7 Easy Steps to Organize a Low Stress, High Fun Holiday Party!

I don't know about you but one of the hardest things I find about being a coach is that I spend far too much time alone in my home-office. And then when I'm out professionally I  feel like I have to be on my 'best behaviour'.

While I recognize this is a gremlin - we are still ambassadors both for our businesses AND the coaching profession. I'm reminded of Eckhart Tolle relating how someone had chided him (in Starbucks I think) - for being both a spiritual leader AND drinking coffee…

When it comes to holiday parties we often feel obliged to go when we're tired and would rather have a night in, but instead end up making small talk with people we barely know or like. Wouldn't it be nice to have a holiday party with people we can really relax with AND with whom we can celebrate another year of hard work, dedication and learning?

Well, you can. You just need to organize it yourself - and it can be a lot easier to do than you think. For the last 5 years I have made a list of people whose company I really enjoy AND who don't have a 'corporate' holiday party to go to. These include fellow coaches, small business owners and solo/entrepreneurs. To make my list they must be people who inspire me, make me laugh or leave me feeling great after I have spent time with them. You can also include people you'd like to get to know more!

7 Steps to organize a low stress, high fun holiday party!

  1. Pick a date that works for YOU -  make sure you don't have anything important to do afterwards so you can really relax and switch off (I choose a late Friday afternoon a week or so before Christmas).
  2. Pick a venue that will be glad of your business - small restaurants, coffee-shops and businesses just starting out are great (you could also do it at home of course, but then you have to do the clean-up!)
  3. Pick an off-peak time so that the venue won't be too fussed about getting exact numbers from you. NB. Don't use anywhere that wants a per-person deposit or exact numbers.
  4. Email everyone the date a few weeks before (so about now!) and ask for a Yes-No-Maybe reply. NB. It's the time of year when people are super-busy so even if only a few people can make it remember small can make for a more intimate and memorable event.
  5. Also include on your invite:
    1) Your INTENT for the holiday gathering.
    2) If there is a dress code. I live on a small island and like to encourage people to dress up as we have so few 'opportunities'. But perhaps you and your crowd would relish the opportunity to 'come as you are' or make it fun by asking people to wear one sparkly item (could even be tinsel or accessories!)
    3) If there a gift-exchange. You can avoid 'commercialism' by having a 'no new purchases' rule - gifts must be either home-made/baked, a 'regift' or vintage. Another idea is for everyone to offer time/help (eg. an hour of help organizing, massage or a coaching session) Get creative here!
  6. When booking, give a number range (say 15-20) and ask if you can firm up numbers a few days before. This helps reduce the stress that comes from chasing people to get exact numbers.
  7. Then a week or so before, email everyone again, ask for a commitment and update the venue with numbers. And you're done!

NB. If you're planning on drinking alcohol, arrange for a ride home well in advance, or plan on getting a taxi (I arrange for my husband to pick me up weeks before!)

Now all you need to do is show-up, let go of expectations - and enjoy whatever comes!

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Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

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