The silly season has arrived in Australia and for companies all around the country it’s time for the office Christmas party.
Whether your company goes the whole hog with a themed party or for a more laid back approach with some beers and a BBQ, it’s generally a great time to catch up with co-workers, look back at the year, get a break from the standard work environment.
This year we asked successful entrepreneurs what they were doing for their teams to celebrate the festive holiday.
From jet boat rides, treasure hunts, dress ups and DIY card making (yes really), here are how these entrepreneurs will be showing their appreciation to their teams for their hard work throughout the year.
Sharon Zeev Poole, Managing Director of Agent99 Public Relations, has an afternoon of cupcakes and shopping planned for her team.
This year the day will start with the entire team having gourmet pizza ordered to the office, then, they will wander down to the nearby Sparkle Cupcake and do a cupcake making course. Following the course, the team will jump in a cab to Bondi Junction and will be given an hour and a half to split up and spend a Westfield Voucher, which was will be the teams Christmas present from Sharon. The day will end with the team meeting back up at El Topo for dinner where they will do show and tell with their purchases followed by dinner and cocktails to celebrate the end of the year.
Vaughan plans to dress up as Santa Claus and join the Auckland and Wellington teams on a river cruise to a remote location in northwest New Zealand.
He says, 'Our New Zealand Christmas parties have always involved water – unintentionally at first, but now its tradition. Whether it’s on Waiheke an island in Auckland harbour, at the beach or on a river we always hold it near water. This relates to Vend's roots in New Zealand, celebrating our geography, and our culture of enjoying non-work time.'
A children’s Christmas party will also be held to cater for team members and their families. “It will be heaps of fun and Santa will make a special appearance and give presents to all the children,” Vaughan enthuses.
The Melbourne Venders are enjoying a day on the beach followed by a cruise along the Yarra River.
The Braintree team will be celebrating in the ‘co-working’ spaces that they are located in.
Staff will participate in Ping Pong tournaments, 'Pin the funding’ on the Start Up, and have some beers provided by our good friends at beerbud.com.au and ready2drink.com.au.
Importantly, we will be celebrating the ‘new economy’ and those who want to be part of it.
John Winning, CEO at the Winning Group will set of some firework and feast on Winning's 'famous' roast chicken.
We hold a Christmas Party each year with fireworks however we also celebrate with the team working on Christmas day. As a family owned business, we value the importance of friends and family during the holidays and our annual Christmas lunch has become a much celebrated tradition.
Because our customer support is 24/7 every day of the year, myself and Peter Harris, COO of Appliances Online come into the office and cook lunch for our staff that work on the day. The team are encouraged to bring along friends and family and each year I make my famous roast chicken.
Karen Lawson, CEO of CareerOne has plans to keep it low key for Chrissy this year with the 'big staff event' planned for the New Year.
I started a tradition last year with the whole business which is a twist on secret Santa (more like stealing Santa), each person is able to chose a present or 'steal' an opened one if they like the look of it. It's hilarious to see an otherwise collaborative bunch of people hide, pinch and stitch up one another! We are keeping drinks low key this year and will kick off 2015 with 'THE BIG EVENT' for our company.
Milan Direct threw its annual Christmas party early this year in November, so we can focus on our customers and getting products out as quickly as possible in December. We had a fun day out with a pretty competitive game of lawn bowls. We will however have Santa pay a visit in a few weeks to hand out much anticipated Kris Kringles which is always a lot of fun.
Being an online business Milan Direct never closes, so we will be working right up until New Years, and will most likely end the year with a few celebratory beers as a team, for a very successful 2014!
We are celebrating at The Cut - one of Sydney's best steak houses.
We do a Kris Kringle competition which is always a little bit of fun, but the only problem being that everyone tends to give each other a Clipp promo code!
I love the Christmas and summer holidays as it provides an opportunity for the whole team to take a break and reinvigorate for the year ahead.
Every year we decorate our office on 1 December. We’ve got our Christmas party on the 12th this year the and we don't want to give too much away because it’s a surprise for the staff!
However, last year we ran a Spring Carnival themed party where our staff bet on eWAY themed horses that were matched to actual race day replays. Everyone dressed in race themed outfits and we gave out prizes for the best dressed people. One of our staff member is a also professional magician and he did a great performance piece using original compositions!
Gabby Leibovich, co-founder of the Catch Group is throwing a hip hop themed staff party, with a touch of white.
Our end of year celebrations are always huge – with a big emphasis on fun. We fly in staff from our other offices in Sydney and Brisbane, so it’s a great opportunity to bring the Catch family together and immerse them in our culture.
This year we have booked an amazing space on the Yarra River in Melbourne and are holding a hip hop themed party, with a dress code to wear a touch of white. Our parties get bigger and bigger every year.
In 2009 we 'celebrated' by going bowling (and pizza) with our 15 staff members. Now we have over 300 attending!
Andre Eikmeier, co-CEO of Vinomofo will be taking his team to Ladyboy in Melbourne and will shout 'some pretty amazing wines'.
We'll be taking the whole day of Friday 19th off. The morning will consist of a Krug breakfast, and the Mofo Awards, where people in the team will be recognised for their awesomeness, and how they've exemplified our credo. Also some less serious awards. Then it's off to lunch, we've hired out a cool Thai garden restaurant called Ladyboy in Melbourne, and we've got some pretty amazing wines we're bringing in. And then in the afternoon it'll be off to the pub for most of us, I imagine!
Last Christmas we were 20, this year it's 52, so we've graduated from booking a large table to booking a small venue, which will be interesting. We're flying the whole Adelaide crew over as well, so we'll all be together. Fun!
Rachael Neumann, managing director of Eventbrite is taking her team on a group cooking event in the new year.
When the dust settles after the New Years the Eventbrite Australia team will come together to celebrate 2014's accomplishments and the opportunities ahead for us in 2015.
Eventbrite helps bring people together through live events and experiences, its only fitting that as a team we come together and celebrate, through a shared experience too.
The Eventbrite team considers themselves serious foodies, so we will most likely book in for a group a cooking event at the 2015 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
We are having a Christmas party with a Western theme: for a stomping good hoe-down!
Everyone is to grab their boots and saddle up for a ride out to the Lone Star Tavern for a wild western Christmas show-down. Dress up is compulsory from Saloon Madames, to Cowboys and Sheriffs. There is a reward for the best boot-scootin smokin hot giddy up costume!
All partners are invited and there will be live entertainment (Rootin, Tootin, Hootin band) and bucking bronco's and dancers for the trill.
We are also handing out awards for the Team player of the year and Biggest contributor of the year.
The OneShift team will be having secret santa, drinks and some super competitive ping pong at the office, following lunch at a venue that has been a long time user of our service. Sitting around the table and sharing a meal is the best way to spend time with the team — especially when we all love food!
Alec Lynch is the CEO and co-founder of DesignCrowd is taking his team on a cruise around Sydney Harbour.
DesignCrowd has had a great year — To celebrate this and say 'thank you' to our awesome team, we're taking the team on a cruise around Sydney Harbour for Christmas. This will entail cruising on the harbour, tweeting 'I'm on a boat', laser clay pigeon shooting (off the boat), champagne, 'Bad Santa' and, as the after party, drinks at Sky Terrace.
We've gone high-tech for Christmas, with the entire team getting 3D-printed 'Mini-Me' figurines of themselves.
They came in to do full 3D body scans of each team member, which takes about 5 minutes — it's not easy staying still for that long!
We'll use the scans for an upcoming marketing campaign but the figurines themselves will live in our office.
We'll also be doing a Yankee Swap style Secret Santa and in true CoinJar style, we're having a low-key BBQ and beer get together to celebrate a huge year.
Alexandra Tselios, founder of The Big Smoke, will be celebrating with her team in Surry Hills on a Sunday afternoon.
Because The Big Smoke team predominantly work remotely, we rarely get together as an entire team so this Christmas I will be gathering everyone together on a Sunday afternoon the week of Christmas for drinks at one of my favourite bars in Surry Hills.
We will have our writers, stakeholders and friends who have supported us there. Back in the office, we will have Queen's Thank God it's Christmas playing on repeat, and even though we don’t play games per say I’ll enjoy force feeding everyone my watermelon, cucumber and fetta cheese salad.
Conrad Bates and Cameron Wall, managing partners of C3 Business Solutions are taking their team on a high speed jet boat ride.
Each year C3 Business Solutions hosts a company-wide C3 Summit and Christmas celebration. C3 employees from all around the country will fly to Sydney this year for a two day conference that focuses on learning and development, helps reflect upon and celebrate the past year and plan for the year ahead. The final night of the Summit is C3’s Christmas celebration, which always incorporates a sit down dinner to enable and encourage networking and team bonding.
This year, the C3 team is holding it’s Christmas celebration on a glass boat in Sydney Harbour. For a little extra thrill seeking activity, the team will be firing lasers off the upper deck and heading out on jet boat rides around the harbour. There is also a photo booth with dress ups for the C3 team to capture their sillier sides.
C3 is also initiating a slightly unusual Kris Kringle or Secret Santa; the premise is the same (randomly nominated colleagues for gift buying which remains anonymous) but the $50 gift budget is paid for by the company. Rather than simply buying Christmas gifts for each of their team, Conrad and Cameron believe this approach involves everyone from all offices in the process and gets the team into the spirit. One of the partners will be on hand at the Christmas celebration to dress as Santa and deliver the gifts.
Christian Mischler, cofounder and COO of HotelQuickly and his team will be making DIY holiday cards.
We're throwing our inaugural holiday party at HotelQuickly's new office to celebrate the great year we've had.
We'll be inviting partners, friends, and family to come check out our office, listen to festive music, and make DIY holiday cards with special HotelQuickly vouchers to share the gift of spontaneous, last-minute travel.
We have a few other tricks up our sleeve, but I can't spoil the holiday surprise early, of course.
We're flying in our team members from the US office and having a big, cross-Pacific Christmas party - to make the best of the hot Christmas and the Sydney summer, we're having a pop-up picnic in Lavender bay park.
There will be special 'green' Invoice2go cocktails, made by one of our team who has a special talent for mixing drinks, and speedboat tours of the harbour are also on offer!
This year the Tinybeans Team celebrated the holidays early before their CEO Eddie Geller, moves to New York mid-December.
They locked themselves away together - literally - by doing an Escape Hunt in Sydney where the aim of the game is to solve clues and break out of a locked room faster than the other teams. Things got competitive pretty fast between co-founders Stephen O’Young and Sarah-Jane Kurtini. The odds were strongly in favour of the technology team, only to see victory snatched away from them at the last minute.
The team then headed down to The Slip Inn for margaritas and Mexicana to celebrate their year.
We have all sorts of people in the OpenAgent team, from software developers to sales guys. But everyone loves a summer BBQ.
We tend to pick somewhere spectacular and set up a tarp, food, eskis (of course), and lots of floating toys to lie about on.
We find the relaxed vibe, a few beverages, and some beach cricket if we are in the mood helps everyone celebrate the end of another huge year.
Danny Gorog, director and co-founder of Outware Mobile, will be taking his team on an Amazing Race around Melbourne.
Outware is going on an Amazing Race this year for our Christmas party. We'll be running around the streets of Melbourne in teams to complete a number of fun tasks. The team that completes the course first wins. It will be a great bonding exercise and all three directors will be participating. It's about letting everyone have fun while they get to know people from across the business that they might not normally work with.
I've been kept in the dark as to the exact activities so that I don't get an advantage over anyone else, but I suspect we'll be asked to eat something unusual or wear something embarrassing during the race. At the end of the day, we'll have a great dinner waiting for us. I'm really looking forward to it.
Alexis Soulopoulos, CEO of Mad Paws, will be throwing a staff Christmas party at the beach and everyone is bringing their pups.
This year, Mad Paws will be holding a Christmas beach party. Given that pets are at the core of every one of Mad Paws’ business decisions, we’ll be catering to our furry friend as much as we will to their owners.
Pets are our way of maximising office culture; they bring staff together and are great for morale. The Mad Paws team, angel investors and some of the VIP customers and users who have become friends have all been invited to the beach party, and they’ll all bring along their pets!
We have also asked everyone to come dressed in a Christmas outfit, the funnier the better! We’ll have pet toys & doggie treats, baby pools, picnic blankets, a DJ and, of course, an extravagant BBQ for the humans. This, ladies & gentlemen, is going to be a Mad party.
Our Christmas Party was held on Saturday on a five acre property in Mapleton. All our team were invited as well as partners and children.
The day started at 2.00pm with walks on the property, playing active games, music, karaoke and a massive bonfire. The food was specific - healthy, grain free, free from any fake additives which of course follows the culture of Changing Habits. We then had everyone open up and swap their Kris Kringles for the year.
Some of the team slept over and we woke to a healthy breakfast.
A family orientated Christmas party, classic of Changing Habits.
Edward Thirlwall, CEO of Supercheap Storage, is keeping it simple with his Sydney team but is also sending staff Christmas hampers.
Unfortunately as our franchisees are all over the country it’s hard to get together for Christmas and with December being one of our busier months we don’t get much down time.
Our Sydney staff however are going to Da Mario in Rosebery for lunch – it has all of our favourite things rolled into one – pizza, birra and gelato.
We do only work a half day that day and will spend the rest of the day eating, drinking and celebrating the year that was. We will also be sending our franchisees Christmas themed hampers.”
Cade Witnish, co-founder of Loud&Clear, has also planned an Amazing Race style staff Christmas party.
The party will start with a fairly tame office ping pong match over a few drinks and nibbles, before progressing to challenges at the Ice Bar and potentially sumo wrestling in the park.
Employees will then be split into 4 teams of 5 to take part in the ultimate team building exercise, an Amazing Race throughout Melbourne’s CBD.
Daniel Flynn, co-founder and managing director of Thankyou is keeping it relaxed with a low-key dinner and Christmas sweaters.
We've had another big season of growth at Thankyou this year, and I'm really looking forward to getting together with the team to reflect on our successes.
Over the last few years we've had Christmas parties with some pretty crazy dress up themes, but this time around we'll be keeping it relaxed with dinner at a low-key restaurant in Prahran.
We're getting everyone to bring along photos to remind us of the year that's been, and knowing our team, there'll be a fair few hideous Christmas sweaters (and laughs) involved.