Congratulations! You’ve been chosen as the planner for this year’s office Christmas party. Well, either that or you nominated yourself – very commendable. Either way, you might be wondering where to start with the party planning, but don’t fear. We have you covered.
From finding a date and venue, to finding appropriate Christmas party activities ideas in Manchester, there's a fair bit to think about. CitySuites can help take the pressure off if you choose to host your Christmas party with us. We have a range of spaces, from our stylish Private Dining Room which can fit groups of up to 12 people, to our entire Embankment Kitchen restaurant if you're planning a big do. Drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to know more.
Read on for our top 9 tips for planning the best office Christmas party in Manchester this year!
1. Find a date
Your first hurdle in planning the office Christmas party will be finding a date that everyone can do. Many people’s social calendars get filled up in November and December, so sending out something like a Doodle calendar early on is the best way to capture everyone's availability.
The end of the week is always favourable when choosing a date for your work Christmas party, but don’t be scared by a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday celebration. There are many reasons why these days could work better for you and your team. For example, fewer commitments on these days means more people can attend. Venues and entertainment might also be cheaper on these days, which is great if you have a modest budget to stick to.
If you’re concerned about going into the office a bit worse for wear the following day, allowing everyone to work from home, if possible, gives the opportunity for more sleep and easy access to home comforts. Plus it spreads a little more of that festive cheer for your colleagues.
2. Plan in advance
Once you’ve got your date, it’s time to start planning the most memorable of Christmas parties. Luckily, Manchester is full of weird, wonderful and fun activities for you and your colleagues to get stuck into!
Start thinking and researching about what everyone would like to do. If you’re a small team with common interests, this will be much easier. But if you are a larger team with a mix of personalities and hobbies, it could be a bit tricky. If not everyone enjoys a night on the town, maybe come up with an activity to start, followed by a meal and drinks, so that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Fun Christmas party activities in Manchester include:
- Breakout Manchester Escape Room
- The Cube Live
- Chill Factore - The UK's longest indoor ski slope
- Roxy Ballroom
- A walking tour of Manchester
- Whistlepunks axe throwing
- Flight Club darts
You could even hire out a venue like Embankment Kitchen and bring in your own entertainment. More on that below…
3. Set the theme
We’re not talking about you and your colleagues dressing up and re-enacting the Nativity here, but it might be good to give everyone an idea about the dress code for the festivities.
If you’re going straight from work, perhaps a bit of tinsel and some reindeer antlers will do. Or maybe you’re a cheesy Christmas jumper gang (nothing wrong with this by the way – your festive knitwear will appreciate its annual outing. If you have an activity planned, definitely factor this in to your outfits!
But maybe you do want to go all out and set a Proper Theme for your Christmas party, e.g. getting everyone in black tie and sparkles, ready to shimmer through Manchester city centre like the Blackpool Illuminations.
Whatever you choose, keep everyone in the loop so they can prepare their get-up!
4. Visit the venue
If you’re thinking about hiring out a space in Manchester for your Christmas party, it would be a good idea to go and visit to ensure you’re happy with how it looks. It will also give you the opportunity to get a feel for the actual size of the space and if you can bring your own entertainment and decorations.
At CitySuites, we're happy to give you a tour of all our various event spaces, as well as answer any questions you might have. For example, our Embankment Kitchen restaurant can accommodate up to 80 people and there is a dancefloor area and space for a DJ and more. Please get in touch with any questions and if you would like to be shown around.
5. Festive food
No matter what you plan for your Christmas work do in Manchester, the main event will almost certainly be the food. Ask your colleagues if they have any dietary requirements so you can plan accordingly. If you want to eat out in the city, a little bit of research will enable you to see if your selected restaurant can accommodate your group. Luckily, many bars and restaurants cater for all food requirements these days, including gluten free options and delicious vegetarian and vegan meals.
At Embankment Kitchen, our Christmas party food options include a buffet, canapes, or a sit-down meal for our 2022 three-course Festive Menu. We can cater to all dietary requirements, including gluten free and plant-based options – please let us know if you have any questions about this.
6. Something to drink?
Possibly even more important than food for your Christmas party are the drinks. Whether you’re hiring out a space with a bar, or going somewhere in town, you’ll want to ensure there is a good mix of drinks for everyone. Beers, wines and spirits are standard almost everywhere, but maybe you’re looking for something a bit special for 2022? There are lots of great cocktail bars in Spinningfields and the Northern Quarter, or if everyone is partial to pints, Manchester’s vibrant craft beer scene is what you should check out.
We have a huge range of drink options at Embankment Kitchen, from craft beers, to wine and fizz, to festive cocktails. We can also offer a voucher system for an ‘open bar’, giving you and your colleagues more flexibility when ordering your drinks.
7. Get your dancing shoes on
No Christmas party is complete without a bit of music and dancing. Some venues come with their own DJ, while others have space for you to hire your own. If you’re on a restricted budget, you might want to become the DJ for the night by curating your very own festive playlist (or you could just select one of Spotify's premade playlists if you don’t want to have your musical tastes potentially judged very harshly by your colleagues). Just check the venue has a sound system that you can plug into!
8. Teambuilding… but make it fun
Many people shudder at the words “team building”, but not all team building activities are made equally, and there are ways to make the forced fun… actually fun. Besides, these kinds of activities get you interacting with colleagues who you might not speak to on a daily basis, so really they are a good way to build rapport and bring you closer to your team as a whole. And isn’t that the whole point of a work Christmas party?
So put away the newspaper – no one is building a structurally sound tower today.
Here are some ideas of fun and definitely NOT cringeworthy team building activities:
Storytime. Get your colleagues to submit a funny office-related story (something that they don’t mind being shared with the team) only to you. On the night, you can put your colleagues in teams and then list off the stories that have been submitted. Your colleagues then have to guess which story belongs to who!
Hygenic beer pong. Get the beer pong table and cups set up as normal, but fill the cups with water. Get into two teams, and whenever the ball lands in the cup, remove it from the table but take a sip of your own drink. In the end, everyone wins because not only are you not sharing germs in the following rounds, you don’t have to down several large measures of cheap lager.
Do the Dundies. Go full Michael Scott and create a list of “awards” like The Dundies where your colleagues can anonymously vote on who they think most deserves that award. Yes, this one might be a little cringe, but is bound to provide a few laughs (and a bit of friendly competition).
9. Something extra
So with the plans laid for what is sure to be the best office Christmas party of 2022, maybe you need just one more thing to make your festivities truly memorable.
Take your work Christmas party to another level with these ideas:
- Secret Santa. Tis the season to… give a funny £5 or £10 gift to a colleague you barely know?
- Floating Caricaturist. Have an artist go round and draw lovely portraits of your colleagues.
- Photobooth – with props. Silly dress-up fun + good lighting = Instagram heaven.
- Karaoke. You might be surprised at how well Janet from accounts can blast out a ballad.