At the heart of any successful company or office Christmas party is great food and drink. Usually the hardest part of planning a party is what to serve. Some parties feature appetizers, some offer full sit-down meals, and others will have a buffet that could include separate stations for each food type i.e. a salad, meat, seafood or dessert stations.

Keep in mind that the time of day your party is planned for will directly affect the type of service and quantity of food required and staff expectations. But…the most important factor that will dictate the style of catering you choose is your budget.

Holding your office Christmas party on-site means you’ll need to keep in mind that the space available will dictate the style of service you choose. A sit down dinner requires room for tables and chairs. Be certain your budget will accommodate this style because you will need to hire serving staff.

A buffet style gathering will require tables for catering equipment and if you choose to have traditional turkey or roast beef, space for the chef carving station is a must. Presentation tables for an appetizer party are needed unless you decide to have wait staff serve guests as they mingle. You will still require a preparation area. Your staff kitchen could do the trick for this choice.

If you have to get the most out of a smaller budget, opt for the caterer to drop off your menu choices and then all you’ll need is a table to set up the presentation.

Here are a few more tips to help you plan the perfect office Christmas party that will have everyone talking about it – in the most positive way — for months to come!

  • Know your office food etiquette. If yours is an office of women, serve food that is pretty and always add chocolate something. Perhaps you are a construction company; you will want to fill the gap with delicious home-style portions.
  • Be sensitive. Keep in mind the ethnic and religious requirements of your colleagues.
  • How much food is needed will depend on how many people will attend and the time of your party. Luncheons typically require less food then evening parties.

For a cocktail style party:

  • Light: 3 to 5 pieces
  • Medium cocktail party: 5 to 8 pieces
  • Full meal cocktail party: 8 to 15 pieces.

Dinner style cocktail parties require 15 to 20 pieces per person.

  • Renting China, Glassware, Cutlery will make any party planners life much easier and is eco-friendly. You should be able to rent them from your caterer. If you want disposable, choose a caterer that has eco-friendly items available. Have the order delivered the day before to ensure you are ready for the set up the day of the event. If you are missing items, early delivery gives you time to make wrongs into rights.
  • Double up on everything if you can. People tend to leave their glasses, plates, and cutlery wherever they wander. Plan on having as much as twice the amount as the number of guests.
  • Serving. If you are not hiring serving staff, a buffet is the way to go. Stack plates at the start of the buffet line, and place cutlery and napkins at the end. Guests will then have less to balance while they serve themselves.
  • Consider setting up the food in several spots if you have the space. That way everyone won’t be crowding around the same buffet table at once. Make sure there are plenty of napkins and plates at each station.
  • Choose a theme. You can theme any party from décor to food to menus. How about a Winter Wonderland with an elegant colour theme of purple and gold.
    Fire & Ice: think ice sculptures and icicles combined with fire torches (fake of course!) or candles and a red Christmas tree. Or choose a Victorian Christmas to add warmth and charm to your office gathering. Themed parties add great value that will provide your office with an unforgettable experience.
  • The wow factor. If you have the budget go with butler service and provide your staff with an elegant experience that says they are the best.

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