Holding a Thanksgiving office party at work is a great way to celebrate the season and bring employees together. And let’s be honest—what employee doesn’t love to get free food at work? Since Thanksgiving office parties are probably not a type of company party that you’re used to throwing, you’ll likely want a few tips on hosting a successful Thanksgiving party at the office. Here are some great ideas for ensuring that this year’s company Thanksgiving party is a hit with your employees and coworkers.
Time it well.
It’s a good idea to get feedback from your employees and coworkers on when it would be best to hold an office Thanksgiving party. Usually sometime during the week or two leading up to Thanksgiving is best; you don’t want employees and coworkers to have to choose between family plans and an office party.
Send a formal invite.
How you invite employees to your company Thanksgiving party will give them a distinct impression of what to expect and what to look forward to. Sending out formal paper invitations over e-mailed company memos will go a long way in getting your employees excited for the occasion. And if your company is particularly environmentally conscious, formal online invitations are a great option as well.
Consider a potluck.
Company parties can get expensive very quickly, and if you’re going to have a company potluck at any point in the year, Thanksgiving might be just the time to do it. Many families hold potluck-style Thanksgiving dinners as a tradition, making a potluck part of the spirit of Thanksgiving. A potluck is also a great way to build a sense of camaraderie amongst employees. Potluck style office parties are easy: simply create an online spreadsheet of which types of foods you’ll need, and have employees fill in with what they’d like to bring. You could even ask that people prepare their favorite Thanksgiving family recipe for the event.
Decorate the space.
If you’re chosen to have your company Thanksgiving party hosted at a venue, then much of the work in providing the right ambiance will be done for you. But if you’re holding your company party at work and really want the atmosphere to suit the event, then you’ll want to put some extra time and effort into making the place festive. Decorate the office until it feels like a new space, suitable for a true Thanksgiving meal. Some ideas for decor include seasonal flowers, fresh seasonal produce, fall leaves, seasonal table settings, and Thanksgiving signboards and banners.
Just as you would at your own Thanksgiving party, you should greet employees as they arrive to the event. You can get as elaborate as handing out gifts at the door, or as simple as greeting guests and directing them to the food and festivities.
Make it fun.
Of course, an office Thanksgiving party isn’t going to be quite a close-knit as your typical family Thanksgiving dinner, so it helps to add an extra element of fun to the mix. You might, for example, hold a contest for “best dish” and have people vote on which dish is the stand-out favorite (if you’re running your party potluck-style). Other fun ideas include a Thanksgiving themed candy guessing jar, a Thanksgiving trivia contest, or a list of table conversation starters. You could even have a Thanksgiving-appropriate movie playing somewhere in the office throughout the party. Seasonal music always makes a welcome addition, as well.
Personalize your Thanksgiving party with company-branded items that go with the season, such as fine chocolates or drinkware. These can serve as great take-away gifts or game prizes. You can even get high-end meats such as sliced ham or smoked turkey breast for the Thanksgiving meal itself, served on a beautiful company branded wooden cutting board like this one.
Thank your employees.
What better day to express gratitude toward your employees than on Thanksgiving? Take time out during the office party to thank your employees for their hard work. You could even offer small ‘thank you’ gifts for your employees to take home.
Keep customers in the loop.
If you’re taking time out of the workday to hold your company Thanksgiving party, you’ll want to keep your customers informed of your plans to temporarily close the office. Change your phone message, email your clients, update your website, install temporary signage—whatever you think is most appropriate for keeping your customers up-to-date.