Tis the season for holiday gatherings large and small. From office parties, Friendsgivings, white elephant exchange, New Year's Eve and everything in between, hosting any event comes with its fair share of stress. So we collected some helpful tips from our team of experts to help make your holiday hosting a much more enjoyable experience this season!
The two biggest secrets for hosting with the perfect party food are (1) to properly plan, and (2) prep in advance. Vegetables, fruit, and charcuterie can be made hours, or even a full day, in advance. Even many warm side dishes like Mac & Cheese can be prepped ahead of time. Cook the sauce and pasta separately the day before then simply mix them together before reheating in the oven.
Recipe recommendation: creamy, cheesy, fan-favorite White Cheddar Mac & Cheese that's perfect for holiday entertaining.
THE HOLIDAY CONVERSATION STARTER
Is a holiday party complete without St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Sauce? If you answered yes (😞), keep on scrolling because it’s truly the perfect flavor-packed party food! Ideal for helping your significant other battling a cold, yet equally perfect for your overbearing mother-in-law. (Yes, the one who criticizes everything yet has never tried our fiery horseradish-packed sauce.)
Pro tip: when cooking shrimp, we recommend boiling or steaming for only a few minutes depending on the size of shrimp, then finishing in an ice bath so they don’t overcook. When shrimp looks like a C, it’s Cooked; when it looks like an O it’s Overcooked. Here’s our complete guide for cooking shrimp.
Planning on knocking back a few at your party? We are too! But be sure to encourage responsible drinking, and remember to clearly label kid drinks vs. adult beverages. Speaking of adult beverages, adding a themed drink made in advance is a great way for guests to enjoy a festive cocktail in seconds.
Here are a few of our favorite holiday show-starters:
St. Elmo Punch made with St. Elmo Cherry Vanilla Bourbon.
The Classic Elmo Cola, a staple on the St. Elmo Steak House cocktail menu.
Frisky Whiskey featuring St. Elmo Old Fashioned.
or a decadent Espresso Martini with Brown Sugar Caramel rim.
Bonus tip: Don’t add ice when you batch the cocktails, just have ice available on the side. Why craft the perfect drink only to water it down throughout the party?
MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
Music elevates even the smallest gatherings, so depending on the type of party, consider hiring a DJ if your budget & space allows. Or for a more budget-friendly alternative, ask attendees to share their favorite songs in advance, then build a playlist that everyone will enjoy.
Hiring a bartender can also elevate the mood and allow guests more time to spend mingling instead of making drinks. If a bartender is not an option, we recommend stocking up on St. Elmo Steak House ready-to-pour cocktails so guests can enjoy craft cocktails in seconds.
We know, it’s even worse to take down than it is to put up, but it can really help elevate the festivities! Even if you don’t plan to decorate for the event, consider creating a unique background for couples or small groups to pose in front and share their memories with friends and family.
More than anything, just remember to enjoy yourself! When the event host is having fun, everyone else will follow suit. Happy hosting, and happy holidays!