker and some nibbles. At the allotted hour we donned our ugly Christmas sweaters, poured ourselves a drink, fired up our video conference, and had a toast together as a company. Not only was it a blast, but no one had to drive home afterwards! The ugly sweater contest added an individual touch as well, and prizes were awarded.

What interesting (and publishable) holiday party stories do you have?

 Holiday Party 2

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