Don’t look now, but the fiscal fourth quarter is just around the corner, and somewhere within those final three months, thousands of companies, large and small, are calendaring their annual holiday parties! Experienced corporate holiday planning professionals insist that planning ahead is the key to creating a great holiday party, and a memorable corporate occasion that can actually improve morale and productivity. However, many corporations wait until the last minute to begin planning their parties.

“We see it every year. People call us up in mid-December, requesting a full holiday party package. I tell them, ‘Why didn’t you call me in October? I can’t find any Santa Clauses at this late date. I’m sorry,” said Robin Charin, CEO of R.T. Clown, Inc., a holiday and event planning firm headquartered in Manhattan Beach, CA.  Robin and her firm have spent the past 32 years perfecting the event planning business throughout Southern California, including spearheading holiday parties for United and Delta Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott International hotels, and The Jonathan Club and The Beach Club. A big part of her company’s success comes down to meticulous planning.

According to Robin, nearly 85 percent of all companies in the United States already have a budget in place for holiday parties. By getting organized early, office party planners can stretch their budget, and get the most out of their holiday event.

“But apart from that, good planning just translates to good times!” said Robin.

To assist you on getting a jump on your next holiday party, R.T. Clown Inc. offers this quick holiday checklist to help you get better organized.

A Good List for Checking Twice

What Type of Party Are You Planning?

Make sure your company is clear on what kind of party you will be hosting. Will it be a Christmas party, or will it be a less traditional holiday party?

Decide on a Budget

Always decide how much you can afford to spend on your holiday office party. This will be critical when making all subsequent decisions.

Guest List

Will your party be only for employees only, or are spouses and significant others invited as well? (Remember this item will impact your budget.)

Setting a Date and Choosing a Venue

Start by calling around different venues that are in close proximity to your company and staff.

Entertainment and Special Events

One of the most important services a professional holiday planning firm can provide is organizing quality and reliable entertainment. This can mean booking authentically bearded Santa Clauses, great bartenders, or even magicians. Whatever entertainment you plan on including in your holiday party, make sure you book it as early as possible. Many companies coordinate a motivational speaker or award ceremony with a look-alike celebrity as a unique twist to their holiday parties. Again, plan as early as possible.

Decide on a Dress Code

Whether casual or formal, make sure you inform guests on what the dress code will be.

Plan the Night’s Itinerary

R.T. Clown Inc. always creates a storyline for every single one of their events. According to Robin, not having an itinerary or plan for a holiday party is like putting a bunch of actors together without a script. Therefore, she insists on creating a detailed itinerary for all of her contracted holiday parties, including cocktail and dinner times and detailed times for guest speakers and entertainers.

Make Sure You Have Fun!

Make sure you celebrate the holiday season with your staff and clients.