NEW YEARS IDEAS

Check out this list of New Years Eve ideas Curtesy of Design My Night

https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/new-years-eve

CHRISTMAS EVE DRINKS

Champagne Parfait Cocktail
This champagne parfait cocktail is a wonderfully bubbly, light and festive drink that is perfect for toasting at Christmas Eve dinner. Take your favorite champagne (or any sparkling wine, Prosecco, Brut…really anything with bubbles!), with a little bit of gin, your favorite fruit liqueurs and fresh berries to create a beautiful drink. The different berries (like cranberries or blackberries) will float at different levels, creating that classic parfait look.

La Vie En Rouge
La Vie En Rouge (“Life in Red”) mixes Grand Marnier, fresh cranberry juice (use the real stuff so it’s not too sugary!) and fresh rosemary for a wonderfully fragrant Christmas Eve cocktail. It is a very simple cocktail to make, making it perfect for a big party, but it’s bright flavor makes for a great after-dinner drink. Float a few real cranberries in the glass for an even more festive look.

Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate (for adults)
Are you the kind of person that loves to have a coffee after dinner? Well this recipe mixes coffee, chocolate and liquor–so how can you go wrong?! You can obviously make the coffee flavor stronger or weaker to suit your tastes (or use decaf so you aren’t up too late), or even add a little cream to the mix to create an even smoother and silkier finished cup.

Holiday Sparkler
Don’t want to spend your night mixing individual drinks? Then go for a punch bowl of the Holiday Sparkler! With Cava, fresh mint, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice, it’s a bright and festive Christmas Eve drink you can make the day before your party to let the flavors really develop. The Holiday Sparkler also makes for a great substitute for mimosas during Christmas Day brunch.

Mulled Wine
Also known as Glogg or gluwein, this spicy hot wine drink is perfect on a good Christmas Eve. All you really need is your favorite (and cheap!) dry red wine, Port wine, Grand Marnier, and a whole bunch of oranges and some cinnamon sticks! You can cook it up on the stove, or even make it in a Crockpot so you can keep it warm throughout the evening and ladle out glasses as needed!

Mistletoe Martini
The Mistletoe Martini is a mix of chilled cranberry tea (pick your favorite brand!, orange and lemon juices and vodka. A little bit of sugar cuts through the tart flavors for a bright and tasty Christmas Eve cocktail.

Eggnog
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a cool and creamy glass of eggnog. You can buy the eggnog from the store (or make it yourself if you’re feeling extra fancy!) With bourbon (and spice rum if you like) this smooth Christmas Eve drink is a classic for a good reason, it’s delicious!

CHRISTMAS PARTY RULES

The festive season is a time for celebration, good times and just a little over-indulgence – and why not?

If you’ve worked hard all year long, the festive season is the perfect time to let your hair down with friends and family and spread some well-earned Christmas cheer. And love it or loathe it, the annual Christmas party is a festive tradition nearly as old as Christmas puddings, chestnuts on an open fire and falling asleep on your sofa in front of the Queen’s Speech. Bliss.

Whilst a festive get-together is a great way to thank and reward employees for their hard work over the year, it can be a time of trepidation for those who really don’t enjoy the festivities. And, whilst having a great time is the aim of any get-together, for some a little too much fun can all be a little too much…

Workplace culture is littered with tales employees who told their boss what they really thought after one too many Sambucas, or the employee who thought it’d be a great idea to drive home after ‘only a couple of drinks’. We wouldn’t recommend either, by the way.

On the other side of the coin, we also have to consider inclusivity; taking into account the employees who may find the pressures of social gatherings difficult, don’t celebrate Christmas or simply want to do their own thing.

So, what’s the best way to approach Christmas parties? To keep you all on the straight and narrow, and to help you avoid being ‘that person’ who becomes a Christmas party ‘legend’ for all the wrong reasons, we’ve put together 11 essential rules of the work Christmas party.

RULE 1: TURN UP!

Whilst having a Christmas party is a fantastic way to reward employees, as we mentioned earlier, some people simply don’t like the festive season or don’t want to spend their precious free time involved with their work – and that’s fine! But, showing up for even just a brief period will show your commitment to the organisation and a willingness to be part of the team. And we’re not talking a 10-minute ‘Hi / Bye’, either.

Take some time to engage in conversations with colleagues and take a moment to thank the organiser for their efforts. If you’re really not able to attend, take the time beforehand to let the organiser know you can’t make it and thank them for the invite – don’t just leave your invite un-responded to in your inbox or simply ‘declined’. After all, if you were the one organising the annual work’s party, we’re sure a little thanks can go a long way!

RULE 2: DON’T FORGET, YOU’RE STILL TECHNICALLY AT WORK

Not wanting to be party poopers here, but just because you’re dressed up in your finery and out of the physical workplace, you’re still technically within the work environment, so the same rules of your organisation will apply. 

Whilst you may have had a little Dutch Courage, it’s definitely not the place to discuss your job role, wages or grievances you may have. And just as important, don’t talk shop or complain about your colleagues – this is a time to celebrate, enjoy and socialise; not an opportunity to vent about your job or the people you work with.

RULE 3: GET TO KNOW YOUR COLLEAGUES

This more relaxed and casual environment is a fantastic opportunity to network with your colleagues, some of which may work in different locations. 

Successful networking offers the chance to let your colleagues talk about themselves whilst you listen and learn – plus get to know them a little better and maybe even have some fun, too.

“If you’re still fairly new to an organisation, the Christmas party is a brilliant opportunity to build potentially great relationships with the people you’ll be working with every day.”

RULE 4: FANCY DRESS? OR “FANCY” DRESS?

This rule’s a pretty simple one but can mean you avoid an embarrassing faux pas when making your entrance: Always check the dress code! If the dress code is ‘Fancy Dress’, there’s no harm in just clarifying if that means a nice tux or party dress before you go dusting off your Halloween Batman costume…

And anyway, it’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, right?

RULE 5: GETTING YOUR GROOVE ON

When you combine good times, alcohol and music, dancing is pretty much an inevitability – and who are we to deny you that pleasure! If you’ve got the opportunity, feel free to get your best shape-throwing, dad-dancing moves out for everyone to see – after all, who doesn’t love hitting the dancefloor every once in a while? But in seriousness, there’s a couple of rules you should keep in mind.

Don’t get too smoochy with you colleagues or too over-zealous with your dance moves – you really don’t want to risk either an injury or, even worse, a sexual harassment claim against you, consensual or not? 

When you’ve had a few to drink, it might seem like a good idea to flirt with the boss or your colleagues, but really, just don’t!! Don’t get up close and personal; so that’s no kissing, cuddling, over-zealous hugging, heavy petting or cannonballs.

RULE 6: KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Whilst it’s nice to have a glass of wine or two, please know your limits and be responsible with your drinking.

Whilst drunken behaviour might be OK with your friends, at the works ‘do’, it’s definitely not acceptable. No-one wants to be passing out in the toilets, sick on the dance floor or having to rely on others to look out for their own wellbeing.

Also, mixing booze with office gossip is not a good idea.  Try not to declare your undying love about a colleague, or cry on the shoulder of your boss.

Pace yourself, try not to drink on an empty stomach, drink slowly, sip your cocktails, drink lots of water between rounds, and note the old adage, the ‘grape and the grain’ do not mix.

RULE 7: WHO’S GOING TO DRIVE YOU HOME?

Have a great night and lots of fun; but just like knowing your limits, always keep in mind when it’s time to leave and also, how you’ll be getting home. Have you arranged a lift home? Or have you booked a taxi? Making sensible arrangements beforehand can prevent any unforeseen problems and ensure you arrive home safely, but above all, if you’ve had a drink, leave the car at home or at the office and never drink and drive.

RULE 8: RESPECT YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Now, we appreciate that you’re all consenting adults, but if the party is held on your premises, don’t go for a romp in the MD’s office – no matter how great an idea it may seem at the time! After all, you wouldn’t want any embarrassing interruptions now, would you?

Don’t get caught kissing in the stair well, don’t get caught using the photocopier for inappropriate copying and above all, make sure all your equipment is securely locked away… if you get our meaning…

RULE 9: DON’T CALL IN SICK

If your work’s Christmas Party is on a school night, no matter how hung-over you might be the next day, don’t call in sick.  We all know what’s wrong with you and you’re not fooling anyone!

On the other hand, if you feel fine – great! But, always be aware that it takes around 1 hour for your body to break down 1 unit of alcohol. So, if you’ve indulged in some festive shots over the course of the night, you may well still have a lot of alcohol in your system when 9am rolls around, meaning driving into work may be out of the question.

If you know it’s going to be a heavy night but you have to be in work the next day, don’t take any risks. Book a taxi or alternative transport into work the morning after.

RULE 10: USE SOCIAL MEDIA WISELY

It’s not always a good idea to post photographs of the evening’s shenanigans onto social media.  Do you have permission to post your colleagues photo?  They may have told their partners, they were working late, or have been invited to a posh restaurant with the management team… Not that we’re condoning telling porky pies, obviously.

Don’t betray their confidences. Don’t let their friends and family see them dancing on the tables in drunken frenzies – always save your posts for when you’ve got a clear head or if you know for certain you’re OK to share.

RULE 11: SAY THANKS

Last but by no means least, always thank the organiser and your boss for hosting a good festive party; either at the party itself, or after the event. There will have been someone who will have organised the food, the drinks, the venues and the festivities, so letting them know they’ve made a great night for everyone really will go a long way.

VODKA PARTY PUNCH

With only 4 ingredients this easy cocktail is going to be the hit of your next party!

Heading into spring and summer we need lots of punch recipes for parties and this one is perfect. Whether you’re celebrating Easter, Mother’s Day, heading to a Memorial Day BBQ or 4th of July gathering or just a pool party, punch is great because it serves a crowd.

You just need these easy ingredients that you probably already have:

  • Vodka
  • Orange Juice
  • Pineapple Juice (get the can, it tastes better)
  • Lemon-lime soda (use diet if you want or regular, any brand)

Another thing I love about making party punch is that you can adjust the recipe to fit your needs.

If you think my vodka punch ratio is too strong, add more juice. If you think it’s too weak, add more vodka. Punch is where you can kind of be a mad scientist and it’s not going to kill the recipe.

The kind of vodka you use in party punch does matter.

I know that people might think that, because it’s punch and not a shot, that you can just use cheap vodka, but that’s not really the case. As I’ve aged I’ve realized that buying better brands of liquor is like buying that mid-range wine: it just tastes better and gives you less after effect.

Be sure to use a vodka you like to drink straight or mixed with plain soda. My favorite is Tito’s but I also recommend Skky or Kettle One or Smirnoff.

How long does vodka party punch last?

The soda will get flat after a day or so unless you put this in a sealed container. If you want to use it for a few days or make it ahead, mix the juices and vodka and then add the soda right before serving.

HOW TO THROW A SURPRISE PARTY

Important Tips for Throwing a Surprise Party

Throwing a surprise party can be a daunting task! Getting everyone organized, making sure the birthday person is really surprised and isn’t faking it, lots of things to do and remember at the same time! This page is full of important tips for throwing a surprise party, don’t miss out on any of them!

Make sure to also check out our MAIN Surprise party page for loads of more information on throwing a surprise birthday party.

Read all the following Surprise party tips to ensure you create the coolest and most secretive Surprise party!

  • When throwing a Surprise party it’s always important to appoint a time much earlier, so that even if someone is late twenty minutes, it won’t ruin the surprise.  Make sure you are very clear about it being a Surprise, and tell everyone a few times what time they need to be at the surprise area! If someone is really late to the party and you feel that it could totally ruin the surprise – call them or send them a text message saying they should stay in the car for a few minutes until the surprise is over, then call them when it’s already safe for them to arrive.
  • Make sure that no clues (obvious and less obvious) are left lying around that the Surprisee may find out about. For example if you send e-mails to people about the surprise party, and there’s a chance the Surprisee might see them, ERASE them! Or if you went to a cake shop to have a special cake made for the Surprisee with information written on the cake that make it obvious for whom it’s for; and who knows, the Surprisee happened to walk by this cake shop… that could ruin the surprise! (True story by the way…). You have to be on guard and make sure no clues are left around.
  • You might want to think of a dress code. Think about what the Surprisee will be wearing. For example if he or she just came back from the pool or beach, tell everyone not to dress too formal, keep it casual. If it’s possible, tell your guests to dress accordingly; that way, you won’t make the Surprisee feel strange. OR a much easier solution is to have some of the Surprisee’s clothes on hand with you or other clothes they can borrow (for example if your throwing a Surprise party Hawaiian-style, give the Surprisee clothes that fit the theme).
  • Sometimes children don’t know how to hold a secret. It’s best not to tell the little ones weeks before (you might want tell them on the day itself or a few hours beforehand).
  • It really pays to plan ahead of time. Of course you can throw a surprise party in a week, but this means you are a very organized person who is able to improvise well. Just in case, try planning a few weeks to even a few months beforehand to lower the chances things will get messed up.
  • This goes for the day of the surprise party. If you are decorating the party area with lights, flashes, bombastic decorations, etc., make sure they aren’t visible from outside the party area (you don’t want to ruin the surprise a few minutes earlier when the Surprisee might become suspicious about the strange decorations in front of their house for example).
  • Don’t forget to film and photograph the surprise moments!! A cool idea is to buy lots of disposable cameras and disperse them around. Give them to as many guests as possible so that when the surprise moment comes along, they can all take a picture from their point of view. That way you have the surprise moment photographed from all kinds of directions and point of views!
  • This may seem obvious, but it’s best to invite people the Surprisee likes. Don’t invite EVERYONE the Surprisee knows just to make it a huge party; it’s best to invite all the people the Surprisee is fond of.
  • You never really know how people will react to a surprise. Does the Surprisee have health problems? If you feel like there may be a chance the Surprisee might faint or anything else, why not have a doctor or nurse on hand, or at-least someone who knows how to deal with these situations (I don’t want to frighten you… just want you to be aware of as many things as possible beforehand and to take it into consideration).
  • Of course a surprise party needs to be hidden, but this doesn’t mean you hide the fact that the Surprisee has a birthday. From trying to hide the idea of a surprise party, it might seem that everyone has forgotten the Surprisee’s birthday, and it’s important not to let them feel this; a ‘forgotten birthday’ can disappoint and hurt them (a surprise party may not compensate their disappointment). So talk about the subject of their birthday easily and calmly… possibly plan a small overt birthday party with them or take them on a small outing before the Surprise party to show them how much you appreciate the special occasion. The best way to be low key about a surprise party is to live life just the way you live it, make it seem like everything is at it’s usual and regular pace.

 

Surprise Party To-Do List

Here is a simple list you can go by so that you know where to start when throwing a surprise party:

1) Choose a date and time for the surprise after finding out (secretly!) whether the Surprisee will be available that day and time. You might want to consider holding the surprise party before or after the real birthday date, so as to lower suspicion.

2) Decide where you want the surprise to take place (also think about what the Surprisee may prefer or most like), will it be indoors, outdoors, your house, the Surprisee’s house, a park, a hotel, a mall, a concert, a show, a swimming pool, the beach, a campfire, etc.

3) After thinking of the place the surprise may take place, think about a theme you might want to base the surprise party on. Will it be a kidnapping theme, a western theme, a colorful theme? (etc.). Of course your surprise can be just a “Surprise theme” or a party with no theme at all, whatever you choose most suitable.

4) Once you figure out the date, time, place, and theme, think about what help you will need to pull off the surprise. Contact all the people you will need help from and let them know your plans (it’s best to get help from people who are good in keeping a secret and keeping a straight face).

5) Make a list of all the people you want to attend the surprise party itself. Write up invitations or call each one and let them know the date, place, and time. It’s very important to stress being secret about your plans, make it as clear as you can by saying it’s a “SURPRISE” a few times.

  • It might be best to tell the plans verbally face to face or via phone and not to write the information via e-mail (so that the Surprisee doesn’t read it by accident). But if you do send out invitations, make it VERY clear it’s a Surprise party.
  • Invite everyone at-least a half-hour before the surprise, so that even if someone is a bit late, it won’t ruin the surprise.
  • Tell everyone to park their cars out of sight (especially if there are people who have very specific, unique, easily-recognizable cars and license plates). You might want to encourage people to carpool, so that the least amount of cars need to park in the area.
  • If you know there will be people who have a hard time keeping a secret, encourage them not to be in contact too much with the Surprisee a few days before the party.