The holidays seem to roll around faster and faster each year with less and less time to get ready for them. At least that’s how it seems to me, and as the unofficial office party organizer I’ve learned a few simple tips to help thing move smoothly.
Assuming your office does a chip in as we do where everyone either brings a dish or chips in to purchase one, then you the first thing you will need is a food sign up list. We store ours in a shared folder so everyone can see what others are bringing. We divide it up with spots for appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, desserts, paper goods and drinks. This way we ensure we have our bases covered.
Dollar stores are great for picking up some festive paper goods and utensils. Be sure whomever is signed up to pick these items up knows how many people will be attending so you don’t run short of things like napkins and plates.
Having a good party set up is essential to keeping people flowing through the buffet line and a brisk pace. Have all the paper goods, utensils set up at one table, salads etc. first followed by other food items and things like dressings, butter etc. that cause people to dawdle and the very end or ideally at a separate table as they exist the buffet table.
Be sure you have some clear guidelines on how long people can take to gather round for some food and socializing. You want to encourage your Thanksgiving office party time to be one where people take some time away from their desks and socialize and relax for a while. Check with your boss to see if some extra time can be gifted by the company to allow people the chance to participate in the festivities. Those little gestures by the company can be great morale booster. In fact, sometimes the company picks up the tab for a cake which is also appreciated.
One year, I handed out a little note leaf shaped pieces of paper to everyone and sent an email asking that they take a minute and write down something they are thankful for at work. They didn’t need to sign if they didn’t want to but merely drop it in a basket I had decorated near my desk. Before the party, I collected all the leaves and taped them up to the windows just next to where we all gathered to stuff ourselves full of goodies. I can’t tell you how much people enjoyed reading them. Some were funny, some were serious but for sure it put everyone in the mood of giving thanks. My boss really loved it and said it was her favorite office party to date.
Clean up – everyone’s least favorite part but if it is a task shared by all then the burden shouldn’t fall to just a few hands. After the party winds down, I like to send an email reminding everyone to clean up their dishes and help clean the general area.
With some good planning and organization your next Thanksgiving office party should be one that is enjoyed by all.