How to Have a Successful Last-Minute Holiday Party

The holidays sneak up on all of us and sometimes that includes planning a holiday party.  If you have NOT done this yet, but you plan to, you’ve got days left!  Here are some tips on planning last-minute and doing it well.

1. Be Flexible.  You are waiting til literally the last minute to plan so realize that most of the venues will be taken.  If you are going to do this outside of the office (or not at home if it is not a work party) then you’ll have to take what you can get and realize that you’re going to have to get creative with whatever venue you find, if it’s not your ideal winter wonderland space.  Essentially, the idea here is beggers can’t be choosy.

2. Know your budget and be prepared to spend more.  At this point, many openings may be from a last-minute cancellation, but if you have a tight budget at a time of year when venues already cost more, you may want to think about where you’re going and consider catering.  Based on supply and demand, in the events industry the term “Christmas Minimums” and “Holiday Pricing” reign supreme right now.  Be very aware of how much you have to spend because that will help you decide how to plan what you are doing.  If this isn’t an option you just may want to have your party in January because it’s always cheaper and venues are thrilled to have business in January.

3. Keep the party smaller.  If you are looking for space, the more people you have the harder it is to find space and the more it costs.  If you’re wondering if you should cut the list down, chances are you should.  Trying to find space for more than 50 people on a prime date within the next week or so will be tough.  20 or less may even be the way to go.  If you’re trying to plan for 100 or more, you may want to keep it in-house.

4. Decorate!  Wherever the party is be sure to get some decorations.  If you’re going to a venue, work with them to see what they provide and what they will allow you to bring.  Candles are always a nice touch along with wreaths, garland and other decor.

5. Review the year.  Handing out awards, doing raffles, commenting on the good things that happened last year, playing jokes on the boss and even incorporating a food or toy drive are great ways to engage your guests in a fun way.  But I warn you, if you do a slide show that’s over 5 minutes you’re THAT holiday planner.  People don’t like long slide shows, even if you did just get a new mac with really cool software.  I hate to break it to you but it’s a buzz kill.


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