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So I've been asked to plan a Christmas party for my department (roughly 40 people).

I have three requirements:

  1. The party has to be before December 25th.
  2. The main boss has to be available on the date I choose.
  3. It has to be on a weekend.

The only date that meets all three requirements is December 22nd. The problem with this is around 2/3 of the staff are unavailable on this date.

This party is going to double up as a leaving party for the main boss, and he is also paying a significant amount towards drinks for the night, so I feel like I can't not invite him. (He's also the boss).

How can I go about organizing the even so that the main boss gets a proper leaving party, and staff can participate?

  • Good point, limiting myself to December, I've asked a few others, they feel November is too early for a Christmas party. I suppose I could also look at dates outside of December, see how many people are available. – Jessica Ward Oct 30 '18 at 13:35
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    Hi, and welcome to workplace.SE! Asking "what should I do?" is not really suitable for this site, as we need to know what you want to achieve. I edited your question to make it more suitable, and added your motivation (best guess). Feel free to re-edit if something needs to be changed. – sleske Oct 31 '18 at 9:14
  • Thanks @sleske! I'll keep that in mind for any future questions. – Jessica Ward Oct 31 '18 at 9:14
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Of the three requirements you list something is going to have to give:

The party has to be before December 25th.

Presumably this is because of the boss' leaving date so that sounds hard and fast.

The main boss has to be available on the date I choose.

Well if it's his leaving do (at least in part) you can't do it with out him so this also sounds hard and fast.

So by process of elimination..

It has to be on a weekend.

Sounds like a likely candidate to change - you don't specify the motivations for it being a weekend, but assuming it's down to wanting it out of hours would it not be feasible to take the situation to the departing grand boss and suggest he allow it to take place on a weekday?

  • also curious how op knows the whereabouts of the entire department on that weekend – bharal Oct 30 '18 at 10:22
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    @bharal, email survey – Jessica Ward Oct 30 '18 at 10:31
  • @motosubatsu Thanks, good idea, I'll ask him about it now. – Jessica Ward Oct 30 '18 at 10:32
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You aren't picking the date. The people who put the date requirements in place have essentially picked the date.

Go with the date that fits the requirements and move forward with the planning.

You have to realize that the moment they said weekend some employees immediately said they will never attend.

There is no date that works for the majority of people unless it is during working hours, and the boss pays for them to attend. Nights and weekends impact family and non-work commitments. Events that take place during work hours, but the employee has to charge vacation also don't attract huge crowds.

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    Honestly this answer has put my mind at ease. I'm not the person creating the requirements, I'm the person organizing the venue. It shouldn't really be my problem whether people turn up or not. Thanks! – Jessica Ward Oct 30 '18 at 11:14
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As already explained in the other answers, if you try to satisfy all the hard requirements, there is no "good" date - most staff will not be present.

There are many ways in which you can vary or relax the requirements, but before you do that, you need to talk to the people who will be attending.

In this case, the main person of the event will be your boss (both because he's boss, and because the party is specifically about his leaving), so talk to him. Explain the situation, and ask him where he is willing to compromise. Can the event be shorter, but on a weekday evening? During the day? Is the boss willing to come back for the event after leaving? Or does he not mind if most staff is not present? Only he can tell you that.

Ideally, also speak to your colleagues, to find out for example whether they would prefer a weekday or a weekend event. Then find a suitable compromise (and have a nice party!).

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