The holiday season is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming celebrations. If you’re planning your company’s holiday party, we’re here to help you find the perfect corporate holiday party entertainment.
The right entertainment for a company holiday party will check three boxes: it will break the ice between coworkers; bring a sense of excitement to the evening; and impress everyone in attendance. If you can’t go ice skating or build gingerbread houses, then one of these holiday party ideas will have to do!
Pro Tip: Celebrating virtually this year? There are tons of festive virtual party entertainment ideas too.
Here our list of holiday party entertainment ideas for this year’s corporate event.
Category #1: Live Bands
Hire a cover band to play at your corporate function if you want to sing along to holiday favorites from well-known artists. Cover bands offer an extensive list of songs that you can choose from. Make sure to share any special song requests that you have ahead of time, like traditional classics such as “Deck the Halls” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
If you’re just trying to hit the right mood, tap into songs from different genres, like classic rock and pop. (There’s no rule that says you have to stick exclusively to holiday music in December!)
‘Tis the season for jazzy tunes and rhythmic melodies. A live jazz band can pull classics from the greats, like Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, to light up the crowd. Jazz bands are usually smaller than other groups, consisting of two to five musicians, which makes a great fit for a smaller, more intimate gathering. After all, you don't want the music overpowering the chatting and networking.
Unwrap a surprise at your company holiday party by hiring a dance band. What exactly is a “dance band” you ask? A group of musicians that specialize in filling up that dance floor. Dance bands are pros at reading the room and adjusting the music to get just the right atmosphere going.
This front-and-center performance will have every team member dancing at the holiday party this year.
Category #2: Variety Entertainers
For a burst of Christmas magic, jolly old St. Nicholas could be a VIP guest at your corporate holiday event. Santa Claus might not bring you presents, but he will certainly bring good cheer. If you think some people may be a little reluctant to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas, don’t worry.
Many Santas offer skilled performances like singing, reciting holiday poems or telling jolly jokes. You can also take a photo with Santa Claus to prove all of those nonbelievers wrong.
The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year and the most magical. If you want to spread the holiday spirit, consider hiring a magician. Every magician has a unique style when it comes to sleight of hand, but you can expect some unbelievable tricks like making objects disappear.
Magicians can charm a whole crowd at once, or they can roam around the room performing tricks one-on-one or with small groups.
For a more mesmerizing holiday experience, book a hypnotist at your corporate holiday function. While the pros perform hypnotic tricks, volunteers will start to cluck like a chicken, impersonate a famous singer or get stuck to their chairs.
If your company leadership is up for it, consider asking them to be the volunteers being hypnotized. A performance like that can break down walls and really bond a team together.
If you want a special guest appearance at this year’s celebration, book an impersonator. Impersonators will act, sing and dance just like a real celebrity. The most common impersonators are famous singers, like Elvis Presley or Lady Gaga, but they can also mimic iconic stars, like Marilyn Monroe or Joan Rivers.
Category #3: Soloists
Amplify your corporate holiday party with an acoustic guitar player. These musicians will create a seasonal ambience while accommodating song requests. You can ask the guitarists to play the acoustic version of any holiday song to create either a classy, lighthearted mood or an energetic, upbeat one.
Offer crowds a season’s greetings with festive carols from the piano. Pianists play holiday songs that will ring a bell for everyone at the party. Add your own personal touch to the evening by asking the pianist to perform some of your favorite melodies. Choose the tone that you want for the holiday celebration, such as elegant and classy or dynamic and cheerful.
Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song filling the party with a voice as pure as snow. If you are looking for incredible entertainment at this year’s office holiday party but have decided to book a smaller venue, a solo guitarist is the perfect fit. Guitarists travel lightly and provide great shows for smaller bars or restaurants that cannot accommodate a full band.
Whether you’re interested in adding some soft background music to the party or making the entertainment the highlight of the night, you can find a guitarist that best fits the mood.
Category #4: Showstoppers
If you’re expecting a large crowd with lots of thirsty guests, consider a bartender to man the alcohol. Professional bartenders can act cool under the pressure of a long queue, and can work with you to design a few signature cocktails and festive beverages. Some can even perform flair bartending tricks, which turns cocktail mixing into a mesmerizing work of art.
Does your company opt for a New Year’s party in lieu of a more holiday-centric soiree? Then, consider a motivational speaker to be the evening’s main event. There’s no better way to ring in the New Year than listening to words of wisdom so that you feel more motivated to adopt better habits after the clock strikes midnight. These skilled speakers share entertaining stories, life lessons and practical information that will lend inspiration to everyone’s New Year’s resolution.
Booking a comedian will create a holiday party full of good cheer and hearty laughs. Comedians share clever, laugh-out-loud jokes that lighten the mood. If you want the jokes to be more PG (think: sans curse words or crass jokes), make sure to share those expectations with the performer ahead of time and request a clean comedy routine.
Category #5: Editor’s Picks
These artists create incredible cartoon illustrations right before your eyes at a lightning-fast pace of just a few minutes. Caricaturists use their talent to exaggerate certain features, which makes it look like you came straight out of a comic book. You can take the drawings home as a momento, so everyone will always remember the festive night. If you aren’t too keen on holding a paper illustration all night, some caricaturists make digital drawings that can be emailed to you.
Green screen rentals
Do you want to transport your coworkers to a snowy mountain in the North Pole or on a seat in Santa’s sleigh? With green screen rentals, you can walk in a winter wonderland without having to bundle up and brave the cold. Some green screens can be bundled with a photo booth or photographer, so photos can double as a fun take-home favor. Good things come in small packages, and a photo of a fond memory will last a lifetime.
No matter which type of entertainment you’re leaning toward, it’s good to remember that this is everyone’s busy season and entertainers can get booked as far as three months in advance. So the earlier you book, the better the chance you have of hiring your first choice of performer.
Find more holiday party ideas on The Bash.