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  • Mary Windham

Holiday Event Planning

From the Desk of Mary

Event Manager - Entrepreneur - Adventurer

The holiday season is here!

Whether you’re celebrating with friends or colleagues, planning the perfect holiday event is full of joy. You can choose in-person with your nearest and dearest, virtual with folks celebrating around the world, or a hybrid mix of both. Today, you have more options than ever to create an unforgettable event, so we’ve put together the steps you’ll take to design the ultimate holiday gathering.

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Audience

Before you dive into planning, it's essential to clearly define your goals and understand your audience. Consider:

Purpose: What's the main objective of your holiday event? Is it to foster connections, celebrate achievements, or simply enjoy the holiday season?

Audience: Who will be attending? Are they colleagues, clients, friends, partners, employees, or a mix?

Virtual, In-Person, or Hybrid: Choose the format that suits your goals and audience best. In-person gatherings offer a personal touch, while virtual events provide flexibility. Hybrid events combine the best of both worlds.

Step 2: Budget and Resources

Once you've established your goals, create a budget and allocate resources accordingly. Make sure you consider the costs associated with your venue, technology, catering, entertainment, and decorations.

Step 3: Plan the Details

Poor planning can take your event from nice to naughty faster than Santa gets down a chimney, so make sure you’re taking the time to fully prepare Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

In-Person Events

  • Venue Selection: Choose a location that aligns with your event's theme and size.

  • Decorations: Create a festive atmosphere with fun, holiday-themed decor. Google low-cost solutions if you have the time but not the budget.

  • Catering: Ensure your menu accommodates dietary preferences and matches the tone of the event (breakfast, hors d'oeuvres only, buffet dinner, etc.).

  • Entertainment: Arrange live music, games, or other forms of entertainment.

  • Safety: Don’t skimp on safety measures to ensure the wellbeing of your guests, like vaccination requirements, clear and safe pathways, and emergency plans.

Virtual Events

  • Technology: Invest in reliable video conferencing platforms, high-quality audio and visuals, and tech support. High-speed integration and an engaging platform will make or break your event.

  • Engagement: Use interactive features like breakout rooms, chat, and Q&A to keep participants engaged, and check out these 7 easy virtual holiday activities!

  • Virtual Background: Encourage attendees to use festive virtual backgrounds to create a holiday atmosphere.

  • Timeliness: Keep the event running smoothly by adhering to a schedule and offering multiple activities throughout the event.

Hybrid Events

  • Combine elements from both in-person and virtual planning.

  • Use a well-equipped venue for in-person attendees, ensuring the event is accessible to virtual participants.

  • Consider event streaming, simultaneous in-person and virtual entertainment, and clear communication between the two groups. Offer special in-person only and virtual only offerings so no one feels left out.

Step 4: Engaging Activities

The success of any holiday event lies in keeping participants engaged and entertained. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Games: Plan traditional holiday games, virtual trivia, or interactive activities.

  • Secret Santa: Organize a gift exchange, either in-person or via mail for virtual attendees.

  • Guest Speakers: Invite inspirational or high-energy speakers to share their wisdom.

  • Live Music: Engage a local band, soloist, or DJ for entertainment.

  • Interactive Workshops: Host DIY workshops, like wreath-making, cocktail mixing, or cookie decorating.

Step 5: Promote and Communicate

Spread the word about your holiday event through various channels. Create enticing invitations and graphics, use social media posts, and send frequent reminders and updates to ensure maximum attendance.

Step 6: Post-Event Follow-Up

The final step is to follow up with your attendees. Send out thank you messages, share event photos, and gather feedback to improve future gatherings.

We know you can craft a memorable and enjoyable experience that will leave your guests looking forward to your holiday event year after year. But if you need some help, just let us know - Occasions, Inc is here to help you spread the holiday cheer and help you have the best in-person, virtual, or hybrid event. Happy planning and happy holidays!


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