As I’ve mentioned previously, office holiday parties have a bad reputation. They are either terribly boring or so boozy that it’s an HR nightmare. If you have any pride as a planner at all, you will try a little harder this year and try to prevent both scenarios. While we are well into December and many holiday parties are already planned, here are some suggestions you can try to work in at the last minute, or just start taking notes for next year.
Order more food than you think you need
Food is where most parties try to skimp and the result is a bunch of super-drunk employees who haven’t had enough to eat. That’s not to say that by providing food that people won’t still overindulge, but at least they won’t just be getting tipsy because of drinking on an empty stomach.
Think about the makeup of your employees. If your group is heavily male, order more. Especially if they are youngish and male. (Sorry to stereotype but it’s true). Do you have interns that will attend the party (you should probably rethink that if you do)? Triple or quadruple your food order. Interns that are either unpaid or underpaid will consume “free” food at an incredible high rate.
My colleague, Brie, planned this fabulous fall festival at the Brixton Restaurant in Washington, DC. The weather was perfect, so the group was able to take advantage of the rooftop. Brie did all of the decor herself (can we say glitter pumpkins!) and with some crafty volunteers, and designed a fun menu, including a DIY trail mix bar, a chili bar, and signature drinks.
In honor of the 4th of July, here are some red, white and blue cocktails that are perfect for the holiday or could be adapted as signature cocktails for weddings or events. I love the bright colors!
A Frozen Firecracker – made with daily’s frozen punches
Red, White & Blue Sangria – made with white wine, triple sec, simple syrup, vodka, lemon juice & berries
A Blueberry Nation – with cognac, elderberry, lemon & lime juice
A Blue Citrus Splash – made with rum, blue curaçao & pop rocks
A red, white & blue shooter – made with grenadine, peach schnapps & blue curacao
I’m a big fan of entertaining. I love to host dinner parties, brunches (I love brunch!), holiday parties, anything really. Most of these types of parties don’t have much built in entertainment (we don’t hire a DJ to provide the beats for for our dinner parties, believe it or not), the conversation and the connections is what it’s all about. But sometimes, adding a unique food and beverage station (or bar – not that kind of bar, although that’s often suggested as well) can help facilitate conversation.
Here are some of my favorite ideas that are relatively easy to pull off:
An olive bar and olive oil tasting. Specialty grocery stores sell fancy olives, plus you can grab a few bottles of higher end olive oil, cut up some bread, and have your guests try and taste the difference.
If you’re serving margaritas (and I love a good marg), why not complement them with a salsa bar? Very easy (and affordable)!
Mimosas are my favorite brunch drink. Make your own mimosa bars are becoming more popular at bridal showers and brunches, but any brunch can use a mimosa bar. I’d take this a step further and offer more interesting juice options, such as mango or peach.
For something a little more casual, what about a make your own snack mix? Everyone has the stuff in snack mix they love, and the stuff they pick out. The sky is the limit – you can go sweet or savory. If your event has a theme you can complement the theme with the type of containers you use, for example if you were hosting an outdoor event, you could use flower pots.
For a dessert bar, I love make-you-own candy apples, especially in the fall. But rather than doing whole apples, which can be messy and difficult to eat, how about offering the same fun toppings but for apple slices?
This just scratches the surface – you can take almost any food and drink and turn into into a fun activity for your guests. Do you have any ideas to share?