2019 has flown by and we’re coming up on the best time of the year…holiday party planning time!

It’s a busy season for corporate event planners and though the typical holiday party might evoke a few eye rolls, we’re looking forward to using our AV tech to help produce some affairs to remember. At its best, the holiday party reinvigorates from the top-down, shows appreciation for everyone’s hard work over the past year while inviting everyone – from leaders to the newest hires – to casually mingle.

There’s a lot of creativity across Austin’s business sector. From tech to corporate to startups, companies are renowned for throwing tremendous parties. Looking for some ideas to pitch to your boss (and event coordinator)? Here are a few that will leave employees talking for all of 2020!

The Experiences 


If your company is home to a significant percentage of international employees, consider an around-the-world holiday event. Here’s the overview. 

  • Secure an event coordinator from one of Austin’s amazing events shops. 
  • Contract a venue like ACL’s Moody Theater, Brazos Hall or Bob Bullock Museum. 
  • Arrange for 3-5 experiential segments each themed with a different country’s tradition. 
  • Decide on country-curated catering and bar offerings for each segment. 
  • Bring in ATX Event Systems to projection map the walls and transport your guests into a 360-degree experience for a high tech party that will be the talk of the water cooler.
  • Add an educational component with some cultural actors to teach employees the holiday traditions in each region (taking care to avoid cliches and stereotypes that might come off as insensitive or rude.)

Beachin’ Holiday Bash 

Bring the beach to Austin for a breezy twist on the holiday season! Here’s the overview: 

  • Find a venue that can accommodate your audience size and contract with an event planner to build a theme complete with a beach, tiki bar shacks, fish huts, loungers, bonfires, and cabanas.
  • Work with a caterer to make a tiki-meets-Caribbean-meets-Hawaiian menu.
  • Work with an AV team (ATXES ideally!) to set you up with a big beachin’ sound system and projection map an entire wall with a sunset over the ocean complete with surfers, waves, and sailboats passing. We’ve even projection-mapped “open water” for a client who wanted waves lapping the floor for a fun tubing photo op experience!
  • Hire a beachy-themed band (personally, we think Jack Johnson rivals the Beach Boys for best beach music). 
  • Invite everyone to kick off business attire and don their linen pants, Hawaiian prints, sundresses for a tiki-themed luau. 
  • Organize a random drawing for gifts like a tropical hotel stay, airline gift cards and the like. 
  • If your team is on the younger side, you can even take this theme to a full moon or half-moon party! 

A [Live] Christmas Story 

Everyone loves holiday movies! Delight your employees by inviting an immersive theatre troupe to your holiday party. Whether it’s reenacting Elf, A Christmas Carol or even Die Hard (that’s certainly a conversation starter!), hire a theatre troupe to make the rounds at your party.  Add a dash of great food, a dancefloor, projection-mapped live sets, and show-themed cocktails and you’re sure to leave an impression. If you opt for Elf, may we suggest a snow machine for snowball fights?

The Theme Party 

Pulling out all the stops for a holiday party might not be the right fit for every company or budget. But, everyone loves a theme party and they can easily be customized to varying budget concerns! Tip: venue, talented artists and tasteful production can make your party the talk of the town (like this George Straight event at ACL Moody Theater. Pick a decade as the theme and plan from there. Which one? Here are the ones we’ve seen do well. 

  • The 1920s | The roaring 20s is a classic soiree theme – you can’t go wrong. The holidays give you a great excuse to dazzle with not-so-bootleg bathtub gin, a live band, dancers (dance lessons would be a great addition!) and Gatsby decor.
  • The 1990s | The 90s are a growing crowd pleaser. Rent out Stereotype – a 90s themed bar in downtown Austin – and invite Chandler and the Bings and/or DJ Jazzy Jeff to the stage. While you’re at it, bring in ATX Event Systems to hook up the live performances with one of their killer sound systems and projection map the entire building like we did for Formula 1 at this project last month. 
  • The 1960s | A 60s party could recreate Woodstock at Scoot Inn. Book a Grateful Dead cover band, and queue up a Woodstock themed playlist sprinkled with hits by the Temptations, Supremes, Beatles and Stones. Transform the interior venue with Andy Warhol-themed party complete with art installations, copious manhattans, Marilyn and Elvis impersonators, and gourmet tomato soup with aged cheddar croutons in served in Campbell’s soup cans. 

The Giving Holiday 

If your organization likes to focus on community giving, think of combining a holiday party with a giving component. Here are a couple of great ways. 

Organize a company build.

  • Work with Austin Habitat for Humanity to organize a company build during the holiday months. 
  • Stage a party area to enjoy post-build. 
  • Get the essentials: Franklin-catered barbecue and coolers of local craft brew, spirits and wine. 
  • Set up a dance floor and bring in a DJ,
  • Set up lounging around firepits for roasting marshmallows. 

Adopt families in need.  

  • Work with Giving City Austin to find families who need adopting this holiday season. 
  • Work with local businesses like Toy Joy or Terra Toys to rent the store after hours. 
  • Sponsor a company-backed shopping spree for the toys on the list. 
  • Bring in food and drinks to round out the event. 
  • Set up an in-office drive to collect items like socks, clothes, shoes, and other practicalities to deliver to the families. 
  • Send teams to deliver to the families and broadcast the deliveries back in the office so everyone can experience it! 

So get to planning and let us know if we can help produce your ho-ho-holiday party this event season! 

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