How to Host an Epic Office Holiday Party

The co-founders of Huckle + Goose are shaking things up.

From Anca & Christine:
What does Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” wine spritzers, and that chemically-smelling cinnamon candle all have in common? The makings of your not-so-memorable office holiday party last year (and the year before that). Granted, your nose has not forgotten that candle in the gift exchange and you've also tried to erase the vivid memory of Larry from accounting doing a walk/dance in your direction to Beyonce's 'Single Ladies'... This year, volunteer to plan the party and then—make it epic. Here’s how:

1. Get your game on

We're huge fans of games (Game of Things never disappoints); it's probably the most we ever laugh. So don't let the idea of games being cheesy put you off. Sometimes the cheesy ones bring out those rare laugh-until-you-cry moments.

2. Dress in costume

Costumes aren't just for Halloween. Host a themed holiday party and have guests show up in their best costumes. Show up as the full cast of Frozen or stick with the classic ugly sweater theme.

3. Plan a fail-proof gift exchange

Instead of getting a gift under $10-$15 that will most likely be trashed, why not make it the goal to find the worst possible gift in that range. At the very least you'll have some hilarious moments and the best "worst" gift can get some extra vacation days.

4. Go potluck on the food and drinks

Skip the frozen egg rolls or the cheap pasta from the usual lunch spot. If spending extra cash on really good catered food is not an option, why not have it be a potluck? Give everyone the recipes to make (we've got a few for you) and get the team to pitch in.
Remember: no talking about work, memos and deadlines! The party is all about having some fun with the people you spend most of your time with. Enjoy!

How to Host an Epic Office Holiday Party

Roasted Rosemary Cashews

Serves 8
The perfect snack for parties and movie nights.
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (minced very, very finely)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper (or more if you like the heat)
  • 3 cups raw cashews
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place all ingredients except for cashews in a medium bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. (If you don't have a microwave use a small saucepan over low heat.) Whisk with a fork to combine.
3. Toss in cashews and coat them well with the butter mixture. Spread cashews out on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, giving them a good shake halfway through. Serve warm or cooled.
 
DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE CARD HERE

 

How to Host an Epic Office Holiday Party

Garlicky Swiss Fondue

Serves 8
Our fondue pot certainly earns its keep, especially during the fall and winter months when we want to throw simple, thoughtful gatherings in a pinch. The communal nature of this meal captures the essence of the season so very well.
 
Ingredients:
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1½ cup heavy cream (warmed in a small pot) 6 ounces Gruyere cheese (grated)
  • 6 ounces Emmentaler cheese (grated)
  • A pinch ground nutmeg
  • A pinch Cayenne pepper
  • A pinch sea salt
  • A pinch black pepper
Directions:
1. Add butter to a medium pot (or directly in your fondue pot if it's stovetop-safe) over medium heat. After the butter melts, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to create a smooth roux.
2. Turn heat to low and gradually add the wine, moving the liquid around in a figure-eight motion. Do this for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced and smooth.
3. Gradually add warmed cream and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is incorporated.
4. Add cheese in small handfuls, fully incorporating each before adding the next. When all the cheese is added and you have a smooth mixture, adjust the consistency with a bit of wine if needed, and sprinkle in all the seasonings.
5. Transfer to a fondue pot placed over its heat source and let the dipping commence.
 

A Wintertime Farmers' Market Assortment for Fondue

Serves 8
Root and cruciferous vegetables abound at the market and, when roasted, lend themselves well to a giant pot of melted cheese. This recipe is more of a template, so bring home whatever you find, especially if its Romanesco or purple cauliflower.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash (peeled and seeds removed)
  • 1 celery root (peeled)
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 head cauliflower (outer leaves removed)
  • 1 tart apple Grapeseed oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Loaf of bread

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Prepare the vegetables: Chop squash and celery root into ¾" cubes. Break the cauliflower apart into florets a little over an inch in length. Slice off a very thin portion of the Brussels sprout core/stem, then halve the sprout lengthwise. A leaf or two might come off, but it should hold its shape. Place all the vegetables in a bowl and generously salt and pepper with a teaspoon or two of each. Pour in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, enough to thinly coat the vegetables. Toss carefully to not break apart the Brussels sprouts.
3. Divide the vegetables between two baking sheets and roast for 35-40 minutes, giving them a good toss halfway through.
4. Meanwhile, cube the apple and bread.
5. Serve everything on one giant platter or several long, thin platters to place around the fondue pot. Skewer one veggie/bread/fruit cube at a time, dip in cheese, twirl to wrap the cheese around, and eat. Repeat until it's time for dessert.
 

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE CARD HERE
 
How to Host an Epic Office Holiday Party

Pear Cilantro Margarita Pitcher

Serves 4
With winter pears from a farm cellar and a handful of cilantro that grew on our windowsill, the winter months become less dreary. The consistency is somewhere between a smoothie and a juice, with a punch of pear and cilantro flavor. And a punch of tequila, too.


Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Bosc pears
  • 2-3 limes (juiced, about ⅓ cup total)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
  • ½ cup tequila ice cubes (for the pitcher and each glass)
  • Sea salt (good quality and flakey if you have it on hand)
     

Directions:

1. Peel pears and remove cores. Cut close to the seeds and keep even the slightly harder parts of the flesh since everything will purée well. Chop each pear into big chunks and place in the blender.
2. Add cilantro and lime juice. Give everything a long whir until you have a smoothie-like consistency. We used the "whole juice" setting on our blender.
3. Fill a quart-sized pitcher with a good handful of ice, pour in tequila and pear/cilantro/lime purée, and stir well.
4. Pour into ice-filled glasses and sprinkle in a pinch of flaky sea salt. ¡Salud! NOTE: This was perfectly and naturally sweet for our taste, but add agave nectar or simple syrup if your taste buds ask for it. Also triple the recipe for more people!

 
DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE CARD HERE


Your Epic Holiday Party Grocery List

Essentials:

  • All-Purpose Flour (3 tbsp)
  • Black Pepper Brown Sugar (2 tsp)
  • Garlic (4 cloves)
  • Grapeseed Oil Sea
  • Salt (2 tsp, + extra)

Dairy:

  • Cheddar Cheese (8 oz)
  • Emmentaler Cheese (6 oz)
  • Gruyère Cheese (6 oz)
  • Heavy Cream (1 ½ cups)
  • Unsalted Butter (5 tbsp)

Produce:

  • Bosc Pears (2 )
  • Brussels Sprouts (1 lb)
  • Butternut Squash (1 )
  • Cauliflower (1 head)
  • Celery Root (1 )
  • Fresh Cilantro (¼ cup)
  • Fresh Rosemary (2 tbsp)
  • Limes (2 )
  • Tart Apple (1 )

Beverages:

  • Dry White Wine (1 cup)
  • Tequila (½ cup)

Pantry:

  • Cashews (3 cups)

Spices:

  • Cayenne Pepper (¼ tsp, + extra)
  • Ground Nutmeg

Bakery:

  • Your Favorite Bread (1 loaf)
     
DOWNLOAD THE GROCERY LIST HERE
 

For more from Anca and Christine, read their recent posts on our site or visit them online at HuckleGoose.com.