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A quick run to the cash-n-carry for bulk-buy beer, wine and crisps no longer constitutes an office or corporate Christmas party. We’re at the start of the party planning season, so here are six simple tips to help you throw an unforgettable event for your work colleagues:

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  1. Book early

Popular venues will fill up quick around the Christmas period, so unless you want to be shunted into a small, back room on a Tuesday night – get the booking in nice and early. You should start planning in early summer.

Corporate Christmas parties held on Fridays and Saturdays give attendees who work a traditional week greater chance to let their hair down and really enjoy themselves without worrying about getting up and driving to work in the morning.

  1. Leave the office

Even smaller companies should strive to leave the office for a corporate Christmas party, if just to the local pub around the corner. Leaving the office helps distinguish the party, and also removes the risk of organising a forgettable Christmas party with more cocktail sausages than cocktail dresses.

  1. Pick a memorable venue

A bland function room with no personality and discount streamers stuck up so the blu-tack is still showing will not live long in the memories of those who attend a Christmas party there. Selecting a venue with a distinct personality and unique qualities to offer can help create a memorable Christmas party and secure your place on the planning committee for next year as well.

As the events team from Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester explain: “Our venue has become an increasingly popular option for Christmas party organisers looking to add a unique twist to their event. There’s a trend towards unusual venues for events such as these, and the cricket ground definitely fits the bill.”

  1. Be unique

It is highly likely many of your party’s attendees will be preparing for a traditional Christmas of their own with their family and loved ones, so may not fully appreciate a scaled-up version with the accounts team they never speak to held just a week or two before.

Try and create a unique experience which the attendees may not ever be able to replicate. A Wham-style Swiss chalet or a Bing Cosby-inspired cosy Christmas theme can help differentiate between the corporate event and Christmas at home (which will probably mostly consist of children hyped up on selection boxes taking the batteries out of the TV remote for their new toys).

  1. Mix up the playlist

By the time the Christmas party rolls around, many of the attendees will be sick to their back teeth of Christmas hits having reached the limit of number of times they can listen to Geldof and co. condescend about Africa. A three hour Christmas song playlist will only serve to infuriate attendees, so abstain from playing festive hits until the crescendo of the playlist when the drinks have been flowing and merriness is at a nightly high.

Hiring a DJ will help avoid the potential for a deserted dancefloor as soon as the cheesy Christmas hits get spun.

  1. Don’t skimp on the food

As the magic of Santa and Christmas presents subside when you are about 7 and 16 respectively, Christmas dinner replaces these as the most important and exciting part of the celebration. This makes it essential you don’t skimp on the big event, and offer a feast befitting Ebenezer Scrooge after his defining change in character.

If you are planning a three-course meal, it’s advisable to stick to the classics of Christmas dinner with the main course – but you can add a little variety to the starter and dessert, making the event all-the-more unique and memorable.