Choosing entertainment for your Christmas party can be a daunting task. You have a group of 100plus people who never socialize with each other, generally only talk to the people they know and spend most of the evening avoiding their boss!
Not a situation that shouts fun!
There is however a simple solution, one that is often overlooked or left until last in the event organizing process, entertainment.
After organizing entertainment for the last 13 years I can honestly say that entertainment can either make or break a Christmas party and this depends on how much research is done by the organizer.
Here's a checklist to help you choose the best Christmas party entertainment for your company;
1) Find out the average age of your guests (there's no point in booking a DJ if you guests are over 50 and will probably leave straight after the meal)
2) Find out the average gender of your guests (if most of your guests are female you probably will not want Belly Dancers!)
3) Are you guests bringing their partners? (If so you'll need to make the entertainment more general so having a company quiz is probably out.)
4) Ask you guests what they'd like (it sounds obvious but simply asking your guests what type of entertainment they'd like is sometimes the best way to please the majority)
5) Find out your entertainment budget as early as possible (there's no point spending hours talking to Christmas party DJ's, bands, magicians and casinos if you know you've only gotten £ 100 to spend)
When you get the answers from this checklist you're ready to start finding your entertainment.
Now comes the second conundrum, do you use an entertainment agent, go directly to the acts or use the entertainment that your venue recommend?
This can completely confuse the average Christmas party organizer.
It's probably best to only go directly to the act if you're only having one entertainment act, think of all the stress it's going to be having three or four acts calling you on the day asking the same questions!
This is where going with an entertainment agent can help, the agent will look after all the acts so you do not have to and they'll deal with all those small questions that will just add to your stress!
If your venue does recommend an entertainment agent then it's probably best to go with this option, they've been recommended for a reason and their acts have probably all worked at the venue before so they'll know how to get in, set up and who to speak to if there are problems.
If you're stuck for Christmas party entertainment ideas here's a few
Drinks Reception Entertainment
This can set the tone for the whole evening, if you're guests relax and talk to each other then you're going to relax too! So how do you break the ice?
The best way to do this is with some 'Walkabout entertainment' for example a Close Hand Magician or Caricaturist.
Close Hand Magicians are great because they subtly mingle in with your guests, come up to small crowds of people and draw in other guests to watch. This means that by the end of the trick all the guests should be left laughing and commenting 'how did they do that!' with someone they do not really know, in effect breaking the ice.
Caricaturists do the same thing with the added bonus that you're left with a gift to put above the computer at work.
Entertainment after the main meal
It's sometimes a fun idea to have a surprise element to your evening and what better way to do it than by having your waiters who have been quietly serving you all night suddenly break into song!
This will delight all your guests, make them laugh and stop people talking shop at the end of the meal.
Main Christmas party entertainment
This is the most exciting party of the entertainment, the main event! Will it be a Christmas party band or a DJ, or if you can afford it, both.
A Christmas party band adds a great live feel and if they're good, they have the immediate effect of getting every dancing. A DJ will do the same but with the added bonus that they generally play for longer, although it can be a bit cheesier and generally it will take people longer to get up and dance.
Other Christmas party entertainment ideas
Other ideas include Casinos and Belly Dancers which can be great if you have mainly male guests. Henna artists, Butlers in the Buff and Chocolate Fountains are all better for female guests unless everyone is on a diet!
Remember, when you're guests are leaving the event, the largest talking point is not the food, decorations, venue or the staff, it's the entertainment.