The most stressful thing about Christmas? Planning the staff party. - Factor 3

The most stressful thing about Christmas? Planning the staff party.

Planning a Christmas party for 18 of my nearest and dearest staff, is a difficult brief to crack – there are those who HATE fancy dress and want to wear beautiful dresses and party frocks (those digital boys are so traditional). Then there are those who pester to know what the theme will be this year so they can start planning their fancy dress outfits.

Location.

When there are just 18 of you, you can either join a party or try and hire a smaller venue which will keep you all contained and entertained all evening. We’ve done the join a party thing. It was fun. But I’m not sure that the adjacent tables really enjoyed it and our antics quite as much as we did. Plus when presented with multiple bars, a casino, dance floor and dodgems, we do tend to starburst and the evening can pass without the staff spending any time with each other, instead bothering all the other people around us.

Food. Easy? No.

Again, there are some who are looking for the full traditional Christmas dinner and all the trimmings. Others, who are already sick of the sight of turkey and the anaemic pastry topping on a mince pie, want something different.

Music.

The ages of Factor 3’s minions spans four decades, with penchants for pop (contemporary), dance (hard house), soft rock (I mean, really) and anything that would appear on a Mills and Boon compilation album. So the music is always a tricky one. Previously I’ve asked everyone to let me have their favourite tracks or favourite Christmas songs, thinking this to be the most democratic approach. And it works at the beginning of the night, but by the end, an endless stream of people queue up to cut short the previous choice and play their own favourites. Believe me, it can get pretty ugly.

Entertainment.

While we’re probably just that bit too old for balloon modelling or bouncy castles, finding something that will bring everyone together can be difficult. Some (mainly the competitive) love a good quiz or party game; others would rather poke their eyes out with a sprig of holly.

Alcohol.

Now that is the easy bit. Beer and wine. Shots and shorts. Prosecco and cocktails. As long as at least two of these are available, everyone is happy (or should that be merry).

This year we think we’ve hit on the perfect solution.

The theme is ‘Movie titles’, so if you want to dig out that LBD, you can come as ‘The Woman In Black’, or if you fancy going for it, ‘Edward Scissorhands’. This theme has even removed the traditional secret Santa stress by asking everyone to buy their present based on the recipient’s favourite movie. So even if you know nothing about Nick our Client Services Director, at least you’ll know his favourite film is Bambi and you can buy him something deer-related (venison cutlet?).

We’re holding it again at Pepper Crescent – not only are they very tolerant (!), they’re also amazing and fun hosts and have put together a great menu based on movie titles, (I’m very much looking forward to my Children of the Corn starter!), with a few festive ingredients and they’re even entering into the spirit of the night with their own costumes. To keep the wheels oiled they’ve also created some film-related cocktails, which are sure to start the evening off well.

There will be a couple of games of course, but we’re keeping it simple and silly. And lastly, the music – it’ll be movie themes and I shall be hiding the iPod.

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