If you’re a regular reader of Meeting & Incentive Travel, an insightful trade title for the corporate events industry, you may have seen my opinion piece this month on corporate Christmas parties. The sentiment behind the article? That, in order to be more sensitive to world events and the current economic climate, corporate Christmas parties have evolved in 2023. My observation is that more companies are looking to host corporate family Christmas events this year. Christmas is all about family after all. And as event planners we’re flexing our offering to meet demand and solidify the trend.
WHY IS THE 2023 CHRISTMAS PARTY A FAMILY AFFAIR?
There are a number of reasons for the switch to family parties.
Firstly, there’s no avoiding the fact that budgets are under scrutiny. A lavish party with all the trappings and a big budget free bar could feel insensitive. At odds with the socio-economic backdrop. A family party feels more appropriate for some of my event agency’s clients.
Managers are also wary that some colleagues more than other will be feeling the financial pressure this Christmas. So, a family party ticks some items on their Christmas wish lists. Depending on your event, it could be a light trail, a trip to the Christmas market or a visit to see Santa.
Finally, there’s a wholesome and cosy feel about a corporate family Christmas party. A chance to really embrace the meaning of Christmas.
WHY NOT SCALE BACK OR DITCH THE CHRISTMAS PARTY ALTOGETHER?
Bah humbug! There’s a reason why the Christmas party is a Great British institution. People look forward to it. It’s a permanent fixture in the corporate event calendar and, in my opinion, always should be.
Staff work hard all year, and the Christmas get together is a way of recognising the team’s contribution while preparing them for the year ahead. With many workforces still partially or completely working remotely, it plays an important team building role too.
While scaling back and holding a jaded version is in my opinion worse than not doing it at all.
The corporate family Christmas party makes perfect sense in this scenario and one of the indirect upshots is that it’s likely to more cost effective.
Off-peak venue hire. A smaller proportion of the budget spent on free-flowing booze and more affordable catering, which can be more informal.
THE ADDED BONUS OF A FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR EVENT PLANNERS
As I said in the M&IT article…
“Family events are a whole lot of fun to organise. Imagination can run wild. At Christmas a family event can be even more magical. Bring the light show to your employees. Hire in real reindeer and have mischievous elves cause havoc. Watch ice sculptures created in real time. Dine in igloos or go ice skating. Something a little edgier? Bring in a graffiti wall and have the kids help to design a Santa scene. Or create a Heston style edible, life-sized gingerbread house that guests can nibble at on their way in!
These are blue skies ideas of course – and if budget is the main driver for a family party, then it can absolutely be achieved on a smaller scale. You can forgo the expensive, all night, free-flowing booze and replace with a few drinks for mum and dad and a Christmas wonderland for the kids.”
WILL THE CORPROATE FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTY BECOME A STAPLE EVENT?
In my opinion, yes! Family parties are here to stay for the foreseeable and they lend themselves perfectly to summer corporate reward and recognition events.
It’s part of a diversification in the corporate events sector with trends such as wellness and selfcare, or challenge events also gaining traction.
In my consultancy I’m also seeing more hospitality venues look to broaden their offering from the traditional dinner and dance. Even within weddings and private parties there is demand for something different – learning a new skill, an interactive or educational moment, or a wellness element. If venues don’t have this on their radar, then I am 100 per cent advising them to add it.
The events industry needs to flex and play to its strengths, using imagination and creativity to stay ahead of what companies are trying to achieve with their reward and recognition events. Luckily that’s what we’re known for!
Read Liz’s full article around corporate family Christmas events in Meeting & Incentive Travel here: https://mitmagazine.co.uk/People/Why-this-Christmas-is-more-of-a-family-affair-than-ever