Planning Employee Christmas Parties

The season to be jolly is almost upon us, so it is time to discuss the question of the staff Christmas party. There are pros and cons to throwing a celebratory holiday bash, and many aspects to consider before you begin planning. 

No matter how much you respect your employees, unfortunately, there is an influx of harassment claims during Christmas, specifically after these events. For this reason, it is crucial to put in place robust measurements needed to ensure a safe environment for all to enjoy the Christmas festivities. 


Of course, throwing your staff a Christmas party offers plenty of positive benefits, showing your thanks for their year of hard work and highlighting their input to your business. Celebrating your staff and the festive period helps to build team morale and showcase the last year’s successes. Consider putting an awards section of the evening to present a tangible display of this. 

The opportunity for your employees to socialise with their management teams is an excellent chance for them to build their relationships outside of the workplace further; this can foster greater trust and empathy between the two, making for more positive workplace relationships in the long term. 

Providing these events for your staff can result in heightened engagement, motivation and retention, making it an effective cost-saving strategy for your business’s future and a perfect opportunity to build your company brand for prospective employees. Make sure you make the event visible on your social media platforms to make the most of promoting your employee benefits. 

Things to consider

Ensure you have the correct insurance policies in place

If you are considering holding your Christmas party onsite, ensure your company insurance policies are in place and up to date. In the unlikely event of an incident onsite, you want to avoid finding that your insurance policy does not cover this type of event. 

Set clear rules of engagement

Reiterate what your employees can expect on the night and set expectations of their behaviour. You can consider sending a reminder of business HR policies regarding –

  • Code of conduct
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination

It should also be highlighted that any staff members working the next day are expected to be in the office promptly and in a suitable condition to carry out their duties. 

Involve your employees

Discuss the event with your employees and find out how and when they would like to celebrate. Some may want to keep a Friday or Saturday night to what they consider a work event, and some may prefer a meal on a weeknight or other perks such as a late start or early finish. Planning a party, your employees don’t want to attend will not result in the desired outcome of heightened morale and a content workforce. 

Nominate management staff to be designated non-drinkers

Making sure there are members of your senior team who can intercede should they see staff members becoming overly intoxicated can help to ensure situations get out of hand. Those exhibiting poor behaviour or decision-making should be escorted to a safe place with a reliable mode of transport home. 

Limit alcohol options

Be considerate of what alcohol is on offer during the celebrations. The aim is not to dampen their Christmas spirit, but whilst most should be aware of their limits, putting a contingency in place can help to limit avoidable negative interactions. Consider speaking with the bar staff to ensure they refuse service to those who are overly intoxicated. You could also restrict available beverages to wine and beer to avoid mixing drinks too heavily. 

Make a seating plan 

Employees will be tempted to stay in their teams and socialise in predetermined social groups. Ensure to put together a considered seating plan to encourage staff to mingle with others. Sitting at a table of members from mixed teams will promote inter-department socialising.

Set an example

It can be tempting to let your hair down at the work Christmas party, and after all, earlier, we mentioned how great it is to build rapport with your staff members! However, remember to show caution and be an example of how your employees should behave. Make sure to know when the party is over and keep it from running past its ending time, even if everyone is having a good time. This will limit the chances of unwanted incidents happening.

Provide transportation

Make sure your staff have a safe mode of transport for their journey home; putting on a minibus or highlighting other transportation methods could be wise; this will help avoid any drunk-driving incidents. Employees should be reminded of their responsibilities before the event, but providing transport will eliminate concerns, especially if the event space is out of the area. As an employer, you have a duty of care to your staff under the health and safety act, and you can be held liable for their safety should an incident occur, so be mindful of this. 

Be Mindful of Dietary Restrictions

If you provide food during your event, ensure a range of menu options are available to cater to specific dietary requirements or preferences. Some diets are temporary and serve a purpose, perhaps due to medical conditions, while others will be lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism, veganism or religious decisions. Before arranging food, you could provide a survey to ensure you cover all bases. 


If you are awarding prizes, it is vital to ensure they are appropriate to the recipients. For example, providing alcohol or chocolates as a prize could mean that the recipient cannot reap the rewards if they are non-drinkers or have allergies that limit what they can eat. Investigate ahead of time what sorts of prizes would best suit the individual to avoid disappointment.  

If you require any further assistance regarding HR for your work Christmas party, please contact us as soon as possible.