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Ugly Sweaters Out, International Flair In

The weather has barely begun to turn cool and yet many people are already thinking ahead to end of the year parties and get togethers. It is a struggle each year to keep these events fresh and fun. Candy canes, ugly sweater competitions and the usual red and green decor can result in events that are stale and boring.

The latest trends in holiday and end of the year events are a great way to liven things up, keep people talking all year and even do a bit of good along the way.

One of the biggest trends this year is to add a charitable element to your party. Encouraging attendees to bring canned goods or toys can keep attendees connected before and during the party. Departments can organize shopping excursions or reminisce on their own childhood as they plan which toys to buy. Encouraging everyone's competitive spirit can also be a creative way of getting guests involved before the party. A canned foods drive with donation boxes dedicated to sports teams will have everyone racing to the store to make sure their team is the winner. Keep the competition going during the party. Encourage attendees to wear their game gear for the announcement of which team's fans donated the most. Organizers could even have team mascots attend the party and pose for photos.

Parties with an international flair are another big trend this year. Let's face it, once November rolls around we all end up eating more turkey and ham than we ever imagined existed. Why not give everyone's palette a treat and serve up food they won't see every day for the next month. Food stations are a flavorful way of adding international flair to your event. Serve spicy sushi, indulgent pastries and savory pastas. Having stations gets guests out of their seats and is a fresh spin on the boring buffet line. Planners can take the international theme one step further by focusing on a particular culture's food and end of the year traditions.

Utilizing stations can also be beneficial for events serving alcohol. Tasting stations with local craft beers or wines not only support local businesses, but the stations keep guests up and mingling. Often, at parties, people will speak only to the group they are sitting with or people in their departments.

Organizations looking to keep the excitement going even after the party is over can create a unique or silly hashtag for the event. This lets all the guest share their photos and memories. Events looking to send guests home with a memento can rent an Instagram printer and let guests print their photos right at the party.

Trendy parties don't have to be difficult and end of the year parties don't have to be the usual sea of red and green. Using some of these event trends with your unique spin can keep guests talking all year and eagerly anticipating next year's big event.

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