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Unwrapped: What does the corporate Christmas party look like in 2023?

It might be December, but as everyone starts to ease into the festive season, the BeaconHouse team has been working hard to bring Christmas celebrations with a difference to life for teams across the North East.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve loved bringing festive celebrations to life for our clients Opencast, CF Fertilisers, and Groundworks, partnering with their teams to bring on the Christmas cheer, celebrate their hard work in 2023, and say thank you to their talented people. The Christmas party has changed a lot and, in recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the festive trends as people look to end the year with more unique and diverse experiences beyond the traditional boozy night out. Companies are increasingly focusing on creating more inclusive, mindful, and memorable experiences for their employees during the holiday season. Here are just some of the trends that are shaping the work Christmas “does” this year…


  1. Alcohol-free Fun

Over the last year, there has been a surge in demand for spaces and experiences that aren’t centered on booze, and the corporate Christmas party is no different. Whether it is for health reasons, driving, recovery, or simply because they don’t fancy the hangover, there are lots of reasons why some colleagues might not be drinking. This year we’ve seen more companies shift the focus away from alcohol by offering delicious mocktails that are just as fun as the real thing, having food as the focus of the event, and hosting the event in an unusual venue where alcohol wouldn’t be expected (think art galleries, museums, and even ice rinks!).

  1. Sustainable Secret Santa

The Christmas party is a hotbed of single-use plastics and Secret Santa presents which will probably end up in the office bin come January. With more companies taking their ESG commitments seriously, there has been a rise in investment in sustainable decorations that can be used year after year, carbon-neutral activities, and gifts that don’t cost the Earth. Our favourites recently have been sets of beautifully boxed up, locally sourced sweets that guests could take up and enjoy with their families.

  1. Ditch the dodgy playlists

As much as we love him in the BeaconHouse office, do we need to hear another Michael Buble song? Businesses are upping the entertainment value at Christmas parties with everything from live bands to professional DJs for the night owls and even midnight karaoke booths. At the Opencast party this year we enlisted the help of the Guacamaya Latin Band to get people up on the dance floor while a 360 photo booth captured the best poses of the night, just like on the red carpet.

  1. Unique experiential activities

Christmas only comes around once a year, and more businesses are exploring unique experiential activities that offer employees the opportunity to create lasting memories over the festive season, rather than the same old, same old. This could be anything from cooking classes, craft workshops, escape room challenges, or outdoor adventures that encourage team bonding and creativity!

  1. Ban the beige buffet

We’re on a mission to banish the soggy turkey sandwich and cold quiche and give employees a real treat. Street food is a great option for people can enjoy while they mingle, and there are some fantastic options to choose from in 2023. Think artisan pizza vans, midnight fish and chips, or waffle stalls, we’re spoilt for choice here in the North East.

  1. Reflection

This year has been tough for businesses, and their people. With the cost of living crisis, supply chain issues, and rise in energy prices, there have been some real challenges to navigate over the last twelve months. Rather than the office awards that would make David Brent blush, this year businesses have been opting to reflect on the year past and say meaningful thank you’s to their teams for their hard work and perseverance. This could be through a video round-up of the year’s highlights to remind everyone of what they have achieved or a surprise for the team to say a real heartfelt thank you.

  1. Giving back

Businesses are at the heart of local communities, and the Christmas party has become an opportunity to focus on corporate social responsibility during the holiday season. Alongside traditional get-togethers, organisations are opting to organise volunteer activities or engage in charitable giving as a way to celebrate the festive season. This might involve initiatives such as organising a company-wide volunteering day at a local charity, conducting a donation drive, or supporting a community cause, creating a sense of purpose, and giving people that warm fuzzy feeling that we want at this time of year.

  1. Inclusive and diverse experiences

Our workplaces are becoming more diverse, and we have to take into consideration the wide range of people who want to have a good time with their colleagues at Christmas, without feeling like the odd one out. This could mean starting the celebrations in the afternoon so working parents can still join in before bedtime, recognising other multicultural holidays as well as Christmas and incorporating traditions from other cultures, or letting people customise their experience around their preferences instead of making the whole event mandatory from start to finish.

In short, we’re seeing that alongside the opportunity to let their hair down and celebrate a busy year, clients are opting for festive celebrations that reflect a broader shift towards more inclusive, mindful, and diverse experiences that prioritise employee well-being, social responsibility, and individual preferences. By embracing these trends, we can create meaningful and engaging events that resonate with everyone in the business and contribute to a positive and inclusive workplace culture across the whole year.

We’d love to hear from you about bringing your team together in a meaningful and fun way next year. To speak to our team contact or call 0191 6913456.