5 Fabulously Festive Year-End Functions

We are heading into the second half of the year, which means the race to the end of the year is on, and so is the year-end company party. What? Are we thinking of this in September already? The answer is a resounding YES!

If you want your event to be epic, you are going to need to put in some planning and get a little creative. Your efforts will show and be appreciated. But a last-minute thrown together mash-up? That’s going to put a dent in your rep. So let’s start working on getting you that end of year festivity that scores a winner.

First things first, you need to know your budget, and you need to know your people. With these two factors firmly at the forefront, you can begin organising an office extravaganza for the ages!

Although a Bridget Jones-style karaoke is always on the cards - and would doubtless be memorable - there are other awesome ideas you could use to give your colleagues a Christmas send-off to remember. And to help, we’ve put together some ideas to inspire you. They range from true, tried and tested to new kids on the block:

Scavenger hunt

Things become classics because they work. And the scavenger hunt is a perfect example of this, a time-honoured tradition involving finding items or completing tasks. They are also great options for company parties, and you can theme it for the end-of-year function around a Christmas theme or anything that strikes your fancy!

You can go full DIY and make your own hunt. You’ll need to compile a list of activities - be they items to find/tasks to complete/photos or videos to take - set a time limit and offer a prize for the winner. You may want to include a bonus challenge where people are awarded for extra creativity - for example; they can video the weirdest hairstyle they can come up with, fit an extraordinary number of people in the toilet cubicle, take the scariest faces photo and so on.

There are also plenty of apps to help you create a more tech-savvy experience. Groups will need one smartphone between them and wi-fi or data. The apps are not free and do cost, so do your research before opening your wallet. Some apps out there are Goose Chase and Scavify - although there are plenty more! Basically, you can set up tasks, track group progress and the leaderboard in real-time, include incentives (complete task x and win a box of chocolates) analyse results, save photo/video/text submissions for viewing later in a slide show. Or you could try Google’s Emoji Scavenger Hunt where people use their smartphones to access the site and try to find real-world examples on which the emojis are based in 20 seconds.

Comedy show/storytelling

You can’t go far wrong with some light entertainment. Consider hiring a comedian for your end-of-year event. They needn’t be the big names in the business, just do a background check and ensure they come recommended by reliable sources.

As an alternative to a comedian, you might consider a storyteller. If they are good, storytellers can weave magic with their word - and considering the festive time of year; we think a little storytelling fits in splendidly!

Murder mystery night

Ah, the good old murder mystery! Who doesn’t like a game of Cluedo? No one! And a murder mystery evening is like a real-sized version of the classic game. Your attendees will be participants with assigned roles; there are clues to be had along the way and oodles of opportunity for fun and fiasco. Depending on the size of your guest-list, you might have to break into manageable groups - say for instance that you have 50 attendees, then each table of 10 runs their own murder mystery and you’ll have five little games going simultaneously. Nothing like murder and mayhem to end the year on a high note.

You can also make like Angela Lansbury and pen your own Murder She Wrote. But be warned - this will take time and precision, so be very sure you can dedicate enough effort and creativity to the task. Otherwise, have a look at the following free DIY options from The Spruce to help you on your way to hosting your own murder mystery.

If you want to hand the whole crime off to a third suspect… there are also companies that run professional murder mystery nights for corporate events. A quick online search came up with the likes of South African Murder Mysteries, Virtuoso and Be a Part of the Mystery amongst others. Do a background check on any company you might want to hire, gets some recommendations and then select a team that’ll handle the whole thing for you!

Escape games

For the puzzlers out there, the escape the room craze is a sure-fire winner. Working in small groups to solve intricate problems and win your way free from captivity. This can be time-consuming to set up, but it’s a whole heap of fun if it’s done right. Make sure your groups are small - around five people per group, and ensure that the clues and tasks are challenging but at the same time doable and make sense.

Have a look on Instructables for an escape game run through. You can glean some great ideas on where to hide items at Game Gal and more escape ideas and downloadable kits at Lock Paper Scissors.

Open-air entertainment

As we are in South Africa and enjoy the very best weather towards the end of the year, let’s not forget all the outside activities that are on offer. Get your groups out into the fresh air to enjoy a balmy company picnic, or initiate some healthy competition with an obstacle course (don’t forget to take slo-mo video on your smartphone for the after activity feedback - it’ll be hilarious!).

If there are facilities nearby (like we have in the Midlands!), the group is small, and you know it is something your team would love to do, you could organise horse-riding, kayaking, hot air-ballooning, zip-lining or other awesome outdoor activities.

Or perhaps your colleagues are the more sedate bunch who’d like nothing more than kicking back with a bowl of popcorn and watching a little cinematic magic under the moonlight. Then all you need do is organise an outdoor movie night. You’ll need a large enough screen and a projector, or you can hire an inflatable mobile cinema, then seating - outdoor folding chairs, bean bags and picnic blankets are all options. And the movie? Keep it simple with broad appeal. It could be a creature feature classic like Jaws, a cringe-worthy comedy along the lines of There’s Something About Mary or a feel-good film like Seabiscuit. Send out a predetermined list to the office and get votes on which film they would like to watch. Make sure there are stacks of popcorn, and you are good to go.

And there you have it…

You know your company, so pick a theme that’ll best suit your people and give them a fantastic end of the year treat that not only rewards them for a year of service but also sets a high note for the beginning of the coming year.

Speak to the Conference Team at Brahman Hills about your company event - no matter how big or small, they have fun ideas for them all! Happy planning!

The Brahman Hills Team
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