It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. Workplace events can be challenging to plan, given the wide range in age and interests of the guests. We are so fortunate to work with a wonderful group of gracious, talented, fun people. And with the help of fabulously creative colleagues, an extraordinary caterer, a cool venue, and attention to the party details below…this gala was another huge success.
Guests were invited to begin the evening at Crafted, a marketplace where local artisans sell one-of-a-kind creations, then make their way next door to Brouwerij West, a restored 1940s-era warehouse where craft beer production has recently commenced. The massive industrial building came to life with sparkling lights, glittery Christmas trees, and pizazzy beer-centric decor. Brewmaster Brian Mercer gave personalized tours of the sprawling production brewery.
Waiters passed trays of delightful fig tarts and mini beef wellingtons. A bruschetta bar where guests helped themselves to an array of toppings helped kick off the cocktail-hour where various beer tastings and wines were offered while the DJs played a mix of Christmas and party music. Jay’s Catering Company custom-designed an informal dinner buffet of delicious foods that pair well with beer. Toasts of gratitude, fond memories, and good cheer led into the holiday gift giving. After a visit to the All-American dessert bar, guests took to the dance floor where DJs Chris and Christian rocked the house.
BROUWERIJ WEST SAN PEDRO BREWERY & TASTING ROOM – Brewing Belgian-inspired craft beers in a restored massive WWII- era Warehouse No. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles.
CRAFTED AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES – A large-scale permanent handmade artisan marketplace. The classically restored Warehouse No. 10 is home to more than 100 individual artists, crafters and food makers, each presenting their unique handcrafted goods in a vibrant patchwork of shop spaces.
JAY’S CATERING CO. – Bringing people of Southern California to the table since 1967. Jay’s Catering Company is a family owned business committed to providing handcrafted food and exceptional service at affordable prices.
CD PLAYERS ENTERTAINMENT – Our favorite Southern California DJs for many years, Chris and Christian really know how to “Get The Party Started” and keep it going “All Night Long!”
BROUWERIJ WEST VENUE BEFORE & AFTER
You and a Guest are Cordially Invited to the
RHCDS ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY
Join us from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm for an optional visit to
CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles
“a handmade marketplace where local artisans sell one-of-a-kind creations”
Then walk next door to the brewery from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
“where Belgian-inspired ales are made in a 70 year old warehouse”
Beer Tasting (there’s wine too)! A Tour by the Brewmaster!
Music! Dancing! Amazing Food Stations!
Attire is “warehouse comfortable”
Think jeans and boots, then add some holiday flair!
TRAY PASSED HORS D’ OEUVRES
Fig, Goat Cheese & Mascarpone Tart, Drizzled with a Pomegranate Sauce
Mini Filet & Wild Mushroom Wellington, Served with Bearnaise Sauce
Make your own Bruschetta with:
Coarsely chopped tomato pomodoro, olive tapenade,
sundried tomato cream cheese, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions,
gorgonzola crumbles, and balsamic reduction with parmesan crostinis
Traditional Caesar Salad
Romaine lettuce, homemade foccacia croutons, fresh grated parmesan cheese
Served with creamy caesar dressing
Wild field greens and romaine lettuce, sliced pears, dried cranberries,
chopped walnuts and stilton cheese
Served with pear vinaigrette
MASHED POTATO STATION
Mashed Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes
Includes the following toppings: applewood smoked bacon, green onions, shredded jack and cheddar cheese, sour cream, whipped butter, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, brown sugar, and candied pecans
Kalua Pork Slider with Apple Slaw
Mini Hawaiian Roll
Grilled Vegetable Slider with Havarti Cheese
Balsamic Reduction on a Mini Cheese Roll
OFF THE GRILL SKEWERS STATION
Grilled Vegetable Skewers
Mediterranean Chicken Skewers
Mint & Cilantro Pesto Sauce and Tzatziki Sauce
Freshly Baked Flatbread
ALL AMERICAN DESSERT STATION
A Collection of S’more Pops, Fresh Fruit Crostatas, Old Fashioned Cookies
Rice Krispy Treat Pops & Mini Rocky Road Cupcakes
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.
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. Everyone gets home at a reasonable hour to work the next day.
Work with the management to create a FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE.
Plan the party at an establishment where there is a bar area, or ROOM TO MINGLE. Remember, once guests take their seats for dinner, they only socialize with those at their table.
Accommodate special dietary needs. Many of the items at our stations were VEGETARIAN.
Serve beverages that complement the meal, good wines, and special non-alcoholic drinks. Of course, our theme this year was BEER.
LIVE MUSIC or a DJ adds to the party atmosphere. Choose music that appeals to your entire group. We play 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.
The host can make a brief SPEECH, welcome guests, share good tidings.
Make dessert special! The ALL AMERICAN DESSERT STATION hit everyone’s hot buttons!
Give special/unique PARTY FAVORS to take home.
Ensure SAFE transportation for all the guests.
Extending a very special thank you to all
who helped to make this year’s holiday party a smashing success:
Karen, Liz, Laura, Judy, Galen, Katherine, Brian, Britta, Andrew, Casey, Chris, and Christian!
And thank you to the awesome faculty and staff at
Rolling Hills Country Day School for your enthusiasm, kind words, and camaraderie.
It is an honor to work with each and every one of you!
“The party was beautiful! The food was delicious, the venue too cute, and of the music/dancing was awesome!”
“I just wanted to thank you again for organizing such a wonderful and memorable holiday party.”
“You think of all the little details and make all the staff members feel valued.”
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank you so much for the very generous holiday gift. Wow! What a pleasant surprise.”
“I consider myself really lucky to have the opportunity to work at RHCDS and be a part of our school’s family.”
“I really look forward to the parties every year as they are always unique and special.”
“Thank you all for your continual support and leadership.”
“I know it’s a tremendous amount of work and you do a fabulous job of it, so thank you.”
“Thank you again for all you do.”
Best wishes for a magical, peaceful, and wildly delicious 2016!
Read about the 2nd Annual Sustainable Seafood Expo &
Chef’s Table Dinner held at CRAFTED here.