Champagne and flutes in front of Christmas Tree

Last minute Christmas Party ideas for contractors

July 7, 2021

It's that time of year again, and let me guess...

As a contractor, you're looking on at your employer's Christmas party plans, nonchalantly laughing off the 'full-time employees only' rule whilst secretly lamenting the missed opportunity to get festive for free?

No need! Few contractors are aware that it actually PAYS to throw your own Christmas bash, even if that's just you cosying up to a roast and bottle of red in your favourite pub. Provided that your 'per-head spend' doesn't exceed £150, an annual work event is totally tax-deductible. Even better, that counts for your taking a partner or friend as well.

Read on for five ways to stretch a pp budget of £150 into some epic Christmas party ideas for contractors and small-business owners.

1. Splash out on a mega-fancy dinner

It's an obvious choice, but why not treat yourself to a swanky meal at one of London's finest establishments? You could opt for a classic: the champagne pairing menu at The Savoy Grill comes in at £140 per person and Heston Blumenthals' dinner menu at Dinner and dinner at £105 each. Or, you could be a true baller and order every small plate on the menu at one of London's trendiest new hotspots, like Flor for a seasonal British feast, Caractère for stylish 'mood food' or Silo for zero-waste indulgence.

2. Dress up for Secret Cinema

Immersive entertainment at its best, a Secret Cinema ticket will cost you around £65-85, leaving a healthy budget for pre-game nibbles and a steady flow of drinks whilst there. For anyone unfamiliar with the concept, think cult film classics brought to life at fantastic scale, inviting you in to participate in the plot before the opening credits roll. It makes an epic activity for a small team, or a great Christmas-party-meets-date-night for those flying solo.

3. Get competitive

If London's good for anything, it's an ever-expanding list of places attaching activities to alcohol. Take your team to any of Swingers' underground mini-golf locations for a guaranteed laugh, or play pastis-fuelled pétanque at Baranis in Holborn. Electric Shuffle does for shuffleboard what Flight Club did for darts, whilst Skate Dine Bowl in Queensway takes it all to a new level: if ice skating, curling, bowling lanes and arcade games all wrapped into one doesn't shout 'Christmas party extravaganza', we're not sure what does.

4. Take a masterclass

Celebrating Christmas whilst sharpening your cooking and cocktail-making skills = seriously good bang for you buck. There are some excellent once-off cooking classes in London: Wright Brothers does an oyster masterclass for £65 per person, and E5 Bakehouse's sourdough bread-making costs £150. There's also nothing quite like making a meal together to encourage team bonding. If you'd rather try your hand at mixology, book yourself in at TT Liquor in Shoreditch is fantastic for two hours of making (and drinking) cocktails.

5. Have a few drinks on the Company

And if you're still lost for ideas (or can't be bothered to plan), there's always the trusty fallback of a good old night on the town. Be it a pub crawl, Christmas karaoke or a sticky dance floor special, you can't go wrong, as long as you keep those receipts safe (which could become trickier as the night progresses). We'd recommend Brilliant Corners for London's sweetest sound system, Piano Works for a crowd-pleaser and Ridley Road Market Bar for gloriously grungy old-school beats and ginger mojitos.

There you have it: Christmas for contractors, sorted. For more tips on what you can and can't claim, check out our top 10 Tax Hacks.

Simple software that takes care of all your accounting and tax automatically.

So that you can spend less time number-crunching and more time Christmas-lunching.

Daniel Hogan

Daniel is a Deloitte-trained, fully qualified Chartered Accountant with experience in the finance software space. It was during his tenure managing a finance system in the UK that he grew dissatisfied with the lack of synergy and automation in the space, compelling him to co-found Ember.