Christmas Party Trends

Corporate holiday parties have undergone some changes in recent years, in response to the global recession that hit many businesses in 2008, when many stopped spending out large sums for Christmas staff parties. Here are some of the Christmas party trends we’re seeing.

Corporate christmas party trends

Although many companies are once again opting to host an event in order to celebrate the hard work of employees, the holiday office party has changed in many ways.

Last Minute Affair

Tis’ almost the season to be jolly, although if you are planning a last minute corporate Christmas party there may not be a lot to be jolly about. It seems that the majority of businesses are now leaving the planning and booking of their holiday parties as late as possible, giving many an event planner a very stressful run up to Christmas!

In the good old days, businesses would have organised and paid for their Christmas parties before the end of the summer, ensuring plenty of time to book the venue, entertainment and caterers of choice (as well as leaving plenty of time to remedy any issues!).

These days it is all very last minute, despite the fact that the importance of holiday office parties hasn’t diminished.

Many event planners state that plans are not confirmed until well in to November, or even early December, because budgets are not confirmed or because venues have been changed due to numbers. This could be down to bosses waiting to see if the year is a success, financially, or perhaps a change in staff numbers because of new appointments etc.

Some organisers also hold out as long as they can before booking venues or entertainment to see if they can bag a last minute deal. The problem with opting to do this is that you risk finding that your venue or band of choice is fully booked!


Are Christmas Parties Still Important?

Companies still want to recognise the hard work of staff by throwing an end of year party. Most bosses also know the importance of a Christmas staff party, in helping to boost morale and staff relations, as well as network and thank customers in the case of a B2B event. According to US company Punchbowl, one of the leading celebrations sites in the world, “9 in 10 companies hosted a holiday party in 2012.”

This is positive news for event planners, who have finally seen a rise in the number of corporate Christmas parties being held.

Since the recession really hit in 2008, many companies have seriously reduced or scrapped staff Christmas bonuses. According to UK firm Workplace Savings and Benefits, “only 30% of employees received a Christmas reward in 2012.”

So Christmas parties are more important than ever, particularly for making staff feel that they are appreciated. The Canadian paper, Kamloops Daily News, states that; “A survey by GloboForce indicates 78 per cent of employees feel that being recognized motivates them on the job, and 70 per cent said they would work harder if they were recognized.” A statistic that employers should take note of when deciding whether or not to throw an office party!

Share the cost

This is a concept that started with smaller companies that didn’t have the budget to incur all the costs associated with organising a private corporate Christmas party. The trend has grown further, with many firms now opting for a ‘joint holiday party’ to share the cost, as well as add to the dynamics of the event.

Shared office parties have the added bonus that more lavish options and themes can be provided because the costs are split between those businesses that are attending. This has led to an enormous array of Christmas party themes for events; masquerade balls, murder mystery, casino nights and more!

Christmas Party Trends for 2013

So what are the big Christmas party trends for 2013? Well, it will come as no great surprise to Event Planners that the 1920s has been huge this year – what with the release of the Great Gatsby – and it’s no exception for office Holiday party themes.

It helps that The Great Gatsby/1920s is a great theme, thanks to the lovely vintage outfits, stunning art deco props, lavish food and abundance of hugely talented 1920s themed entertainers and shows. The 1920s tops the list for the most requested event theme for Christmas corporate events in 2013 (by a massive majority!), followed by the traditional Winter Wonderland theme, Bavarian and Parisian themes.

In Conclusion

2013 is definitely a good year for the corporate Christmas party. The majority of companies are now opting to host an office holiday party, although there has been a marked increase in the number of festive events booked last minute.

The importance of corporate Christmas parties hasn’t diminished as bosses look to recognise the hard work of staff and reward loyal customers, and the trend for shared Christmas parties is growing as it gives companies the option to spread the cost and host a more lavish affair.

Those organisers still looking to book a corporate Christmas party had better hurry up, as this is the busiest party season for venues, caterers and entertainment. Although those looking for inspiration for their party theme will be pleased to know that The Great Gatsby has dominated this year’s corporate Christmas event scene.

Whatever your office holiday party or Christmas corporate celebration, have fun, and have a great 2014!

This is a guest post by Amy Capron, media manager for Scarlett Entertainment, the destination entertainment specialists. Amy is passionate about events and you can keep up to date on the latest event and entertainment trends by following her on twitter.

About The Author
Guest Author
This post is by a Guest Author. If you want to become an author for Event Manager Blog, you can submit your guest post here
Comment Policy Comments
  • Amina Van den Abeele

    Interesting article! I had no idea that so many people feel motivated by being recognized for their hard work through an incentive. Seems that they are still very important for companies. I had already noticed the Great Gatsby trend, even here in Belgium there are Great Gatsby theme parties. I had never heard about the trend shared Christmas parties before.
    So thanks for sharing

  • Camille Carnewal

    First of all thank you for sharing your input on this theme. I am a big
    fan of the christmas spirit so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that
    hosting a christmas party contribues to the satisfaction among
    employees. It is indeed the perfect occasion to show your gratitude to
    your staff. I do get the companies that postpone the decision of hosting
    a christmas party, if you want to do it in a good way it is a huge cut
    in your budget. That’s why the idea of hosting it in corporation with
    another company is a good initiative. It offers more possibilities and
    who knows maybe you can get some deals out of it along the way…

  • Marijn De Kock

    Great article! Thanks for sharing the original ideas, the cost sharing concept is new to me. I had a Winter Wonderland themed event a month ago and I have to say that all the reactions were above my expectations. The fact that there are indeed plenty of subcontractors such as actors, singers and entertainers that can provide great value to these events also helps of course.

  • Eline Bogaert

    Thanks for this great article! And I also think that it is very
    important that you keep motivate your staff and that you recognise their
    hard work by throwing a party! In that way the staff will be more
    appriciated and are more motivated to work for the company. I already
    heard from the “Great Gatsby trend”, but I didn’t know that is was
    requested for an event theme for christmas.Thanks for sharing this article!

  • Jef Depret

    This was really an interesting article! Since I’m still a student I didn’t know that christmas parties were so important in the companies.
    But it all makes sense though: keeping your employees satisfied can only benefit your company in a good way. The ‘joint holiday party’ is something that is entirely new for me but it I like the idea to share the costs, especially for smaller companies!



  • Damien De Bruycker

    Good article! I read some things in here I didn’t know about. The shared holiday parties for example, I had no idea those were going on. I can see the value of it though, certainly from a financial and a networking point-of-view. The motivating aspect is indeed important, those numbers from the survey by GloboForce are impressive. I’m glad I’m still a student though, and don’t need to go to a company Christmas party, I really, really hated The Great Gatsby.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Stephanie Pillaert

    Indeed, it’s still very important to motivate your employees. Maybe you can see it as a big cost, but finally it gives you something in return. Your employees will work harder if they feel respected. I don’t really believe in the cost sharing concept.

    It is an advantage for the company, but I don’t think that the employees are happy with this. The purpose of giving a Christmas party is to make them feel special, if there are to many people that they don’t know, they feel less comfortable.

    Thank you for this interesting article.

Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

Plan awesome events & boost your career

How often should I update you?

Join over 60,000 subscribers that use EventMB to stay on top of How to's, Trends & Event Technology.