Currently I work in a 9 person Family Office. Family Office's are businesses that are set up to run the assets, investments, and daily affairs of extremely wealthy families. Essentially, I do personal concierge work for the wife and administrative work for the rest of the office, who are a handful of accounts and investment bankers.
Although I've kept my identity as a Cocktail Mom secret to all but my one alliance at the office, when the opportunity rose to plan the Holiday Office Party I thought that in the spirit of Holidays I'd try to give this grumpy little office a Great Office Party.
There are obstacles of course. The main one being that no one in the office truly likes each other. Sure, sure everyone is nice enough to each other - but this isn't an office full of people that are going to happy hour together every Friday. In fact, when the Boss of the office posed going out to a restaurant after hours for the party there were more than a few grumbles - this is when I took over the project. I started informally polling everyone about what they wanted and didn't want in an Holiday Party. What they wanted was lunch ordered in at around 2:00pm on a Friday AND ABSOLUTELY NO GRAB BAG!
I couldn't agree with them more. I hate an office grab bag. Who needs another $20.00 bath set and or smelly candle. Worse, I always get the person I don't really like something great and always receive something I suspect might have been re-gifted from the office cheapo.
So instead of the grab bag I talked the Boss into giving me $100 to buy prizes for Holiday games, that I will plan, and that we will play at the party. Don't groan. Everyone always groans at Party Games but the right games can make a boring party with people you see every day down right enjoyable.
With the $100 I am going to support local business by buying gift certificates. That's right, instead of the standard $20.00 Amazon gift card, I am going to buy a gift card at the locally own and operated Boulder Bookstore. Instead of a Starbucks gift card, I'm going with Laughing Goat the best local coffee shop.
Keeping with my buy local theme, the husband of one of the accounts in the office owns a local green house so I ordered several white poinsettias to use as decorations instead of buying wasteful paper party decorations.
In order to keep the tradition of White Elephant Christmas present exchanges alive, I am going to establish the following rules for prize winning: The first person to win a party game will be allowed to open one present. The second person to win a prize can steal the present already opened or open their own present/prize. If a person has a present stolen from them, they open another present. This continues until all the prizes are won and presents opened. If a person wins two games they may open or steal another present - but will only keep one prize and give the other away to someone that hasn't won a game yet.
We will be playing four different games.
The Lucky Chance or Random Game
I'm a big fan of the Random/Chance game. Often this is as simple as whoever has the paper plate with the Santa sticker on the bottom wins a prize. I purchased solid colored Gobstopper candy canes in green and red and one in white. I am going to tie the candy canes with ribbon or yarn around napkins and place them at each seat before the party begins to decorate the table. The person who gets the all white candy cane will be our first winner! Let the games begin.
The "Don't Say It" Game
This is my all time favorite party game. I first played it at a baby shower for my friend Colleen.
Versions of this game vary. When we played it at the baby shower each guest was given a cute little duck diaper pin and instructed to pin it to their shirts. We were then instructed that from this point until the end of the party we were not to say the word BABY. If you heard another guest say the word BABY you could steal one of their pins. The person with the most pins at the end of the party won a prize.
For the office party, I intend to play the game in the following manner: Using the candy canes that everyone already has, I am going to instruct everyone that from this point on in the party there will no absolutely no talking about WORK. Using the same concept as above, party guest will steal each others candy canes if they catch a co-worker talking about work. The person with the most candy canes at the end of the party will win the final prize.
The Quiz Game
Many people do not like to participate in group games so I think it is a good idea to have a simple paper quiz. This could be a word search, cross word puzzle, or trivia game.
For this Holiday office party I am going to use a quiz that I found online. It's a Holiday Trivia Movie Quiz. I found it online by google-ing "Holiday Quizes". There are many sites with holiday quizzes but most of them are made for kids and super easy. I liked this one because even I didn't know all the answers.
Virtually everyone in my office has children so I asked around to find out what group games they had at home. It turns out that someone has a Bingo game complete with cards, chips, and a shaker to drop the letter/balls out of. Perfect. Once we are finished eating, we can play two rousing games of Bingo. I chose Bingo because it is an easy game that everyone can play while still holding a conversation (provided that conversation isn't about WORK).
Since I am in charge of taking everyone's lunch order, I have resorted to using the -dreaded by some and loved by others- EVITE. I personally love Evites. For this party it is doing the "taking lunch order job" for me. I embedded links to the menus of the two restaurants that party guests can order their lunches from and then instructed them to include what items they want to order for lunch when they post their reply. It is working out perfectly. My plan is to place the orders with the restaurants very early in the day so there won't be any problem with getting the food to the office in a timely manner. This way I won't be stressing taking people's picky lunch orders on the day of the party, but can instead make sure that my games, gifts, and decorations are all perfectly set up.
Finally, I will be making a huge Christmas Music mega-mix to play from my Ipod throughout the lunch.
Will my grumpy little office have a fun holiday party? I don't know, but I think I've done my best give the office a well-organized Cocktail Mom holiday party.