Inexpensive small office Christmas party ideas to avoid cliches

November 09, 2021

Fun Christmas office party ideas

For some small businesses the Christmas mood kicks in as early as mid-Summer and they already have plenty of small office Christmas party ideas. But we liked our beach cocktails so much, we didn’t have time to think past October, let alone brainstorm office Christmas activities.

Now the chiller nights have arrived, children have already eaten their Trick-or-Treat candies, Thanksgiving is basically around the corner, and that practically means it’s time for small business Christmas party ideas. Yes, we’re feeling a bit excited, but still – one holiday at a time!

However, we are aware of how long it takes to plan and organize the office Christmas activities, and how short we can sometimes be on creative office Christmas party ideas, so we’ve created this go-to guide to inspire you and make the planning less stressful, and the holiday season more joyous for everyone.

Small office Christmas party ideas: Best activities that guarantee fun

Some say Christmas time is all about being cozy at home and watching Christmas movies with your family, but the reality is that you still have to spend most of your day at work. But, every good boss has a way to keep employees happy during Christmas time by doing simple things that will show workers an appreciation for their work and dedication.

To avoid cliche awkward parties, we are listing small office Christmas party ideas and activities outside the office that guarantee a good time and will even help your team connect.

Sip the Nips

It sounds weird but it actually is really fun. Separate the group into two groups and each person in the group will be using a straw to sip or get 5 Nips of the same which is in the plate and put them in the cup. This is a challenge with speed until the entire person was able to sip the nip. The first group to finish wins. It’s a really fun game that can be played in big or small groups.

Online Bingo

Because not everybody can attend the in-person Christmas party of our company, we have thought of several interactive online games such as Bingo.

The set of rules are the same as the traditional ones, the only difference is that the numbers are generated virtually. It makes any party a whole lot of fun and is definitely low-cost. Moreover, the cards can be personalized to the event and the whole game can be organized to fit in any part of the program.

Secret Santa

One of the small office Christmas party ideas that always works great is a Secret Santa gift exchange with a specific budget for gifts. Keep it under $20 or $15 for each gift, so it will be pretty reasonable since each employee would only have to get one gift. Everyone loves secret Santa’s and they can be a great way to boost morale, especially if you do funny gifts!

Cozy Christmas cinema at the office

Many new movies are released in the holiday season, hence screening a Christmas movie at the office is one of the small business holiday party ideas that will put you in a good holiday mood. You can watch a newly released film or an old classic like Home Alone. Everyone will enjoy it and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money.

Karaoke party

To get the Christmas party started, you can get a karaoke microphone for just under $25. Play festive songs that would put the employees into the holiday mood. Everyone could unwind and have fun while you could stay under the budget. Make sure to take pictures and videos as memorabilia. Investing in a good karaoke microphone could go a long way and it’s the perfect holiday activity in the office.

Escape the ordinary

Book an escape room for your team. The escape room enables them all to get involved whether they celebrate Christmas or not and it’s also great for team bonding. Moreover, if you are a smaller team, it allows everyone to contribute their different skill sets and feel special.

In fact, not many people enjoy a traditional office Christmas party and they feel awkward. Whereas with the Escape Room, you’d be doing a task and working together in a fun environment which means you get rid of any of that awkwardness.

So, we would say Christmas parties for small companies should include doing things outside the norm. That’s when you see the magic happen as it helps the team grow and bond together.

Small office Christmas party ideas: Best activities that guarantee fun

It’s the small things that make everything special. Therefore, since you already found the best activities and small office Christmas party ideas, it’s time to think about details as well. Luckily there are a lot of heartwarming, unique ways to create holiday magic without emptying your pockets. 

Don’t just stick to one-day parties when there are a lot of inexpensive ways to have a magical time during the whole of December. Instead, take a look at our creative office Christmas party ideas and find out how you can make your in-office and remote workers happy.

Christmas cards

Christmas is the perfect time to say thank you to your employees for being the backbone of the company and helping you build your dream by adopting it as their own. We know you’re not Oprah to give everyone a car but a word of appreciation can go a long way and make them feel really special and motivated.

And for that, cards are the perfect medium. No, we’re not speaking about virtual Christmas cards that can end up in Spam. Please, stay away from that.

Take the time to reflect and write everyone a personalized message that’s a mixture of “Thank you” and “Merry Christmas”. Handwritten messages are much more valuable, but if you think it’s too time-consuming you can always print them.

As for the design of the Christmas cards, you can leave it to the professionals or make it yourself if you feel like it. Or you can drive to the nearest stationery shop, we bet they’ll be having a million designs, both traditional or contemporary, to choose from.

You can call them old-fashioned but cards are an essential part of all office Christmas activities.

Let the booze ooze!

Next on our list of small office Christmas party ideas is something more cheery. Okay, we probably should have started this paragraph by saying DRINK RESPONSIBLY! First of all because we’re not fans of hangovers, and also because we don’t want you to be the main character of a story that starts something like this: “Remember last Christmas when the boss failed at doing a headstand and we all saw her underwear?” 

Moderation is the key to fun parties and, as it turns out, to groundbreaking ideas that can revolutionize your business as well. Studies show when reaching an alcohol level of 0,75‰, the average person comes up with the most creative solutions. This means there’s a good chance the most fruitful brainstorming session you’ve ever had will happen at the Christmas party when everyone’s tipsy.

Skip the champagne or cooked wine cliché and explore new tastes. These 100% natural liqueurs and spirits made in a handcrafted distillery in the Alps will certainly get you extra points with your employees. Do it in style or not at all!

 Boost the energy levels

Christmas time is probably the most exhausting period of the year, so make sure everyone in your firm is energized and in good condition to work and party later. If you were thinking that coffee or energy bars are the solutions here, please think again.

All the cash spent on presents, last-minute shopping, family gatherings, cold weather, holiday depression – hard, right? For that reason, having energy drinks at the office at all times is definitely a better idea. Just make sure you have enough sugar-free cans for the forever-dieting staff.

Holiday potluck

A potluck is always a fun and inexpensive way to host a party. It is also a great Christmas activity for a small office. Everyone gets to bring a holiday dish for the entire office to have a feast. This ensures participation from all office members and everyone will have a good time.

Assign teams to provide appetizers, main courses, drinks, and deserts. While this might be additional work for your employees, food brings people together. 

You can also ask your employees to bring in food/supplies for the party. Create a signup list and encourage your employees to sign up to bring one of the items listed. This will help you stay under budget and focus more money on items or activities that you don’t want your employees to feel pressured into contributing toward.

Healthy doesn’t mean boring

When it comes to office Christmas party food ideas we like to do it a little bit differently. Like we’ve said before, it’s imperative to stay in good health, physically and mentally.

Cold weather indeed takes its toll, but let’s not forget about the effect overeating has. All those dinner parties and pre-Christmas lunches packed with sugary, fatty foods can bring one’s metabolism to crack. 

To balance that out, and give yourself and your employees a break, you should consider hiring a food catering service for the Christmas party, one that offers super tasty yet healthy finger food that doesn’t overrun the stomach

Or if you don’t want to go that extra mile, just order online some delicious, crunchy but soft cookie snacks and mouth-watering freeze-dried fruit snacks from sunny Colombia.

Extra tip: you can make these snacks available for your staff throughout December.

Family time

Bringing children to the office Christmas party is debatable. Some find it inappropriate, others truly appreciate children’s high spirits. Frankly, no one rejoices over festivities more than children. Their excitement completely fills out the air to a point where not even Grinch can resist singing a carol. 

You got three options here:

  • Invite your staff’s children to the office Christmas party
  • Organize a separate Christmas family day 
  • Don’t invite any children

If you opt for one of the first two, then you should know that presents are a must, and no, candies don’t count, they’re just extras. So make sure you have an exact list of all children coming to the office Christmas party because, trust me,  you don’t want to know how high pitched a cry of a child who didn’t find their name under the Christmas tree.

If you don’t have the time to go shopping, you can always turn to the Internet and find exquisite toys online.

One more thing, hiring a Santa for the day will instantly get you promoted to the coolest boss ever. And if this is just an expense your budget can’t afford, you can always ask your grandpa.

Don’t forget remote workers

We live in the age of remote teams, hence office culture and tradition must be hugely adapted. You don’t want your remote workers to feel excluded. 

Some companies have a tradition of hosting virtual parties; wearing ugly sweaters, Christmas props, doing karaoke, sharing holiday-related anecdotes, playing games, etc. 

But if this is not your thing, then maybe you should consider creating a Slack channel where starting from December 1st everyone can get into the Christmas spirit by sharing holiday videos, gifs, emojis, pics, and so forth. 

You can go even further and send them gift packs that you can all open together on a video call. Who doesn’t like gifts anyway? If you don’t trust mailing services, you can always go for virtual gifts.

Or better yet, why not organize a Secret Santa? Here’s an elf that can help you withdraw the names.

The bottom line – use your imagination! Even a small gesture would mean a lot and strengthen team relationships. Your remote team must not be forgotten during the office Christmas activities.

Letters to Santa

One of the coolest office Christmas party ideas! Have everyone on your team write a Christmas letter to Santa. Except that you’ll be Santa and they will be pitching you. 

Encourage them to write down any wishes for the company or business ideas they might have. Ones that they’re afraid or reluctant to say out loud. To spice things up, turn this into a competition: the one with the smartest and most amusing letter, would win a bonus pay at the end of the year or paid time off. 

This way you’ll pick your employees’ brains and, what’s even more important, gather fresh business ideas that could turn out to be quite lucrative for your company. Plus, it will make them feel important and become bolder in their jobs.

Photo Booth

Take photos. Lots of photos! Not just for the party. Put the photo booth in action as early as your Christmas spirit kicks in, and take candid photos in the middle of the workday, on lunch break, after 5, or whenever you want to. Later you can print some of them and make an actual album. Yeah, Instagram is cool but nothing can beat a good old album that’s not controlled by Zuckerberg. 

You can choose between renting a photo booth or doing it yourself. The second option can definitely be put on the company Christmas party ideas on a budget list because it will cost you less.

Here’s a list of all you’ll need: a good camera, a remote shutter, photo-friendly lighting, and tons of props. As for the backdrop, a white wall would do the trick, but you can always unleash your creativity and make it as festive as you’d want.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, all of our small office Christmas party ideas are useless if the spirits are low and everything just looks like a superficial charade. Nourish the relationship with your employees all year round and treat Christmas as just another reason to thank them for their loyalty and dedication. 

As we said, it’s not about how expensive a celebration is, but how heartfelt it is. Do everything with an open heart and treat everyone like family. Moreover, all of these office Christmas activities could be applied throughout December, not just one time at a party.

At last, from our team to yours – have an incredible festive season and remember that it’s not the material things that count.

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