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Easy Guide to Planning an Office Holiday Party

14 Nov 2014 / 1 Comment / in Catering, Food, Party Tips

The holidays are approaching faster every year. This easy guide answers 10 frequent questions to help you get your party started.


Office Holiday Party1. What’s the best location to host the party?

One of the best places is right in your own office building (if you have a large space for it). This way employees can move right from their workspace to the party. If you have more guests than available space, then look for a creative venue like a gallery, a restaurant or even a nice hotel.


Holiday Party Decor2. When should I start planning?

You should begin planning two to three months ahead of your event. If you wait too long you’ll risk not being able to book a caterer, venue or entertainment. Party themes and decorations can also take some time. Bring on several volunteers to help with the decor.


December snowflakes3. What day should I have my office holiday party?

Friday evening 4:30pm-7pm is the ideal time to have an office holiday party. The employees can relax and enjoy knowing they don’t have to get up for work the next day. If you are hosting outside of the office then push it back an hour from 5:30pm-8pm.


Catering4. Should I hire a caterer?

There are three options here and it all depends on your budget. Having a potluck where everybody brings a dish is inexpensive but can be a burden on some of the employees. You can also end up with twenty desserts but only two appetizers. Ordering drop-off catering is easy and can include a variety of dishes. If you have over 35 people consider a full-service caterer, which will make the best impression on your guests. The catering staff will also take care of the setup and cleanup. A good one will have a bartender certified in safe beverage service.


Crostini5. What is the best type of food?

When deciding on the food selection, finger foods are recommended over full plates. Small plates will allow guests to move around and enjoy being social while eating at the same time. Some suggestions are mini crab cakes, cocktail shrimp, chicken satay, turkey sliders, stuffed cucumber cups, a cheese assortment as well as some nice desserts like cheesecake bites or cakepops.


Full Premium Bar6. Should I have a Full Bar or Just Beer and Wine?

An open bar of just beer and wine is good but it can be a nice treat for the employees to have the option for cocktails at a full bar. Most caterers charge more for a full bar over just beer and wine, but some caterers offer a full bar at no extra cost. You will also want to make sure that the caterer provides a bartender who is TIPS or TAM certified. These certifications are given to bartenders trained in how to serve alcohol responsibly.


Christmas Grinch7. Is it okay to call it a Christmas party?

No. It’s best to call it a Holiday Party. This is a festive time of year for everyone and many religions celebrate major holidays and this will take all of them into account.


Holiday Jazz Trio8. What type of music should I have?

This is an event where guests like to mingle and chat so you want to have background music that won’t block conversation. You can have live music like an instrumental trio or a pianist. Playing Christmas music is fine but make sure to also include a variety of other music.


Gift9. Should I have a gift exchange?

Yes. A fun gift exchange can be the highlight of the night. Here’s a recommendation… People who want to participate should bring a wrapped gift (within a specified value). Each person who brings a gift is given a random number based on the number of gifts. If 20 people bring a gift then numbers between 1-20 will be chosen. The person with the lowest number picks a gift and opens it in front of everyone. Each consecutive person opens a gift and has a chance to ‘steal’ a previously opened gift by exchanging the gift with someone else’s. Each gift can only be stolen 3 times. This will bring a lot of laughs and conversation to the party.

An alternate idea is gift donations. Allow people to bring unwrapped gifts, toys or canned goods to be donated to charity.


Door prize10. Should I give out door prizes?

Yes. Give everyone a numbered raffle ticket and call out a number for each winner. Here are a few prize suggestions…Box of Chocolates, Bottle of Wine, Restaurant Gift Certificates, Gift Cards, Holiday Gift Baskets, Show Tickets or an iPad mini. Once everyone is gathered together, call out several numbers, starting from the least valued gift.

Clementine Halloween Pumpkins

24 Oct 2014 / 0 Comments / in Drinks, Food, Party Tips

Clementine PumpkinsClementine Jack-O-Lanterns

Here’s a easy and cute Halloween idea. Start by getting yourself some li’l clementine oranges and a fine-point Sharpie marker or black pen.

Next, draw your own custom jack-o-lantern faces. The final result will have the best effect when they’re all grouped together.


Clementine Cocktail GarnishClementine Cocktail Garnish

Take it to the next skill level and carefully do the following.

  1. Draw a jack-o-lantern face to use as a cutting guide.
  2. Next, ‘carve’ out the skin of the clementine for the eyes, nose and mouth with an exacto razor blade or a small sharp knife.
  3. Add a skewer and use as a cocktail garnish.
  4. Enjoy.

7 Pumpkin Ideas for Your Party

15 Oct 2014 / 0 Comments / in Food, Party Tips

Pumpkins are more than just home decor—they can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some creative ideas to put pumpkins to good use for your Halloween party or any autumn event. Make sure to gently clean the exterior of the pumpkin with a vegetable brush or wet cloth before starting on any of these.

Pumpkin Punch BowlPumpkin Punch Bowl

This bowl will add a classic seasonal style to your event. Start by finding a very large but low pumpkin. Tall pumpkins will wobble or roll around too much. If you find it moves around too much, try pinning some gourds to the base. Just make sure the pins don’t go too deep or it will leak.

Cut a large opening in the top and remove all the pulp and seeds. Rinse and dry the interior. Add your favorite punch cocktail (or drink of choice). Try freezing some of your beverage to use as ice cubes. Serve with a ladle.

Pumpkin Drink HolderPumpkin Drink Holder

This will go perfectly with your pumpkin punch bowl (above). People carrying around pumpkin drinks will make a huge impression on your guests and they’ll be talking about it forever. Find several fresh small pumpkins. Make sure the bottom is flat and doesn’t tip over. Cut an opening across the top and completely remove all the pulp and seeds. Rinse and dry the interior. Add a punch cocktail or drink of choice. Serve with a jumbo straw. We suggest writing the name of each person on the pumpkin to avoid confusion when they set it down.

Pumpkin Bottle CoolerPumpkin Bottle Cooler

This will also get great reactions from your guests. It’s easy and fun. Simply find a very large pumpkin and saw a large area top with a serrated knife. Remove all the pulp and seeds and your ready to add ice and bottles. These can be placed in various locations around your party. Another tip is to refrigerate the pumpkin before the party. This will keep the pumpkin fresh and help keep the bottles cool.

Pumpkin Dip BowlPumpkin Dip Bowl

This is a simple and fun idea. Get a small- to mid-sized pumpkin. Cut a large opening in the top, either straight across or tilt your knife down at a 45-degree angle when cutting. For the dip, it’s best to keep it sweet. This will complement the pumpkin. You get bonus points if you use this yummy recipe below…
Pumpkin Pie Dip

8 oz Soft Cream Cheese
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 cup Canned Pumpkin
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger until blended and serve with Graham crackers, Vanilla wafers, Gingersnap cookies and sliced apples.

Dry Ice Jack-o'-LanternDry Ice Jack-o’-Lantern

This is easy and effective. Get a large pumpkin and use a 45-degree down and inward angle to cut a large opening all the way around the stem. This will allow the top to be placed back on. Next, remove pulp and seeds. Now carve out scary eyes and mouth. Just before your party starts, fill a large tall glass (or cup) with hot water, mix in a cup of salt. Set glass inside pumpkin and use gloves to drop in some dry ice in the glass. For illuminated effect, add some portable lights. Candles may not work here because the CO2 from the dry ice will put them out. Place top of jack-o’-lantern back on.

Mini Pumpkin CandlesMini Pumpkin Candles

For this, you’ll need some mini pumpkins and tealight votive candles. Remove the exterior from one of the tealight candles. Use this to measure around the stem of the pumpkin. Remove the pumpkin stem and place the tealight holder upside down over the stem area of the pumpkin. Make small markings all the way around the edge with a pen or knife to use as a cutting guide. Next, dig in the pumpkin center about as deep as one tealight. A mellon baller tool works well here, or you can use a knife or small spoon. Place your tealight candle in the pumpkin hole and light it up just before your party. These can be placed throughout your party or grouped together as a centerpiece.

Pumpkin Candy DishPumpkin Candy Dish

Candy is always fun to have at a party. This dish will work perfect for your adult party guests as well as for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Start by finding a very large, low-profile pumpkin. You’ll need to horizontally cut it in half. First, take a string or yarn to wrap it around the pumpkin to create a center line. Make markings around the center line to create a cutting guide. Next, take a serrated knife and cut all the way around the center line. Open up and clear the pulp and seeds. Rinse and dry completely. Place a cloth liner or paper towels inside. Now load it up with your favorite halloween candy. You can use the top of the pumpkin as a lid when not in use. Feel free to decorate it!

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Halloween Cakepops are Here

02 Oct 2014 / 0 Comments / in Catering, Food

Halloween Cakepops

Created by Baked by Yael. Ask for them at your Easy Office Party event.

5 Finger Foods for Your Party

27 Sep 2014 / 0 Comments / in Food

Finger foods are always the best for parties. Having a variety of small-plate delectables will please your guests while keeping costs down and cleanup easy. Here are five suggestions for finger foods at your party…

Pigs in a BlanketPigs in a Blanket

These are party favorites, juicy
cocktail hot dogs wrapped in
warm biscuit dough, can be
served alone or with ketchup,
mustard or other dipping sauce.

Mini Pot PiesMini Pot Pies

They’re cute. They’re delicious.
And they’re comfort food!
Chicken, veggie or beef
wellington will always get a great
reaction from your guests.

Stuffed MushroomsStuffed Mushrooms

These yummy treats are
great filled with spinach,
cream cheese and bacon.

Shrimp CocktailShrimp Cocktail

They’re a classic and they’ll
go quick. Try giving
them a spritz of lemon
juice just before serving.

Phyllo-Wrapped Brie
& Raspberry Jam

Your guests will melt over this
warm sweet pastry. Perfect to start
or end the night with. Try adding
some fresh brie and raspberries as
an edible garnish.





Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn

24 Aug 2014 / 0 Comments / in Food

Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn


1/2 cup unpopped popcorn or 16 cups popped popcorn (or use two bags of microwave popcorn)
1 1/2 cups Dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Corn syrup
1 cup Peanut butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Pop corn and remove any unpopped kernels.
Place in a large bowl and stir in peanuts. (keep warm in a 9″x13″ pan in 250 degree oven)

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, honey and corn syrup. Bring mixture to boiling, continue boiling for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not boil too long or your popcorn will be rock hard. Remove from heat.

Stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Immediately pour over popcorn and stir to coat.

Serve and enjoy!