The Super Bowl is one of the most oft-hosted parties at home. Some people love to watch the big game at a sports bar, but plenty more get together with friends and family and watch the big game huddled around the big TV. It’s also one of those parties where some people will just not care at all about the details (read: men and hardcore female football fans), especially if the game doesn’t go your way.
The interwebs are full of fun and cutesy ideas for Super Bowl parties. But before you spend all week googling “chevron + football” and try to make burlap referee stripes happen, consider your guests. If your guests are predominantly male and/or actually care about the game, feel free to scale back, because no one will notice your fun details. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything, just add one or two fun details, not a full-scale themed affair. Now, if you are hosting a lot of non-football fans (um, who’s playing again?), feel free to add more fun details, perhaps even some extra-game entertainment.
It’s a lot of pressure to have a blog on events and entertaining. While I like to think that I’m primarily sharing my wisdom and great ideas, I also feel like I have to take my own advice. But the good news is that my advice isn’t so hard to take. I try to make most of my ideas and features as accessible as possible. Maybe this is because of my background in nonprofit planning – you can do anything with an unlimited budget, but doing more with less (or barely anything at all, in the case of some nonprofits!) is so much more impressive. So too are my entertaining tips. I don’t imagine my readers are incredibly wealthy socialites with infinite time and resources to plan Dina Manzo-level dinner parties (but if I’m wrong and you are a wealthy socialite with infinite time and resources, feel free to contact me here and I’d love to help you!). I imagine my readers are regular people with crazy, busy schedules and not a lot of time or resources, just like me.
But back to the pressure. December was pretty hectic for us. We moved into our new house (our first house!) right before Thanksgiving, then a month later we hosted Christmas dinner for my side of the family, then a grown-up New Year’s Eve party for a few friends, and then hosted a housewarming party last weekend for many of our local friends. Among the guests at all three were some regular readers of the blog (meaning, my mom and my dear friends Anna and Melissa).
So despite how hectic everything was, I managed to infuse a little bit of fun into these parties, so I thought I’d share some photos (and prove that I’m not all talk!).
A few months ago I featured a site report on Top of the Town, just outside of Washington, DC. In December, we used Top of the Town for an office holiday party for about 150 people. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the venue and how the party worked out, as well as share some of the ideas we used for decor and the menu. We also had some entertainment for the evening, but I will feature that in a separate post.
I’ll start with a disclaimer – my photos are terrible. We didn’t have a professional photographer at this event so it was just me and my decent camera in poor lighting conditions during set-up. So, please forgive me!
The selling point for Top of the Town is its view. It’s right outside DC (in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington) so it has magnificent views of DC and the monuments. It was actually a gray, rainy day on the night of the party, so I wasn’t able to take any good shots of the view but you can see some here. Luckily it cleared up enough by the time the party started that the guests were able to marvel at the view.
Since everyone else is focused on Christmas this week (as am I!) I thought I’d focus my Friday Favorites on the one piece of Christmas entertaining it’s not too late to change – your beverage menu! At a holiday party I planned earlier this week we incorporated some fabulous signature cocktails – I can’t take credit for them – that goes to Design Cuisine! – and they were a big hit. So much so that I’ve decided to make a modified version of one for Christmas day in my house. Here are some fun suggestions (of varying levels of difficulty and number of odd ingredients) in case you want to add one to your menu. Unless your Christmas dinner is huge, I suggest on focusing on just one to supplement the other drinks that you offer. Cheers!
#5 – Candy Cane Cocktail
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.
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