The infamous office Christmas party—Debra from accounting was in charge of the music last year, and her playlist ending up being a confused mix of Abba’s greatest hits and Russian drinking songs. Given last year’s musical debacle, you’ve been appointed as the music supervisor for the party this year. You’ve decided you want some live music for the Christmas party this time around, but don’t know where to begin.
At Encore, we’ve already put our Santa-themed thinking hats on so you don’t have to!
Consider this guide your own personal stocking of ideas and tips on booking live music for your Christmas party this coming December.
What style of music should I go with?
Picking a style of music that will be enjoyed by all party-goers is difficult—the best way around this problem is to identify the main theme of the party. Will it be a classy affair; cocktails, canapés, three-piece suits? Or a more traditional Christmas theme; mistletoes, elves, and baubled fir trees? Or even something with a bit more of an edge; a big hurrah to celebrate an equally big year for the business?
We’ve identified five different Christmas party themes, and a matching musical accompaniment/repertoire to stoke your imagination!
The ‘classy’ Christmas party
Traditional jazz band, or string quartet
- I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas – Bing Crosby
- It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
The ‘Christmassy’ Christmas party
Carol singers (quartet or choir), brass band, or pianist/harpist playing carols
- Jingle Bells
- Ave Maria
- Joy To The World
The ‘edgy’ Christmas party
Rock band, playing heavy covers of Christmas classics, or singing guitarist
- Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bruce Springsteen
- Frosty The Snowman – The Cocteau Twins
The ‘safe’ Christmas party
Pop band, singer, or a DJ
- All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
- Drummer Boy – Justin Bieber
- Christmas Wrapping – Kylie Minogue
The ‘unusual’ Christmas party
Steel drums band, or mariachi band
- Christmas Medley
- Mis Deseos
- Feliz Navidad
How long should I get the musician/s to play for?
Most bands and musicians will play sets in 45–50 minute blocks, with a short 10–15 minute break. Typically, a 2 hour performance (2x 45 minute sets) will be ample for them to spread the cheer to the party-goers and cover a majority of their Christmas-themed tunes.
When should I get them to play during the party?
At a Christmas party, it’s best to get the live music to fulfil more of a background role (unless of course you want to do a bit of carol singing with your coworkers).
We recommend getting your chosen band/musician to play during the drinks/starters portion of the evening, when the party is getting off to a start. The Christmas tunes should bring up the mood and leave everyone in a festive mood for the remainder of the party (eggnog will help too!).
Why live music?
We’ve all been to that party: someone’s put on a curated Spotify playlist, and everyone seems to think they know the perfect music for the moment—it’s a train-wreck waiting to happen.
With live music, the music won’t be derailed by an overzealous Bing Crosby fan; it’ll bring everyone together. It gives everyone a chance to share in the atmosphere and adds a vibrant element to the party that would be totally missed otherwise. Plus, your colleagues will be talking about that ‘fantastic’ live act that played at your Christmas party for years to come!
How/when should I book?
Our musicians get booked up very quickly in the lead-up to the silly season, so if you’re after live music this coming Christmas season, it’s best to get it booked in ASAP.
(Featured image via Magdalena Kucova/E+/Getty Images; additional image via Encore Cover Band)