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7 last minute office Christmas party ideas

We all get snowed under from time to time and various things fall by the wayside. Talk Business have put together 7 last-minute office Christmas party ideas to finish off your year in the office with a bang!

Finally. It is December, Christmas time, mistletoe and wine…too many Christmas songs. It is a hectic time of year. Make sure everything is done before the office shuts down for the holidays, all your clients are happy with their corporate gifts, but are you forgetting something? You need some office Christmas party ideas!

last minute office Christmas party ideas

How about the people you see every day?

Working hard, day after day, all year round, your employees deserve more than a pat on the back and a Christmas bonus. They want to let their hair down. It might be their only chance to get merry with their colleagues. Who knows? Maybe with a relaxed atmosphere and a few drinks colleagues could become friends, improving morale in the office.

But, it is now well into December, the time has passed to book an office Christmas party. Or has it?

We have found 7 last-minute office Christmas party ideas for your business, that doesn’t necessarily break the bank.

Don’t forget to check out Mark Hogan’s 10 rules for the office Christmas party:

Christmas BBQ

Barbeques are just for summer, right? Wrong. You can enjoy a BBQ any time of year, as long as it is not raining.

Everyone loves being snuggled around a fire in winter. Being huddled around a fire, cooking some delicious meat, fish and veg is the perfect team-building activity. Have a couple of beers whilst cooking food is amazing in the summer, so why not winter, you can even replace beer with a mulled wine or cider to really get in the Christmas spirit.

Not only is it a fantastic office social situation, but you can also really get a lot of meat, fish, veg and drinks from a local supplier for the tax-free amount of £150 or less per head. You can create the perfect atmosphere with a few Christmas lights and sparklers! If you are looking for truly last-minute office Christmas party ideas, then a Christmas BBQ should be at the top of your list.

Andy Baxter, lifestyle expert and MD of Internet Gardener provides more information on the party option:

“The concept of a winter BBQ trend has been popularised alongside the rise in mental health awareness and aims to highlight the wellbeing benefits and importance of spending time outside over winter. Making sure you spend time outdoors provides vital exposure to UV which is needed to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder. Additionally, spending time around natural surroundings such as green lawns and leafy foliage has been proven to increase the low moods often experienced over winter.

“The disruptive winter BBQ trend then has become increasingly popular in highlighting the importance of this, and many people are ditching more traditional values in favour for ‘New years eve’ or ‘Boxing day’ outdoor BBQ parties. Generally, all leftovers from the Christmas dinner are marinated and thrown on the BBQ, giving a whole new meaning to the leftover Turkey sandwiches.

“This has now become particularly popular with the smaller business offices and SME parties, as it is much more cost-effective than spending a large amount of money hiring a venue and forking out for expensive catering services. Those businesses who have left it to the last minute to book something for their Christmas party need not worry, as you simply need a BBQ and a smaller outdoors space which can be organised with relative ease.”

In office Christmas party

office Christmas party ideasThe in office Christmas party is not a new idea, but it is always worth considering when pressed for time. It might require a bit of organisation, delegate who will sort out the food, drinks and decorations. Order a box of Christmas hats so everyone is in the spirit. For the love of God, remove the photocopy machine power cable (not a tradition I will ever understand).

With all the desks pushed back and a few lights to brighten up the office, a DIY Christmas party venue is better than nothing, and a few embarrassing stories will follow.

Julian House, founder of

“If you’ve left it a bit last minute, it might mean you’re a little more flustered getting things organised. But on the plus side, you may well also be able to snag a few bargains on food, drink and decor to kit the office out in festive style.

“There are live voucher codes right now ranging from 15% off at party supplier websites like Party Pieces. And Laithwaites wine at the time of writing has up to 50% of cases of wine. SO yes, it might be a bit of a rush, but it might also mean you end up bagging some heavily discounted decor and booze.”

Always remember to bring Christmas cards to your office party as a gesture of goodwill.

Remote Christmas party

Remote working is becoming increasingly important in today’s office environment. It is easy to feel slightly alienated from the company working at home, not having the daily interaction you get working in the office.

How do you arrange a Christmas party if most of your employees work remotely? Well, you could pay for all your employees to go to the same place, book a hotel, a venue, or have the hotel as a venue. But the Hoxby Collective had a different, more inventive idea:

The Hoxby Collective is a ‘virtual agency’. A global community consisting of 450 freelancers in 29 countries. 

“Whilst the lack of office is never a problem when it comes to producing brilliant work for Hoxby clients, engaging a virtual community over the festive period has always been a challenge. Hoxby Associates do meet up ‘in real life’ at each others’ homes – but as the community is global, a ‘whole agency meet up’ would be unlikely.

“This year Hoxby ran a Global Secret Santa initiative. Using an app called Elfster those wishing to participate could register their details, and also create a wishlist of gifts. The budget was £10, and homemade gifts were encouraged. Via a dedicated Slack channel, those taking part received instructions and a timeline – and were able to share images of their delivered, unwrapped gift.

Elfster allows anonymous interaction between the Secret Santa and gift recipient – and gifts can be marked as sent or received.

“Yesterday was the Hoxby UnBoxing Day, with over 1/4 of the community joining a Zoom meeting, dressed in Xmas jumpers, wearing festive headgear, nibbling mince pies or sipping mulled wine as gifts were unwrapped, shared and filmed – all remotely. As many Hoxbies work from home, pets and children also got involved and donned costumes to be captured on Zoom; one of Hoxby’s Partners even brought a miniature pony in an elf outfit to the video conference call!

“Despite not having an office or a formal party, this was a wonderful way to use technology and spread Christmas cheer. Hoxby’s advice to other businesses who work with freelancers or a remote workforce in any capacity, or who have global offices – a virtual celebration is a positive and inclusive solution.”

Christmas quiz

Similar to the in-office Christmas party, you could do a huge quiz day for your employees. Pack it with prizes and subjects covering a wide range of decades and knowledge to keep everyone invested and happy.

Virginia Hayward has sensational yet affordable collection of Christmas gift hampers you can get, so that everyone goes away with something, a runners up prize and third place prize, you could even give a booby prize for ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ or have a vote on the most bizarre answer.

Try not to make your employees feel stupid, the aim is for everyone to have fun after all!

Tom Parsley, commercial director at Selesti

“This year we are having Christmas Party Panel Show Quiz. It’s a cost-effective way of entertaining all of the team for 2-3 hours and can be done in our office (with plenty of drinks and snacks provided, and a break for lunch in the middle), or could be in a pub / anywhere you all have a seat.

“We are breaking the team (of 30) into teams of 6 and they will compete all day for points across a number of familiar panel show games that they are familiar with. It’s a challenge doing a traditional quiz that includes everybody, as there is a range of ages and interests within our team, so this approach helps everyone join in.

“The competitive element means that we keep everyone interested and engaged all day, without any favouring to the fastest/strongest/best general knowledge. Two of the rounds we have planned for this year are Would I Lie To You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. All of the team members in the week leading up to the party day send a couple of stories (the more unbelievable the better) that they don’t think anyone else at work knows about their childhood/younger days. We then will also throw in a few fake, unbelievable stories (or just swap them from person to person!) and assign them out on handwritten cards to each person. They will be quizzed by the other teams on their story, and work out if it’s a lie or not. Buzzcocks follows the “intros round” of the classic 90s tv show, each team have 2 of their number perform the beginning of a track up to the lyrics, using only their singing/humming/drumming skills to interpret the tune for the rest of the team to guess. It’s a great way to lose some inhibitions and laugh together before breaking up for the break – and typically will found some nicknames and running jokes for the year to come.”

Abba Christmas night out

Thanks to Theresa May, Dancing Queen is back in the charts, I think. The ultimate cheese night is on the cards with an Abba Christmas night. Mama Mia has proven that any singing ability is welcome with Abba tributes so it will be fun for the whole office this year if you decide to put an Abba karaoke night or head to Hilton Leeds with a professional Abba tribute band.

“Why not take a chance on Hilton Leeds, member of the Leeds Hotels and Venues Association (LHVA) this Christmas and join them for their Abba tribute band night. Get the evening off to a tantalising start with a delicious Mamma Mia inspired menu.

“Kick off the Greek-themed dining with chicken and lemon sour with orzo pasta or char-grilled vegetable terrine, served with tzatziki, courgette fritters, crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives. Main is a choice of the slow-cooked blade of beef in a red wine and shallot jus, whole char-grilled sea bream or spanakopita, a spinach & feta filo parcel served with green beans. Finish with a traditional Baklava for dessert before an evening of entertainment including music from Abba tribute act and the resident DJ. If you’re a Dancing Queen (or King) this is the perfect celebration for all the Super Troupers in the office and to kick start everyone’s festive season!”

The outdoor Christmas party

Go outdoors this Christmas and have an active office Christmas party is one of those ideal ideas. A bit of winter fresh air does not harm anyone, by the time you are hanging 50 feet up in the air you will have no need for coats and scarves. Not to mention excellent team building activities.

Some outdoor activity centres are available for all ages and fitness levels, which is what Go Ape thought when they put together this alternative Christmas party. At the end of all this, you can still head to a restaurant or a bar for some food and drinks.

“New to Go Ape’s most central London location is the alternative Christmas Party. Just across the water from Chelsea awaits an adrenaline-fuelled and action-packed high ropes expedition ideal for teams of all shapes and sizes.

“Take on some of Go Ape’s longest and highest crossings which live in the urban jungle that is Battersea Park with a unique Christmas package. Safe to say the hustle and bustle of everyday life will be sent on its merry way.”

Building a gingerbread house

This final office Christmas party ideas take a bit more organising. Something that does not involve drinking copious amounts of alcohol may not be on everyone’s wish list for an office Christmas party, but is a brilliant way to build team morale and give some valued clients some unique gifts.

Gingerbread is what makes Christmas for a lot of people. A beautifully decorated gingerbread house can be the perfect Christmas treat for clients. Although fun, do not forget about your employees, the management should make their own Christmas gingerbread houses to show their appreciation to their hard-working staff.

Ola Diös, founder and CEO, of phosworks

“Before the evening’s event, our employees were given freshly baked gingerbread templates, however, work was required to add and decorate on the basis of the intended customer.

“During the event, food and drink were served and Christmas music was played and the production of the houses consisted of a group of happy people who had the time to create and groom and socialize and show their good ability to collaborate together.

“The staff showed their unmatched talent to work with both the brain and hands in the kitchen of the company, which was usually the manufacturer of technology, design and security solutions from the company’s operating halls. They enjoyed having time to socialize in other forms, stuck together at work, giving them a stronger team sense and strengthening their collaborative skills in the projects for their clients.

“The ready-made gingerbread houses were placed on tiles with the customer’s name and were decked out with lots of candy and appreciation from Phosworks with staff.”