How many holiday work parties have you been to that feel obligatory? Do they feel obligatory because they’re just, well… boring? Yeah. We hear ya. So, we’ve got some great ideas to shake things up for the run of show, the menu, and the entertainment.
Switch Up the Line Up.
If you’re planning the event, and you’ve planned a lot of these, try shuffling the deck with your time frame. If you traditionally have a very conservative three course meal, add in a cocktail reception where your colleagues can have a glass of wine, mingle and loosen up a bit. Or, perhaps make dessert interactive by having an action station where the guests have to get up and include themselves in preparing the dessert to order. You can further this idea by having palette cleansing activities in between courses, like a scavenger hunt between the salad and entrée course. Instead of having a cocktail hour before your party, you can opt for a low key after dinner parlor party with cognac and digestifs.
Engage Your Audience.
The easiest way to keep people happy and entertained is to keep them engaged. Keep them busy, keep them laughing and having fun. Ping Pong, Karaoke, an Ice Luge with signature drink, or even a good old fashioned “Soul Train Dance Off” are fantastic ways to make the static holiday party a bit more electric. If you’re going all out with live entertainment, make sure to do your research. Nothing makes a party more awkward than a comedian who doesn’t know their audience, a singer who can’t banter with the crowd, or a drag queen who makes mean spirited jokes. You want this to be an amazing time for all!
Surprise the Tastebuds.
Classic green salad. Choice of chicken or salmon. Wow. Mouthwatering. Surprise your guests with an innovative menu. If you are a traditionalist and really want to abide by the three course, then start off with an invigorating salad that is more than just Romaine. Radicchio, arugula, fennel, endive, butter lettuce, frisee or kale are all great bases, and don’t be afraid to add zing with herbs like mint or basil, even citrus notes like grapefruit. As for your main entrees, chicken and salmon are always a safe bet, but you can take it up a notch and impress the table with a simple seasonal vegetable option, an appropriately suited beef or pork entrée, or go rogue with lamb or buffalo. Desserts are the final hurdle, and mini desserts are always playful and offer variety. Pick three different types, a fruity, a chocolatey and a creamy, keeping textures in mind, and you’ll nail the lasting impression.
If you want to steer away from the three course approach, incorporate passed hors d’oeuvres or action stations during your cocktail reception, create a mesmerizing buffet for your main meal period, or keep the party lively and tables engaged with family style service.