Christmas staff parties, first and foremost, are meant to be fun – they’re a little release of the valve at the end of a long work year, and they serve the necessary purpose of bringing everyone together as equals for a night. Sure, you could do it at a bar, or over a long table at one of Nashville’s upmarket restaurant, but you don’t have to. Besides, those spaces can be less than conducive to good conversation and bonding – if you’re sitting at a table, you really only have access to two or three people for a chat. And that’s especially true if you’re having your Christmas party at a music venue – listen, music venues are awesome, but they’re not the right environments for a staff party.

On the other hand, if you shake things up and try axe throwing these holidays (or even in January or February, if you want to wait out the rush), you’ll find that it’s much easier to turn your Christmas party into a team building event, without sacrificing any of the fun or excitement. Unlike starting your party at a bar or restaurant, where sedentary conversation and increasing intoxication can leave a party feeling stagnant, axe throwing gets everyone on their feet, learning a new skill, competing with one another for bragging points, and doing something that’s admittedly a little “out there”.

After booking a spot in advance for axe throwing, you’ll show up on the day of and learn how to throw an axe. It’s a surprisingly quick process to pick up, but for a little bit of a head start, here are a few pointers: grip the handle firmly with one or both hands and keep it straight; bring the axe back over your head with an eye on your target; then bring the axe forward quickly and confidently, releasing when your arms are parallel to the ground. It’s not that difficult to get the basics down, and once your team does, everyone will be having fun trying to one-up each other in the skills department.

Then comes the competition – generally a round robin type situation, where everyone competes to see who’s the ultimate axe thrower. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll bond. All in all, the whole axe throwing adventure will probably take around one to two and a half hours, depending on how big the group is, and then you can hit the bar or a restaurant, to cap the night off and share play-by-plays of the competition.

This is what makes axe throwing a great team building exercise. Not only does everyone start at the same spot, working from the ground up on a skill together, but the reward is a healthy, good-spirited match of skills. It drives home the value of learning new skills together, and introduces a bit of a competitive element to it, two things you want to nurture in an effective work team. Plus, everyone will get at least one badass Instagram post out of it.