Office Parties that Don’t Suck

Royal Tea Party

Royal Tea Party

Warning – completely not related to evaluation other than the fact I happen to work with lots of other evaluators!

In honor of my colleague Camellia’s Birthday, I wanted to share some of our past birthday celebration ideas in the interest of helping others plan office parties that don’t suck. Its easy to bring a cake or make lunch reservations, but I think that the morale we foster through more creative celebrations goes a great deal farther. Here’s my top 10 list:

1) An augmented reality adventure complete with website, recorded calls, mystery faxes and fedex packages:

2) Kay-Day in May was completely a surprise since Kay’s birthday is in October. For this celebration we rolled out the red carpet, and adorned her desk with a cape and crown, custom currency that featured her image, and a proclamation stating that that day henceforth would be known as “Kay Day in May.”

3) Lil Bub themed festivities. If you don’t know who Lil Bub is, just Google it.  For Justin’s birthday we had a cat paw path to his desk, Bub-themed gifts, and custom-baked gluten-free bubcakes (i.e., cupcakes decorated to look like cats – created by Alison).

4) Gifts galore.  When I turned 39, my colleagues very cleverly wrapped and hid 39 gifts around my desk -and adorned the office with images from different decades. They topped that with 40 gifts on my 40th – featuring a variety of scrapbooking supplies and bottles of wine (two of my favorite things).

5) The Birthday Game: For Josh’s birthday we created a game-theme complete with a checkerboard floor pattern in his cubicle and other game-themed decor and gifts.

6) Dinosaur Hunt: Camellia likes dinosaurs, so it seemed fitting to throw a dino-themed party that involved a trek throughout Bloomington to find dinosaur statues, figures and fossils in various museums, academic buildings, and parks.

7) Cooking up fun: it wasn’t a birthday celebration, but two years ago, our office through a holiday party at a cooking school where we learned some new cooking skills and got to eat the fruits of our labor (literally).

8) Time for tea!:  To celebrate the royal wedding in 2012, we threw a royal tea party complete with fancy hats and tasty treats.

9) Mother of the bride: for Kay’s birthday this year we decked out her office with fresh flowers and bridal-themed decor (and gifts) to celebrate the fact that her daughter had just gotten engaged.

10) I’m going to hold this one open for awesome party ideas yet-to-come!

Dinosaur Hunt

Dinosaur Hunt

Bubcake  (by Alison)

Bubcake (by Alison)


Game Theme Decor



A Pinterest-themed party – my coworkers so get me!!

A mystery-themed birthday – complete with an evaluation-themed version of Clue. 😉


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