Throwing a Holiday Party for the Workplace

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe
Eatalian Cafe

“We came from Ventoso, a village of about 800 in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. We grew up making food from the freshest ingredients available locally, such as our signature Tortelli di Zucca (Fresh Squash Ravioli). At Eatalian Cafe, we strive to keep this “fresh” tradition – our pastas, dough, sauces, gelato, bread, pastries, are all freshly made every morning. Our foods are not only fresh, but also full of passion, memory, tradition, and love.”

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

It was my pleasure, once again, to plan the employee holiday party for our school. Workplace parties can be challenging to plan, given the wide range in age and interests of the guests. We are fortunate to work with a terrific group of talented wonderful people. And with a little attention to the details below, the party was a huge success.

Tips for planning holiday parties for the workplace:

  • Plan the party with HELP from other colleagues (those who love to plan parties too).
  • “SAVE THE DATE.” Let guests know the date well in advance of the party.
  • Plan business party date EARLY in the holiday season so as not to conflict with personal holiday parties.
  • Promote the party at work, CREATE A BUZZ.
  • Choose a CONVENIENT location, not too far from place of business.
  • If possible, rent out a PRIVATE SPACE. Eatalian is closed on Sunday nights, so we were able to have the restaurant all to ourselves. (80 people).
  • Have clear COMMUNICATION (in writing) with the Chef regarding food and with the Manager regarding expectations for set up and service.
  • Encourage employees to BRING A GUEST whether it be a spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend.
  • Encourage guests to DRESS IN “HOLIDAY SPIRIT.” Whether that means a tacky sweater or holiday chic, it’s all in the spirit of the season!
  • A pretty and JOYFUL INVITATION indicates your intention to throw a special party.
  • Have specific START AND END TIMES. Our party was held on a Sunday night, 5 PM – 9 PM. Everyone gets home at a reasonable hour to work the next day.
  • Work with the management to create a FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE. Eatalian had Christmas lights, a tree, and pretty packages hung from the ceiling. We brought poinsettias and table decorations.
  • Plan the party at an establishment where there is a bar area, or ROOM TO MINGLE.  Our mingle & grazing time was from 5  to 6:30, then at 6:30 guests took their seats. Remember, once guests take their seats for dinner, they only get to socialize with those at their table.
  • Accommodate special dietary needs. Many of the items were VEGETARIAN, and the Chef prepared special VEGAN items for a few of the guests.
  • Serve beverages that complement the meal, good wines, and special non-alcoholic drinks. Eatalian serves ITALIAN WINES and several beers on tap. Guests could order fabulous cappuccino and espresso from the Faema espresso machine too.
  • LIVE MUSIC or a DJ adds to the party atmosphere. Choose music that appeals to your entire group. We played a mix of half CHRISTMAS SONGS and half PARTY SONGS that spanned the decades.
  • Play some holiday GAMES, give PRIZES, award those dressed in the best HOLIDAY SPIRIT. This year we added a PHOTO BOOTH which was super fun and a great way to interact with each other.
  • The host can make a brief SPEECH, welcome guests, share good tidings.
  • Make dessert special! Eatalian has a GELATO BAR which was open to the guests to try all the fabulous flavors they wanted…
  • Give unique PARTY FAVORS to take home.
  • Ensure SAFE transportation for all the guests.

The Party

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe
Holiday Games

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

Christmas songs are printed on cards and placed on each table. Guests at the table fill in the missing words on the scorecard. You might guess that teachers know the words to the Christmas songs, so we had a tie breaker from “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” written in 1951 by Meredith Willson.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of 1. ______and 2. ______;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of 3. ______ and 4. ______;
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go;
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

The Prizes

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

Panettones from Italy and Giant Cans of Italian Tomato Sauce

Answers:

1. Barney

2. Ben

3. Janice

4. Jen

So, how’d you do? Did you win the GranPolpa?

Holiday Spirit Prize Winners!

italian tomato sauce, Gran Polpa
(Believe it or not, the tomato sauce was a popular prize!)

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

Photo Booth

photo booth

Liz made all the fabulous festive props for the photo booth. In addition to Santa hats and feather boas, there where beards and mustaches, a red Rudolph nose, antlers, elf hats, silly glasses, lips, and more…

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

A special thanks to Perk & Pearl photographers for the great job with the photo booth. It was a big hit! And thanks to DJ Chris for the awesome music compilation which kept the party merry and lively throughout the entire evening.

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

Antipasti & Pizza Bar

Marinated Vegetables and Olives
Fresh Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses
Prosciutto & Other Salumi
Italian Breads
Assorted Pizzas

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe
how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe
how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe

Dinner ~ Served Family Style

Pasta Fatta in Casa:
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter and Parmigiano Reggiano
Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Gnocchi with Pesto

Salsiccia ai Ferri (grilled Italian sausage)
Grilled vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, onion, yellow and red bell pepper)
topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe
Eatalian Cafe
squash ravioli
Lasagna: baked lasagna with meat sauce
Gnocchi: potato gnocchi with pesto
eatalian cafe gardena

Emilia      Grilled vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, onion, yellow and red bell pepper) topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar width=
Salsiccia ai Ferri  (grilled Italian sausage)
eatalian cafe

Gelato Bar

gelato bar
hazelnut gelato
nutella gelato
Party Gifts

how to throw a workplace holiday party, eatalian cafe
Everyone received a package of a mini panettone and a jar of marinated vegetables.

Party Planner Extraordinaire
My utmost thanks to Liz for her help and terrific ideas in planning and executing the party. And to Ricci for the excellent idea to hold the event at Eatalian. And finally, a thank you to Antonio, Lucio, and the entire staff at Eatalian who really made our party exceptional. Grazie!

holiday photo booth

Eatalian Cafe
15500 S. Broadway St.
Gardena, California 90248
Phone: 310.532.8880
Email: eataliancafe@gmail.com
Restaurant Hours: Monday – Saturday 7 am – 9 pm

9 thoughts on “Throwing a Holiday Party for the Workplace”

  1. I hope that 2013 is rich in experiences, filled with love and happiness and of course great food and parties Lori Lynn. Have a safe and happy New Year. Smile often it is contagious.

  2. I didn’t complete the Carol – I am so ashamed. I must get my brain working better for 2013. All is enchanting – your attention to detail always makes me smile. Happy 2013! May it bring you all good things.

  3. Amazing party LL!! I’d be too scared to host or even plan a huge party like this. You put a lot of great tips that I had never thought of. The photo booth is really fun to do and see even after the party. Food looks wonderful as well! Happy New Year!

  4. The party was amazing…I was one of the lucky guests! The food was fabulous! Great fun games and great friends….thanks Lori. You Spoil us!

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