By Adele Chapin Posted November 29, 2011, 9:10 AM EST
The company holiday party season has arrived. If you’re still searching for entertaining ideas for corporate groups in Washington—whether you're hosting an office party, after-work drinks in a bar, or a big blowout—check out these resources for food, entertainment, gifts, event decor, rentals, group activities, and more.
1. Menus by Occasions Caterers, a new corporate line from the catering company that offers delivery for conferences, lunches, dinners, and office gatherings, will deliver a holiday feast with favorites like roasted chicken roulade with country stuffing and gravy, whipped buttermilk potatoes, and individual pumpkin pies. All orders require a 10 person minimum, and a 24 piece-minimum for hors d’oeuvres. Menu items are priced per person.
2. Lovepops is offering cake pops featuring seasonal cake flavors like gingerbread, dipped in a candy coating (peanut butter, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate). A minimum order of two dozen is required, and prices start at $2.50 each.
3. Kimpton Hotels is offering three holiday party packages at 11 of their hotel properties in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, including the Hotel Monaco Alexandria, the Hotel Palomar Washington, D.C., and the Lorien Hotel & Spa. The “Not Quite a Silent Night” includes two hours of hosted bar service, six passed hors d’oeuvres, a cheese plate, and crudite. The ”Jingle Bell Rock On” includes a buffet with two entrees, like roasted farmhouse chicken or roasted pork loin, two sides, salad, dessert, coffee, and tea, and “Making Spirits Bright(er)” includes three hours of hosted bar, four passed hors d'oeuvres, two food stations, dessert, coffee, and tea. All parties include a dance floor, DJ table, table numbers, linens, and napkins. Menu offerings and prices vary from hotel to hotel and start at $45 per person.
4. Entertainment company Cast of Thousands has character performers available for the holiday season, including the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Jack Frost. For an interactive group activity, try “Holiday Hat Factory,” which gives guests a chance to get crafty by decorating red and green baseball hats.
5. Fromager Carolyn Stromberg of The Cheese Course will be offering cheese-themed gift baskets during the month of December. Visit the Seasonal Pantry, a new gourmet food co-op, on Saturdays in December, and Stromberg will assemble a custom basket for $50 with three cheeses, dried fruit, nuts, and salumi. Custom and pre-packed gift baskets that include cheeses, salumi, dried fruit, nuts, and wine are also available to order online for hand-delivery. Basket orders are due Wednesday at noon for delivery the following Sunday or Monday. Delivery is free within the Beltway; orders beyond the Beltway require a $200 minimum.
6. Groups can now learn how to whip up ’60s-era dishes thanks to the Westend Bistro’s retro holiday entertaining class. Chef de Cuisine Joe Palma and general manager Amy Troutmiller teach corporate groups how to plan a Mad Men-style holiday party in their own homes, covering recipes for pimento cheese fondue, ham crisps, punchbowl cocktails, and grasshopper hot chocolate. The cost is $75 per person (not including tax and gratuity), with a minimum of 30 people. The class is offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
7. Holiday greenery can be picked up last minute at Shaw's Old City Green. The three-year-old nursery is offering Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands in a variety of sizes until December 25. Wreaths start at $15 and trees start at $25, ranging in height from 3 feet to 12 feet. Boxwood, red cedar, and white pine garland sold by the foot is also available.
8. Groups can visit a life-size gingerbread house at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. A tour of “Gingy’s Bakeshop” in the hotel’s atrium ends with the option to build your own gingerbread house in a private decorating area. Groups receive 20 percent off the gingerbread building kits, which regularly range from $30 to $69. Gingy, the gingerbread man from the Shrek movies, will also be available to take photos with guests. Groups between 20 and 100 people can sign up for buyouts Monday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
9. Corporate groups of as many as 100 can buy out the rink at Pentagon Row on Sunday and Thursday nights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for $600. The price includes skate rentals, and party tables can be set up. From now through January 1, there is a twice-nightly artificial snowfall over the rink. Group rates are also available for any other skating time open to the public, with prices starting at $6 per skater plus $3 for skate rental.
10. Holiday design schemes from Capital Décor and Events of Beltsville, Maryland, include birch trees wrapped with white crystals and sparkling lights, glowing Lucite boxes tied with festive ribbons, and custom-built bars made to look like they belong in a cozy cabin.