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Christmas Entertaining
The office party - The party you didn't plan on -

Over the past few years one of the most e-mail I receive is, "I'm having a party, how do I...?"
Well here are some ideas to help you with yours.

<>The party you didn't plan on, other wise known as, "The OH My God how did I get into this?" party.
This can be one that makes you pull your hair out. As a rule it happens one of two ways: It was suppose to be done by several people, but you ended up with it in your lap, OR your or your spouse's mocking bird mouth overload your humming bird rear. Either way this is where you are handling the entire thing for 30 or more people, on a budget for 10.

Don't worry no matter how you ended up with it, you can do it. 
The game plan - Sitting down and writing out everything is super important.
  • First you need to determine approximately how many people and the age range of the guests.
  • Second is location of the party.
  • Next is what time. Remembering if young children will be attending, it should be early in the day, or you will need to have a nap area.
  • Now look at your budget. The odds are you need to do it as cheap as possible, but look like you spent a fortune.
Now you have the who, where, when and how much, all you have to do is pull it off. Just check out tips on this page, for the type of party it looks like you will host.

The office party - in the office

    The theme - Most of the time we call it a "Christmas Party". However not all people celebrate Christmas, some Christian groups simply don't formally celebrate, and other religions have other holidays that are also celebrated in December. An easy way around this if your office has people of different beliefs is to have a "Holiday Party" or "December Get Together". While it may sound trivial to many folks, it will mean a lot to the few that could be left out otherwise.

    The food - If you are lucky the company will pay for everything. However since many don't, and you wish to have a meal, the common rule is the company pays the meat and set-up, and employees do a "pot-luck". If the company refused pitch in, have several folks pull together for the expense of the meat. At the risk of sounding a little bias, men are great at pitching in a few bucks for this, since the as a rule don't bake. However on the other hand the few men that I have met over the years that do cook and bake, can out do most women. So pick your targets well.

    Suggestions for food - If you have an area where people can sit together, a nice spiral cut ham or roasted turkey is nice with traditional side dishes are nice. However is sitting space is limited, sliced meats will do better, and easy to handle side dishes are better.

    If a meal is too much - heavy odervers done in "pot luck" can be fun. Or if your office likes sweets, have everyone bring homemade cookies, candies, or snack mixes with copies of the recipe.

    Little things to keep in mind, while Christians eat pork (ham), other religions don't. If you don't know for sure the preferences of your co-workers, stick with turkey or offer both.

    The entertainment - While eating is the "Big Thing", you also need to keep everyone busy. Here are a couple of fun things to keep everyone entertained.

    Copy down the 12 verses of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" either the traditional or one of the humor versions on to little pieces of paper. Have 12 people draw a piece of paper. Now line them up in order in front of every one and have them sing it. With each one having to sing their verse.

    Fill a large jar with assorted hard Christmas candies, have each person write down, how many pieces they think are in the jar. The closest one wins the jar, the one the furthest away get to be on the clean up committee. ;-)

    Christmas Trivia - Works well with smaller offices, break-up into teams, the team with the most correct answers wins the prize.

    Christmas Past - Several days before the party, have everyone write a short version of the most embarrassing Christmas situation they have ever been in. (they don't sign their names). To keep from embarrassing any one, type or re-write any hand written ones. At the party pass one out to each person, and have them read it.

    Entertainment with a purpose - Wrapping gifts for shelters, Toy's for Tots, and such. Many groups recruit donations for kids, but these items still have to be wrapped. Several weeks before the party contact one of the major organizations in your area, offer to help by wrapping. While wrapping at home and often times be regarded as a "Christmas chore" when you have a group it becomes very entraining. Each person having a unique talent.

    Another one can be funny and serve a purpose is assembling toys for kids. One of my favorites is Barbie Cars, one person can do one in about 15 to 30 minutes (depending on model and experience of person), but 2 people will take at least 30 minutes. ;-)

    The gifts - Most places simply draw names, and set a price limit. However there are some other ways of doing it!

    Each person brings a wrapped gift that is correct for their gender. At the party everyone writes their name on two small pieces of paper. A name is drawn from the "pot" this person may pick any gift they wish, and unwraps it for all to see. Then a second name is drawn, this person my choose any remaining gift and unwrap it or the gift the first person drew. If the pick the first person's gift, that person chooses a different gift, and unwraps it. Now the third name is drawn, this person may choose any gift left, or any gift that has been opened. Again if a person looses their gift because someone else wants it, they get to pick another one (either wrapped or unwrapped). This continues until all the pieces of paper have been drawn.

    Set a theme - Not only do gifts have to be under a price limit, they must fit other guide lines. Depending on personalities and imagination of your co-workers this can be fun.
    Examples: Everything must be "red"
    Must fit into a 6" by 6" box.
    Must start with the letter "C" like in Christmas

    All the little but important stuff - Everyone likes a party, no one likes to clean up after one.

    • Make sure you have plenty of empty trash cans with liners around.

    • A roll of paper towels and some spray cleaner close by is great for those little spills.

    • If people in your office wear suits that must be dried cleaned, a small can of lighter fluid is hand, for those little food morsels that land on the suit.

    • Use good quality paper plates or Styrofoam plates, the cheap flimsy ones will cause more grief than the few cents saved.

    • Buy disposable glasses and/or styrofoam cups, double check to make sure they have a good size base on them. The ones with small base may look nice, but are easily knocked over.

    • If your office is "Smoke Free" and you have smokers, be sure to have a little break time between activities for them to run out and have a smoke.

    • If your office has a janitor, have a little gift for them. After all they are the ones that clean up after you all year, and with the party will have even more to do.

    • Make sure everyone gets a souvenir. Anyone who didn't win a prize should have a token prize. These can be anything from a Christmas tree decoration, to a box of chocolate covered cherries.

    • If liquor was served, don't let anyone drive that has been drinking. Good think ahead measures, first you can avoid the whole thing by not serving liquor. However many cultures appear to almost require either wine, or egg nog (with some nog). If liquor is to be served, you may wish to use some designated drivers, or pre arrangement with the local cab service. A nice touch is if the person can't drive home, make arrangements for them to be able to get back the next day for their car!! If the person is single it can be a real headache, either a co-worker can volunteer to take them back, or a cab voucher is nice.

The home party - Adults only
The home party can be anything from a casual get togather to a formal sit down dinner.

The classroom party

The home party - mixed ages