A contribution to another Irish Times article which discusses options for Christmas Party Planning. See excerpt below or read the full article here: CLICK HERE
The Party Professionals are also getting into full seasonal swing and the team has been working flat out on a number of Christmas-themed parties for its corporate clients. “If you want to book your staff into the high-profile restaurants and venues, it’s important to book a good few months in advance,” says Caroline Gardiner, who runs the events business in Dublin.
“No matter what the prevailing mood, the staff Christmas party is essential for good relations. It was initially designed to get all colleagues into the mood for Christmas after a long and hopefully productive year,” she explains.
Has she seen many changes and trends lately?
“For a start, the word Christmas is seen as alienating within a more diverse workforce – so the term Holiday party has been adopted by larger corporates in Ireland. The focus is less about Christmas and more about staff appreciation and gratitude.”
One of her most popular parties is a Hollywood-themed awards ceremony night full of glamour, glitz and bubbles. Some companies book a smooth-talking, black-tie host to crack the jokes and make the presentations.
“We have a corporate client that we work for every year, with over 250 staff members on the night and whilst not everybody walks away with an award, everybody walks away feeling appreciated and recognised for their contributions throughout the year,” says Gardiner.
“The staff are really pampered on the evening, with no expense spared, with a full three-course sit-down meal, Champagne on arrival, wine flowing throughout the evening and an open bar. Christmas cocktails are more fashionable on arrival instead of the traditional glass of prosecco or mulled wine.
Christmas cosmopolitans on arrival are a big hit,” she says. “I like to see them garnished with fresh cranberries and thyme for added impact and wow factor.”
Food trends have changed over the past couple of years too, with companies and caterers offering “supper bowls” circulated on trays by uniformed staff, just like canapés.
“This option is a lovely way for everyone to savour a number of different dishes, ranging from Thai or Indian curries to more traditional creamy beef stroganoff or Moroccan lamb tagine.”
Gardiner is a big fan of bite-sized desserts and mini hot mince pies with a dollop of cream or miniature sherry trifles, which are always a winner with companies.
A hot trend that’s gaining traction over the last couple of years is throwing the Christmas party in the company’s offices.
“At the Party Pros, we have transformed many dull open-plan offices into spectacular settings – from office drab to party fab! By providing a striking backdrop, decking the place in balloons and providing instant pipes and drapes – a curtain system that gives a room a completely different look and atmosphere – it is utterly transformed. Along with some clever lighting and glamorous tables, covered chairs with bows at the back, the office space is a vibrant venue.”