How To Plan The Right Entertainment At Your Holiday Party
There are a lot of important questions to ask yourself as you begin to plan the right entertainment at your holiday party.
The venue, the theme, the food, and beverage. But one of the most important, and often overlooked until the last minute, is the entertainment. A holiday gathering is not your typical event. This is a night to celebrate the team’s achievements, create timeless memories, and orchestrate a magical setting – a festive, inviting atmosphere that transforms coworkers into merrymakers. And to make that transformation complete, you will need the right artistic touch.
While it may seem like a daunting task – finding the right theme and performers to ensure a spectacular time to be had by all – we have a few suggestions that will help make the process easier.
What makes us experts? Check out our video reel including spectacular holiday entertainment.
Step 1: Picking the Right Theme
When you’re thinking of a theme, remember your audience, aka your employees. While it may sound hard to please everyone, an immersive experience will go a long way to create the right atmosphere for all attendees. That being said, a versatile theme will give you more opportunities to create many different kinds of experiences that will cover many tastes and preferences. On the other hand, going too niche and specific may limit your options for providing all attendees with something they would enjoy doing or participating in.
Also, remember that not everyone may be celebrating the same holiday. Having an inclusive theme that’s not tied to one specific day will help ensure all feel welcome to attend the night’s festivities.
Here are a few theme options that offer a range of entertainment options and activations that aren’t on-the-nose holiday-themed and also allow for customization and corporate branding.
Casino Theme – Vegas showgirls, acrobatic aerialists, and model tray girls set the scene. Blackjack, roulette and craps tables provide more hands-on fun for the attendees. Décor options can range from the over the top and opulent razzle-dazzle of the modern-day strip to a more Rat Pack vintage throwback. And raffled prizes instead of cash betting ensure the stakes are still high enough to offer everyone an entertaining experience.
Winter Wonderland – Imagine transporting all of your guests to a modern day winter wonderland filled with enchanting snow queens and captivating Instagram-worthy displays. Or perhaps it’s reimagining a childhood classic, as the Nutcracker comes to life before their eyes with sugar plum fairies, choreographed snowflakes and dancing candy canes. Perhaps it’s all about bringing the season’s magic alive with a cozy fireplace, hot chocolate and ice skating. Whatever that wonderland means to you, just be sure that it is filled with opportunities to create that sense of wonder and amazement.
Jingle in the Jungle – while probably not the first idea that comes to mind when planning a holiday party, a jungle theme will definitely stand out in a sea of seasonal events. The contrast of a typically cold-weathered festivity with a tropical setting is a great opportunity to flex your creativity. Festive tiki cocktails; Polynesian fire dancers; lush green setting with mistletoe hanging from a palm frond. Conventional? Definitely not. Take it up a notch with animal stilt walkers, body painter acrobats and a themed dress code. You may not be able to take the entire office on an exotic getaway, but you can give them a night they’ll never forget.
Roaring 20’s – When the clock strikes midnight, we will be ringing in a new year and a new decade. What better way to start the 20’s than with an homage to a time of prosperity, opulence and boundless entertainment. From flapper girls to the start of the Jazz Age, the 1920’s offer an abundance of inspiration for how to throw a great party. Set the mood with art deco invitations and appropriate cocktail attire. Prep the bar to make a few essential classic cocktails. Add a swinging jazz band and pepper in impersonators, roaming feather girls, and professional photographers decked out in 1920’s gear to ensure your guests suspend their disbelief long enough to learn how to do the Charleston.
Step 2: Deciding How Much Entertainment You Need
There are a few variables to take into consideration. Is there a grand entrance experience that requires its own unique immersive performance? Will there be staged opportunities for brand placement and subsequent photography? Are there multiple rooms or will the event have a flow between different spaces throughout the evening?
If so you may need to consider a few additional activations, but as a rule of thumb, we recommend starting with at least three to four different acts throughout the evening. These will ensure that guests are continuously engaged without a lull to the celebrations. If there are specific stages to the evening, for example a flow from a welcome cocktail reception to a seated dinner to the dance floor, you may want to add in a few highlights to ensure the transition between each moment is marked with fanfare.
Remember, these don’t need to all be over the top. There should be one or two distinct showstoppers while the rest seamlessly mix with the general party atmosphere. You’re not creating a full-on production; you’re enhancing the experience.
Roaming characters are a subtle way to pepper in some special moments which the guests can enjoy at their own pace, whether by posing for photos or taking a moment to take in a private performance. Roaming characters can include stilt walkers, costumed ballerinas, go-go and hula hoop dancers as well as face paint and photo booths. Larger, show-stopping performances include aerialists, choreographed dance numbers, cyr wheel performers, and immersive activations like our signature Snow White awakening ceremony.
When it comes to branding, we recommend staging branded items within the photo booth pop up or as part of our roaming characters display. Alternatively, a living art wall or over the top display that brings the brand to life are also great options.
Step 3: Deciding on the music
Everyone knows that music is essential to any good party. If your budget allows it, a good DJ that can read the crowd and curate the perfect soundtrack for the night is an essential part of the evening’s entertainment. But your options don’t stop there. For budding tastemakers, create your own Spotify playlist and allocate your music budget to a live performance. What that entails should depend on your overall theme. Jingle in the Jungle? You can’t go wrong with a drum circle accompanied by fire dancers. A modern winter wonderland can come alive with a musical wall of talented performers. For period-themed events, an accompanying band will transport guests back in time and create an authentic vibe that will complement the overall setting.
Of course, if you’re going all out – there’s nothing quite like pairing a DJ set with a musical act like a saxophone player or a drummer to really get the party going.