As the strains of the old Slade song begin to hit our airwaves once more, many people start to panic at the thought of Christmas. Far from being a time of peace and goodwill, it can bring a whole array of stress and panic to many. For the small business owner there is also the issue about the company Christmas do. To do or not to do? That is the question!

Well there may simply not be the money available to do anything in any way lavish – at least not without taking out a small business loan! But if you do nothing at all you risk being labelled a Scrooge, and if you do something obviously cheap in a bid to save money then your staff won’t feel appreciated.

One way out of this dilemma is to host a fun event that people will enjoy and participate in but won’t cost a fortune. Here are five ideas that may help:

  • Use dedicated premises rather than a pub or hotel. If you have a large enough office space or a meeting room then you can cordon that off for the party and decorate it to the hilt! If your business is very small, how about inviting people to your home? If none of these options work then see if you can hire something locally – perhaps a small hall or function room. Look for smaller non-commercial venues that are likely to offer you a good rate.
  • Share the preparation – you do not have to do everything yourself. The more that people get involved in helping the more everyone will enjoy it, even if it’s not an elaborate event. Ask a creative type to sort out the decorations, find the music geek who would just love to do the playlist, and get the live wires to rally the troops to be there – maybe even cajoling them into some kind of fancy dress if this is what people decide!
  • Provide good quality food and drink. Less is more here. Much better to provide smaller quantities of really nice stuff rather than tons of tasteless budget food and cheap plonk. Be creative about your catering. Do you have favours you can call in from friends or family, or perhaps another small business who would do you a good rate. Could you do some of it yourself or are there others in the business who are renowned for a particular signature dish they would love to provide?
  • Presents are a must. If money is a major issue the how about party bags for everyone with small items that need not cost a fortune but will bring a smile to their faces. You could include a scratch card, a new £5 note, sweets, little gadgets – all kinds of things are available. Or for a separate gift how about personalised items such as mugs or T-shirts, or simply wine or chocolates. If you are a bit embarrassed about not spending too much on gifts then also get someone to organise a Secret Santa so everyone gets involved in gift buying and giving – it will be fun and will take the heat off you!
  • If you are very small and your party is going to consist of two or three of you hanging around then you could do something completely different instead such as going to see a film or doing an activity together. Or if you prefer a more traditional party then how about either getting everyone to bring a partner or friend – or even teaming up with another small business so that there are a few more bodies in the room (and someone else to share the costs!).
  • Hopefully some of the above will give you some ideas for a way you can provide a Christmas do without overextending your budget. So when you do hear the inevitable Christmas music, it puts a smile on your face rather than a knot in your stomach!