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Believe it or not, yet another year is quickly drawing to a close. As excitement for the approaching holiday season starts to grow, it’s also time to start planning that year-end office function or Christmas party! And if you’re in the mood for something a little out of the ordinary this time around, we’ve put together some suggestions to get you started – from the cute, relaxed and low-key, to the really quirky and out-there ‘do’ with a difference!

Masquerade ball

Ask any group of people how they feel about costume parties, and you’re likely to get wildly different opinions – some people will positively jump up and down with excitement, while others may roll their eyes so hard you worry they’re about to have a seizure.

One option that captures the middle ground nicely is a masquerade ball, where instead of having to go all out in full fancy dress, people simply dress up a little and don whatever mask takes their fancy. Those who want to go wild with their outfits can, and those who don’t are under no obligation. Throw in spouses and partners, some good food and music, and a little glamorous décor, and everyone’s in for a night to remember!

Team picnic and barbeque

If you’ve got a smaller team of employees, then a simple trip out to your nearest park or outdoor venue for a picnic and BBQ can be just the ticket. Encourage staff to bring their kids (and maybe even their dogs!) and you’ve got an awesome, low-key day out which encourages socializing and relaxation. Add in some fun picnic games for a little extra team-building.

‘Celebrate our Journey’ experience – teambuilding with a difference

A great way to engender team spirit and acknowledge the invaluable contribution of each of your employees is by taking some time to reflect back over the year that was. Venues such as Empanda – which host these kinds of events at their beautiful small holding surrounded by mountains and blossoming fruit trees – offer the perfect spot to look back at the major successes, milestones, and challenges of the last 12 months.

Throw in plenty of fun activities, yummy catering and a dash of silly fun, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a really meaningful and bonding experience. You even get a beautifully edited video capturing the day’s merriment to relive back at the office, or share with your customers on your website or social media.

Get active

If your staff is on the young and fit end of the spectrum, then the chance to take part in a physical activity they wouldn’t normally get a chance for can be a great option. A few ideas might include:

  • A group dance lesson
  • Bowling
  • Paintballing or laser tag
  • Horse riding
  • School-style ‘sports day’ event
  • Hiking, orienteering or a wilderness adventure
  • Kayaking, abseiling, surfing lessons, or whatever outdoorsy experiences are on offer in your area

Do some good together

If you’ve had a tough year, then spending some time giving back as a team can be the perfect remedy to create camaraderie, lift spirits, and offer the chance to gain some perspective. The possibilities are endless, but a few examples might be:

  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter for the day
  • Participate in a beach, park or river cleanup
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or night shelter
  • Take part in a charity walk
  • Visit an elderly care center or deliver presents for orphaned kids

Ideally, let your employees know ahead of time that this is the direction you want to go in, so they can nominate and research charities and causes which are close to their hearts. You could even ditch the Secret Santa this year, instead all contributing the standard maximum gift value, matched by the company, to a worthy cause.

Get out and about

No matter where you live, there are probably plenty of local attractions you’ve always meant to see but just never got around to – and the same is probably true for your employees! If you’re a smaller group, then carting everyone off to take in a play by your local theater group, visit a museum, go foraging or cherry picking, take part in a city sightseeing tour, visit an art gallery, craft brewery, or see a local musician or band in action are just a few ideas. And for larger companies, organizing an office day out to a big sports match or concert might just become the highlight of the year.    General tips:

Of course the hardest part of planning any group activity is trying to make sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Try to include a combination of physical and mental activities, and a way for both the more introverted and outgoing members of the team to enjoy themselves. And if you’re stuck for ideas (or simply have too many!) you can’t go wrong with a company-wide vote!