• Antoinette Minor

How to Throw an Office Birthday Party

Throwing office birthday parties is one of my most favorite things to do!  I love celebrating others and feel everyone should feel special on their birthday.  Birthdays are like your own personal holiday so why not have everyone join in to make it even more special?  Hosting office birthday gatherings also help to build relationships with others in the office, especially if you are a manager celebrating an employee who reports to you.  It shows that you care and want the best for them.  

Office parties can be overwhelming to add to the long list of things you have to do but it does not have to be.  You can plan an office party in just a few days with only a few action steps.  I promise!  Here are a few tips and tricks to throw the ultimate office birthday bash for your work besties and team members.

Invitations are Key

Which coworkers should recieve an invite?  Start with inviting everyone in that coworker's department to celebrate.  If you are in the same department then it should be easy and if you want to keep things small that should be a good amount of attendees.  You may also want to invite others who are close to the coworker you are celebrating.  Most likely they would like to party hard too!

When sending the invitation you could go the traditional route by giving physical invitations or non traditional by sending an email invite.  You must double check your company email policy before sending an invitation via email.  I had a previous employer who discouraged sending emails for office parties and yours may do the same.  If that is the case invitation cards from your local party store will do just find.  You could also send out a meeting request with party details as an invitation too.

Decorations are EVERYTHING!

It's always great to celebrate a birthday with awesome decorations.  You could even surprise your birthday celebrating work bestie by decorating their office or cubicle before they arrive to work.  It's all about making them feel special.  The possibilities are endless with streamers, balloons and party hats.  

If you are pressed for time, like most of us busy bodies, order all of the supplies you need from Gala Tuesday!  There is no need to pick up individual party supplies, stress yourself out with themes or drive around the city looking for the perfect decorations because Gala Tuesday does it all for you.  Simply choose the type of party you are throwing and all of your supplies, including recipes, will show up at your doorstep.  Everyone will think you're the hostess with the mostess!  

Photo via Gala Tuesday

Host the Party During Lunch Hour

Not everyone may be able to take a break during a randomly selected time of the day to come to the special occasion, so choose a time during lunch hours.  The birthday bash could take place between from 12pm and 2pm when most employees have their lunch hour.  Attendees will be able to take lunch during their regularly scheduled time and enjoy themselves at the party.  You also won't anger anyones manager by disrupting work time.

Bonus Tip: So, lunch time won't work?  How about scheduling 15 to 20 minutes during the day just to have cake and sing happy birthday to the guest of honor?

Snack it Up

Ordering food for an entire office or for a number of staff members can be rough on your pockets.  To avoid overspending, encourage others to either contribute to a potluck or bring their own lunch.  As the host this leaves you responsible with just snacks and a birthday cake.  This way, no one leaves hungry and you also won't have to worry about food allergies!  Easy right?  

Cheap snacks that everyone enjoys are chips, dip, pretzels, fruit, popcorn and snack sized candy bars.  Remember to set a budget for yourself so you don't go broke planning or feeding attendees!

To Gift or Not to Gift?

Decide if it would be appropriate for party guests to bring a gift.  Is it within company policy to buy gifts for coworkers? Do you ask guests to spend under or above a certain dollar amount?  Gifts aren't simple when throwing an office birthday party.  You don't want to force people to give because we don't know everyone's financial commitments and we don't want to break any company policies.  There are a two ways to handle this situation.

One way is to ask coworkers not to bring a gift and to simply sign a card from all of you. This takes the pressure off any employees who may not be able to contribute.  I'm sure your guest of honor would simply be happy just to celebrate with everyone who showed up and not for the gifts.  Another way is to ask your coworkers to give $5 or less to buy a group gift.  Now, some may not contribute but its important to not judge or chastise anyone who may not have given due to their finances.  The gift should still say, "from all of us." Do not be tacky and not include the names of those who could not or did not give.

Parties in the office could also be held to celebrate a baby on the way, retirement, major achievements and even coworkers who are leaving the company.  The overall goal is to show your coworkers that you care and to build a relationship.  It's not about what you say but how you make someone feel so make them feel special!  

As you can see it doesn't take much to throw the ultimate office birthday bash. I hope this helps and let me know how successful you are with the next office party you host!

See you at the top,

The Young Professionalist


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