Work Smarter 5 Fun Alternative Themes for Your Office Christmas Party

Another year over, another office Christmas function to organise. You dust off last year’s decorations, book the room, and you’re just about to call the caterer to order the same platters of finger sandwiches and sausage rolls you order every year … when you get a brainwave: why not do something a bit different for the team this year? An important step in making your Christmas party ideas a success is planning out exciting activities that will keep your guests entertained throughout the night.

The office Christmas party is a way to thank staff for their awesome work throughout the year. You’re trying to make the whole team feel appreciated, and have a bit of fun at the same time. So put away the cringe-worthy banners and mini-trees, and try one of these new Christmas party ideas.

Party themes are one thing – PLANNING the event is another! So make sure you follow our tips at the end for stress-free Christmas party planning AND get access to an awesome promo!

1. The Amazing Race Party

Inspired by the TV show, The Amazing Race is a Christmas party and team-building exercise rolled into one. Organise a scavenger hunt to different locations in your area – it’s great if you can rope clients and other stakeholders into hosting some of the stops. You can also throw some “roadblock” challenges in there; where participants aren’t allowed to move to the next stage until they’ve completed a specific task, such as achieving some sort of physical feat or eating something disgusting.

It’s good to get teams to collect a flag or stamp or some kind of object at each stop, or take a photograph of a specific scene – that way you can ensure they’ve actually been to every pit stop.

The last pitstop should be back at the party room, where a feast and some refreshing drinks await the weary travellers.

2. The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

You know those horrid Christmas sweaters, featuring a felt Santa with a fluffy wool beard and reindeer with silver stitching around their antlers? I’m talking about the sweaters in horrible shades of green and brown and purple – the ones your Grandma buys you every year and you throw into the darkest depths of your closet as soon as Christmas is over. Well, dig out those beastly sweaters, because this year’s Christmas party theme is “embrace the ugliness.”

Everyone is instructed to find a Christmas sweater to wear to the party. Anyone who doesn’t show up with a sweater will be given one of the spare sweaters you have on hand, and a pair of reindeer ears or some other kind of embarrassing prop for good measure. Decorate the room with bright and fun decorations and offer a reward for the most impressive sweater.

Games: You Lie – Every person thinks up two facts about themselves, and one lie. You each take a turn to say your three statements out loud, and everyone tries to figure out what’s true and what is a lie. A great way to get to know your co-workers better and have a few laughs in the process.

3. A Christmas Masquerade Ball

If your office is on the casual side, why not encourage everyone to come dressed to the nines for a masquerade ball? In the invite you could perhaps explain the history of masquerade balls and link to some tutorials on mask-making to get everyone thinking of ideas for their own.

For decorations, think harlequin patterns, theatre masks and anything decadent – a wintery wonderland theme could also work perfectly. Serve finger foods and funky cocktails, and keep the music pumping all night.

For those who haven’t come with a mask, or who want to give theirs a little extra pizzazz, set up a mask-making station with coloured card, string, felt pens, feathers, glitter and other decorations. In one corner of the room, create a photo booth area with a curtain backdrop and a box of props; mustaches, fairy wands, santa hats, feather boas and funny signs.

Masquerade balls are made for dancing, so be careful to choose a fantastic band who will get everyone up and on the floor. A prize for best-dressed and best-dancers is a must.

Games: Who Am I – A great icebreaker for a party when everyone’s in costume. Write the names of famous people on post-it notes. Stick one note on each person’s forehead. Everyone else can see the name on the note, except for the person who has it on their forehead. Guests then move around the room, and they’re only allowed to ask yes/no questions of their colleagues, in order to figure out who they are.

A variation of this game is “couples who am I” where you write down names of famous couples (“Romeo/Juliet” or “Cleopatra/Marc Antony”) and stick these on everyone’s foreheads. Guests then have to go around the room and try to find their partners.

4. Nightmare Before Christmas Party

If you didn’t already know, I’m a bit of a goth. So Nightmare Before Christmas is definitely my favourite theme from this list. Give your Christmas party a Tim Burton flair and make use of all those leftover decorations from Halloween. Dress up the room with black and white tinsel, skulls and skeletons in santa hats, and decorate balloons to look like the iconic Jack Skellington.

Fill the playlist with songs from Tim Burton’s films, along with Halloween classics like ‘The Monster Mash’ and ‘Superstitious’ (a great way to banish the cheesy Christmas carols for the evening!) Food should be of the authentic English variety: roast meats, mini-Yorkshire puds, bangers and mash, custard … all the classic comfort foods.

Games: Buy a bunch of inexpensive Christmas baubles, glitter pens, paints, ribbons and other crafts, and get guests to decorate their own baubles. They could do a Nightmare Before Christmas theme, or whatever their heart desires. You could use the baubles to decorate the office tree, and then everyone could take theirs home for their own tree.

5. Winter Wonderland Christmas Party

Even for those of us who grew up in the Southern Hemisphere, there’s something magical about a white Christmas – where the whole world is covered in snow, and there is ice skating and hot chocolate and bright scarves and hats. Embrace the season with a Winter Wonderland theme. Decorate your party space to look like a wintery palace, with white draping, fairy lights, ice sculptures, glittering snowflakes, and cuddly polar bears.

For drinks, serve an icy vodka cocktail and some delicious, warming mulled wine. Food should be warm and funky – crudites, savory bites, coconut balls, baked Alaska and panna cotta.

A Winter Wonderland could be a particularly interesting theme if, like me, you live in the Southern Hemisphere and Christmas occurs over the height of summer. Have everyone dress in their winter best – scarves and hats and gloves essential. You could include a trip to an indoor ski slope or ice skating rink to amp up the wintery factor. Know more about Christmas party catering.

Games: Do you mean aside from a snowman-making competition and ice skating at your favorite local outdoor rink? Nothing will thaw out this crowd like a live band to dance the night away.

Another great idea is to add some casino tables, like roulette, poker, craps, and blackjack. Pit different departments against each other and offer drink tokens and other fun prizes.