If you’re organising this year’s Christmas party, you know what pressure feels like. You did the dignified sit-down meal or cocktail party last year. Same again? Nah. This year, go for an activity that will loosen up a crowd and get you automatically confirmed as next year’s planner.

Virtual reality, fine dining and hypnosis at Lûmé
We guarantee you haven’t had a meal like this before. WeNeverSleep is an immersive events company that also happens to be one arm of Shaun Quade's South Melbourne fine diner Lûmé. Quade and his team have developed along with academics at RMIT, a tasting menu set in an augmented reality. This experience merges fine dining with music, art, technology, hypnosis, virtual reality and psychology and involves three writers and two actors employed full time by the restaurant.

Sushi stations and cocktail masterclasses at Upside Rooftop
The top level of 127 Brunswick Street features an outdoor rooftop and can fit 150 guests. Work with staff to create a bespoke theme for the night that could include anything from a cocktail masterclasse with a tiki theme and fire twirlers, to a sushi chef demonstrating knife techniques and sushi making. When you call, ask to speak with Lynda.

Paintball at Delta Force
Take your 40- to 50-person squad to Delta Force Dingley (30 minutes outside of Melbourne) for a paintball war. Delta Force prides itself on having the most exciting game zones and best equipment in Australian paintball, so if you’re imagining that romantic scene from 10 Things I Hate About You, then stop: this place is serious. Select from one of the elaborately themed sets – such as Tomb Raider, Checkpoint Charlie and Gold Rush – and at lunch head to base camp for pizza.

Funky Bunch Trivia at The Rochester Hotel
The Rochey has two upstairs rooms with views overlooking Johnston Street. You can book each space for up to 120 guests and the pub’s usual line-up of Funky Bunch Trivia can be arranged and adapted for the occasion. Beer, trivia and 120 competitive work colleagues – yes.

Minigolf and Cocktails at Holey Moley Golf Club
Grab 10 or more mates for a Christmas “par-tee” at this minigolf course and bar. The venue opened earlier this year on Little Bourke Street and is the perfect activity for a competitive and boisterous crowd that also likes a beer, cocktails and wine. Putt through nine holes while wearing your Holey Moley visor and dining on pizzas and snacks. Extras include a private karaoke room and a trophy for the winner.

Blind beer tasting at Stomping Ground
The selection of beer styles at this sprawling Collingwood brewery and beer hall is categorised into three different levels: Laid-Back, Stepping Up and Adventurous. At any one time there are between 12 and 20 different Stomping Ground beers on tap, such as the BA Oatmeal Stout, Mango Weis Bar IPA and a Saison A L’Orange. Take a group of up to 20 through the 3 Beer Sensory Experience – a blind tasting with a full lowdown of the brewing process. Bookings are available Monday to Thursday and groups get an event space for four hours.

Karaoke and an Asian banquet at Supernormal
There really is no better way to celebrate the festive season than to get silly and sing with the colleagues who have made this year bearable. Supernormal can fit up to 40 guests in its karaoke-equipped private dining room. Couple that with either a lunch or dinner banquet featuring dumplings, bao and more, and you’ve got a winner. After everyone’s had a few umeshu spritzes it’s time to whip out the microphone.

Video Gaming at Pixel Alley
Settle yearlong disputes between colleagues or friends with a heated match of NBA Jam. The venue is licensed for a private party of up to 100 people and features a mega assortment of machines that includes Mortal Kombat, Pac-Man, 1944 Alien vs Predator and Donkey Kong. Combine gaming with cocktails and you’ve got yourself a good night.

If you are looking for a sit-down lunch option, try these.

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