The best way to choose which table goes up to eat first?

Hey Dopers, I’m organizing our corporate Christmas Party again this year.

This is my third year organizing this and every year there is a debate on what order the tables should go up to eat. Our party usually has 160-180 people and we usually have 25-28 tables.

What’s the best way to do this? This is what we have done in the past:

  • Draw numbers (pretty boring)
  • Scavenger Hunt (first table to show me a Swiss Army Knife, condom, etc)
  • Auction the spots, with all money going to a Christmas Charity (didn’t go over so well, some people thought it was tacky, not everybody at the table wanted to contribute so we reverted to Scavenger Hunt [we did raise $200+ for Charity])
  • Texas Hold’em, every table got 2 cards, then we flopped 5. The best table went up. (Didn’t seem to work well, tables stole cards from other tables to get 2 good hold cards)

So how have other Dopers done it? We’d like to try something fun (not pulling numbers from a hat), entertaining and fair (nobody cheating).

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance…


Caber toss. Either that or greco-roman wrestling.

Man, I am glad I am not a part of the corporate world. I never would have DREAMED this would be a serious real-life problem but here it is. Golly.

Anyway…how about asking everyone to submit a ticket with something about themselves on it. Like “I am wearing red boxers right now” or “my neighbor has a yappy dog.” Then randomly pick out a ticket when it’s time to eat - “whoever wrote this ticket - ’ I am wearing red boxers right now’ - stand up. Ok your table can go.” Then repeat as necessary (obviously you’ll end up calling out some tickets for people who have already gone.)

Or not.

I was going to say a giant game of British Bulldog and/or Dodgeball.

At the last wedding I went to, the MC said the first person to bring her a dollar got to go first. Seemed to work, and she made some money.

If you have people pick numbers out of a hat, be sure to underline the 6 and the 9 so that your employees can tell them apart. We had some slight confusion at our office party a few years ago when two tables tried to get their food at once.

Whatever you do, make sure you get enough food for everyone! Five years ago, at my very first office Christmas party, I was sitting at the last table to get called for food. The event organizers expected employees to take less food than they did. By the time our table got called, there was no food left. There were a lot of bitter, hungry employees around the office that afternoon.

Last time I was at something like this, we did a quiz themed to the party. Whichever table answered first (first hands up got to answer first) got to go get their food first and so on.

How about “First in First Out er Served.” Or “Early Birds Get the Best Worms.” Number and fill up tables as the guests arrive.
Or just a free for all and those tables nearest the serving line, line up first.

Never had to deal with it. My department never ever goes to the company party. Why spend an evening with 200 people who spent all year making your life difficult,being politically correct, when you can spend the same evening playing poker, joking being rude crude lewd and generally socially unacceptable, while your ladies chat and trade arts and crafts ideas, and phoned in credit card orders to craft places that total less than you lost in the poker game anyway? Pooh on company parties, hooray for department get togethers.

How about paying for some waiters? Or, better, having the senior managers as the waiters?