Get your festive season off to the right start with the ultimate office Christmas meal out…
A Christmas meal out with your colleagues can be the perfect antidote to a full-blown office party. It’s more casual and inclusive — and a lot less stressful to organise.
So how do you go about organising the perfect office Christmas meal out? Here’s our guide to planning your festive feast…
The first step is picking a date. The earlier you can do this, the better: it’s hard enough to pin down a group of people at the best of times, but it’s especially difficult in the run up to Christmas, when social calendars are packed full of meet-ups and late night shopping trips.
Pick a date that’s close enough to Christmas that everyone is feeling festive but not so close that half the office has already checked out for the holidays. An evening after work is generally the best bet as some colleagues may not want to travel in specially for the occasion. Aim for later in the week – no one likes being hungover in the office on a Tuesday morning!
Send out a quick email survey with two or three potential dates to gauge everyone’s availability and then go with majority rules. Once you’ve chosen, send out a ‘save the date’ so your colleagues don’t double book.
Do you have a team ‘social’ budget to spend on the meal? Or is it every man/woman for themselves?
If you have a budget work out how much it allows per person, factoring in a couple of drinks, and you’ll know where you can afford to host the meal. If it’s ‘pay for yourself’ don’t choose a restaurant that’s going to bankrupt half the office.
Once you have your chosen date and budget it’s time to pick a restaurant. Places fill up quick around Christmas so, again, the early bird catches the festive worm.
You don’t have to stick to a traditional turkey dinner. Ideally you want to find somewhere interesting and fresh but not so out-there that it alienates half your colleagues. When it comes to location, bear in mind that some people are not going to want to schlep out to somewhere remote.
Look for a place that is group friendly. Avoid that tiny, romantic bistro your partner took you to for your last anniversary but also steer clear of places that could be too noisy: group meals are all about the conversation – you shouldn’t have to shout “what?!?” every time the person next to you asks a question.
Special dietary requirements?
Vegan? Gluten-free? Nut allergy? Chances are at least one person in your team will have special dietary requirements. When you send the ‘save the date’ ask people to respond with any dietary needs to make sure you have everyone covered.
If anyone has a requirement not covered on the menu of your chosen location, call the restaurant to make sure they won’t be disappointed (or end up in A&E because it turns out that curry contained a hint of peanut butter).
The whole idea of the office Christmas outing is to get people in the festive spirit. It’s the little extras that will make your meal a success. Think crackers, snazzy Xmas jumpers and Secret Santa. Set the mood and loosen everyone up with a festive mulled wine, some appetisers and a Christmas-themed game or quiz in the office before you leave for the restaurant.