OK……..So you’ve been tasked with organising this years’ Company Christmas Party and you’ve been instructed to ensure it’s a really great experience for all that attend and to have some great entertainment, but……..you’ve no idea where to start?
We’ve seen this scenario many times, so we’ve listed some tips which will help you plan for the perfect entertainment for your specific audience and style of event.
Firstly and most importantly, you need to consider your audience mix…consider male / female ratio, age of your guests and the general culture of your company. Also, consider the amount of ‘free’ alcohol you are giving away as this will greatly affect the style of entertainment you choose. The more drink involved, the less structured entertainment you need.
Next, consider a simple format for your Party Event! So there are usually three parts to the Company Christmas Party:
The Pre Dinner Reception – Most sober section of the party and where the excitement is at its highest.
The Dinner – People will be hungry so don’t leave them hanging on too long. Make food the main focus here.
The After Dinner Party – Most guests would have had time to have a few drinks by now and lose their inhibitions slightly and are more likely to get more involved with interactive entertainment, but avoid too much structure here. Keep things informal and by choice.
There are different kinds of entertainments available to suit each part of the party, so let’s start with The Pre Dinner Reception:
From our experience, this type of reception tends to be anything from 30 minutes to an hour and serves the general purpose of ensuring everyone has arrived before being called for dinner. However, for the first person there an hour can be a long while to wait and by providing some intriguing entertainment here, it will encourage those usual ‘late runners’ to make the effort to arrive in time and join in.
Perfect Entertainment for Pre Dinner Receptions:
- Cocktail Making / Cocktail Show – Can be informal or structured with your guests learning how to make the very best cocktails in a fun environment; can see some ‘cocktail flaring’ and get to try their very own cocktail as a pre-dinner drink.
- Interactive Game – Before your guests get over indulged into the free alcohol available this would be a perfect time if you wanted to organise something short, interactive and structured. Ideas include a Christmas Pop Quiz or Live Christmas Present Bingo! This creates a more exciting atmosphere for the start of the night and with the guests having the chance to win some great prizes it encourages them to arrive on time, as if they don’t, they may miss out on a top prize!
- Photo Backdrop – There are so many options for photos now, with photo-booths, selfie mirrors and green screens with professional photographers. This means that a memorable photo should never be boring again. The party organizers usually get the opportunity to have a download of all the photos for the company and the guests have a link to download their own personal shots too.
- Professional Speaker – Slightly more formal entertainment, but can work well for small groups with a common interest if you have a celebrity from that world. It could be science; it could be business, marketing, sports, motivation or whatever the common interest is. These presentations do not have to be long-winded either, many corporate speakers keep their presentations upbeat and humorous for such an audience.
- Celebrity Meet and Greet – This more expensive option can incentivise your guests to arrive on time to have the opportunity to have a personal photo with a famous celebrity which again may be linked to the culture of the company. This celebrity may also perform a short brief to officially welcome everyone to your special Christmas event.
- Roaming Artists – (magicians, caricaturists, fortune tellers, mind readers, pickpockets and more) This form of entertainment for a pre-dinner reception has stood the test of time and works as well today as it ever has. The key benefit is that you can get some great entertainment which works cost effectively too. For example, there is a new era of close up magicians thanks to the likes of Derren Brown, David Blake and Dynamo….these guys have made the close-up magic world become more ‘CRAZY WOW’. These artists will normally stay on site for approx. 3 – 4 hours and perform throughout with short breaks.
- Background Music – This is soooooooo important, especially for when your first guests arrive. It will create a buzzing atmosphere, but strangely can be forgotten or assumed it will just be there…definitely worth popping this onto your entertainment checklist!
Entertainment with Dinner:
So the main focus here has to be the food as it’s likely that your guests will be really hungry as these events tend to serve food later than you would usually eat at home! However, the festive atmosphere can fall a little flat unless there is some subtle entertainment set in the background. This entertainment should not overpower the culinary delights or the opportunity to chat with colleagues and friends at the table but should be there to ensure the atmosphere feels lively and create fun talking points.
- Live background music – with the right performer your event can not only provide live music but also add a physical element. Options include, themed bands, acoustic, singers with backing tracks, tribute acts, there’s pretty much an act for every genre.
- Roaming entertainers – These guys offer great value for money as they will often entertain during your drinks reception as well through dinner. They can approach tables in between the dinner’s courses and perform for the guests creating a talking point and something a little different.
- Live Cabaret Show – A live cabaret can be one of the best ways to entertain a large group throughout the celebration meal. Ideally, the performances would take place at the start, and in between the courses of the meal allowing time for food to digest before the next course and finishing with a grand finale whilst coffee and treats are served by the venue. These cabarets can include dance, exciting stunts, circus acts, singing, comedy or magic to name but a few.
The After Dinner Party:
So at this stage of the night, the average party-goer has consumed something like 2 pre-dinner drinks and half a bottle of wine or so, and could now be losing their inhibitions slightly. This is the time to avoid anything too structured, like a quiz or game show which needs constant attention for the audience, this type of entertainment just doesn’t work at this stage of the party (believe us….we’ve tried!). Instead, we recommend you go for general entertainment which can easily be combined with each other and where people can choose when they wish to take part.
- Fun Awards Ceremony – This can mean something very personal to your guests and if done well can generate a great atmosphere, with everyone cheering on their colleagues. It’s a great morale builder and an opportunity to recognise people in front of a larger crowd. This can be hosted by a celebrity for that extra wow factor too. Keep it short though…no longer than 30 minutes tops.
- Fun Casino – Another fun entertainment that has stood the test of time. Casino tables are globally recognised so is a great option if you have a party of mixed origins. Fun casinos cannot deal with any cash involved so usually a prize is given for the person who wins the most playing chips by the end of the night. The beauty of this entertainment is that it combines well with a disco and your guests can play as and when they choose too.
- Disco – This has to be the ‘HUB’ entertainment for any Christmas celebration, a good DJ will ensure your party is in full swing till the wee hours. Our recommendation is that any other entertainment closes about 1 hour before the disco as this is when most people are at the most likely to have a boogie.
- Live Party Band – Similar to the DJ or can work in conjunction with a DJ a live band can interact well with a party audience. You’ll need extra space in the room to house the band and ideally with staging to raise them above the dancefloor for best effect.
- Side Stalls – Fun side stalls can offer something for the ‘non-dancers’ and range from favourites like a coconut shy to hoopla to darts challenge and more. Usually, small prizes will be awarded to the winners.
- Amusements and Games – These games can take people back to their youth and dependent on space a full amusement arcade can be created. Games such as Air Hockey, Upright Arcade Classics like Pac Man and Street Fighter go down well along with other classics such as pinball machines and pool tables.
Keep along these lines and you’ll have your best company party yet, but should you have little time to organise such entertainment or would like some assistance please feel free to chat to us here or contact our expert team on 01793 887 632 or send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more entertainment tips check out this blog Corporate Entertainment Tips – 5 Things That Can Catch You out!