Yes, it’s still appropriate for estate planning and elder law firms to throw holiday parties for employees, family members, referring colleagues, related professionals, vendors and friends. Planning a big bash can be a lot of fun or a colossal headache. Here are some tips to help you through the process:
Don’t dismiss the idea of a party planner. If you are having more than 50 people in your office or at a restaurant, a party planner can save you time and money. She or he will be able to negotiate better prices for food and drink, handle the guest invitations and add a few unexpected touches.
Plan an activity within the party. Depending on the age and attitude of your guests, you or a party planner should be able to come up with a number of activities to keep everyone entertained. Games designed to foster networking have a place at a holiday party also. One of our favorite holiday party games is the White Elephant Secret Santa game. Everyone brings a great gift and gets a ticket. As the ticket numbers are called, the person can take a wrapped gift from the pile or steal a gift from someone else. The results are hilarious. Ugly Sweater contests add a lot of laughs too.
Holiday party in your office? Don’t skimp on the decorations. Strike a balance between tasteful and fun. This year, we are looking for snow globes to add a fun festive note. They come in all sizes and shapes and even the most serious people like to simply pick them up and watch as the flakes swirl.
There’s a serious side of holiday office parties. If alcohol is being served, there is the potential for liability on several levels; social host or dram shop liability and your responsibility as an employer that is responsible for the acts of employees. Check with your insurance agent to make sure you have extra coverage for a party in your office. You’ll want to remind employees that sexual harassment is not acceptable at any time, especially during holiday parties. Some firms invite spouses and significant others to holiday parties based on the theory that most people behave better if there are people they don’t know in the room.
Be generous with food, especially if you are serving alcohol. Make sure that you have enough sturdy finger food during the early part of the party so that people who are drinking are also going to be eating filling foods. Serve dinner or main courses on the early side.
Keep an eye on the clock. If your party is on a work night, people will want to get home with enough time to wind down and get a good night’s rest. Plan out the timing and have someone, a party planner or the office manager who rules with authority, assigned to make sure that things happen on time: cocktails starting at 5:30, dinner at 6:30, activities and desert by 7:30 PM.
In other words, have a great party but keep it sensible, safe and secure.