By December 16, 2014 Read More →

Organising a freelance Christmas party

Freelance Christmas party - balloonsYep, working from home means no annoying colleagues and an escape from the dreaded office politics.

But when the festive season rolls around, you may feel less than celebratory on your own in your home workspace.

So why not organise a get-together for fellow freelancers? Christmas is the perfect excuse to take some time off and meet up for a drink, some food and a good old chat.

Here’s our quick guide to a fabulous freelance Christmas party:

Who to invite and how – who do you want to spend time with? What are your objectives? Don’t invite people just because you feel you should. Maybe there’s somebody you’d like to meet, so take the opportunity to invite them along. At the very least it will get a conversation going.

Float the idea before you commit – is anyone interested? What do they want to spend? Use a tool like Doodle to create a poll to find the best date. Publicise an open event on FB, Twitter and LinkedIn or use Eventbrite to take bookings.

What kind of freelance Christmas party?

This will depend on factors such as the amount of time you can spare to organise it, whether you want to invite only people you already know or are open to all comers, and how much you want to spend.

Going out for a meal

Freelance Christmas party - going out for a meal

The most expensive option, but a good one for a group that’s already connected, maybe meeting on a monthly basis, and wanting a more festive get-together in December.

Things to think about:

1. Venue – are you going to return to an old favourite or check out the latest opening in town? Depends how much uncertainty you want! Even an established well-run place can creak at the seams a bit at busy times.

Request a particular table to avoid being placed in a draught by the door, next to the loos or by the kitchen door.

Popular restaurants get booked up at this time of year, so organise and book your freelance Christmas party early. Lunchtime and early evening tend to be less crowded than dinner and staff less stretched, so you might get better food and service.

2. Payment – find out if you need to pay a deposit, and remember that a service charge may be added for a large group.

What if someone drops out after you’ve confirmed numbers? Will you still have to pay for their meal?

Agree beforehand what people are paying for and whether they’re paying by cash or card. Check if the restaurant is happy to generate lots of bills if guests are all paying separately. Otherwise you can collect the money and pay it all yourself. Don’t forget a tip if there is no service charge.

What’s included – does the restaurant provide hats, crackers, party poppers etc as part of the deal? What’s their attitude to bringing your own?

Freelance Christmas party - meal3. Food – traditional turkey dinner or something different? If there’s a set menu you usually have to choose options in advance, so make a note of people’s choices because they might have forgotten.

4. Transport – how will everyone get there? Is there a non-drinker in the party who could pick up passengers? They could chip in to pay for parking.

Meeting for drinks

Meeting for a drink in the pub, at your home or in your workspace is a more straightforward option.

1. Paying for it – if you’re providing drinks you’re likely to need some contributions, which can be tricky when you know people, let alone strangers.

Patchwork is a site that can be used to collect cash for any occasion or gift. The total cost is broken down into a patchwork of smaller, individually priced pieces, and people choose which particular piece they want to pay for depending on what they can afford and which bit takes their fancy, such as drinks, nibbles, decorations, crackers and so on.

Freelance Christmas party - icebreakers2. Icebreakers – You’re more likely to have people coming along you don’t already know, so you need a way to get people talking. Maybe choose a dress code – everyone comes wearing a hat, a specific colour, a flower or a Christmas jumper!

Remember – whatever kind of freelance Christmas party you decide to organise, make sure you take along plenty of business cards – you never know who you might meet!

What’s that? Oh yes, as an added bonus you might well be able to claim the cost as a business expense. That’s a whole other subject I’m not an expert on so I suggest you check out the Crunch guide 2016 to find out what you’re allowed to claim for your particular business.

Cheers! Enjoy your freelance Christmas party, and don’t forget to comment to tell us how you got on, or if you have any top tips to share.

work from home secrets

Photo credit: Digital Dragonfly Christmas lunch 2014

1 Comment on "Organising a freelance Christmas party"

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  1. tanya says:

    Great ideas, Thanks so much! Its always so stressful planning a get together that everyone will enjoy.