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7 Last-Minute Ideas for Holiday Parties in Los Angeles

By Alesandra Dubin December 2, 2009, 9:00 AM EST

As we enter the thick of the corporate holiday party season, here are some ideas and resources to keep a group entertained, fed, and rewarded.

1. For a wintry activity—even in snowless Los Angeles—take a group to the W Los Angeles in Westwood, where YourBash has transformed the pool deck into a 1,300-square-foot ice rink. It debuted on November 13 and will remain open through January 24, and skate rental is available. The total capacity for the “Chill” deck and the Backyard restaurant is 400 (the rink itself has room for about 20). At the Backyard restaurant’s “Snowy Snack Bar,” executive chef Monique King offers comfort foods such as soups and s’mores, and cocktails like hazelnut-espresso martinis, pumpkin lattes, and spiked hot chocolate. A one-hour buyout Monday through Thursday is $1,000, and rental fees climb to $5,000 for a weekend evening buyout; there is a food and beverage minimum for evening buyouts as well. Cabana rentals are $50 per hour.

2. For a holiday-appropriate, feel-good office outing, Mary Poppins opened November 15 at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre for a limited engagement; the show runs through February 7. Original Broadway players Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee reprise their roles as Mary Poppins and Bert, respectively. Discounts are available of up to 10 percent off prime seating locations for groups of 15 or more.

3. L.A.'s own San Antionio Winery offers personalized wine labels for corporate holiday gifts. Prices for an order of five cases or more begin around $100 per case (for the Special Select Harvest Red, California Coastal) and range to about $400 (for the Riboli Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley). The minimum order is six bottles per wine type, with one label design. There is a $35 processing charge and an overall one-case minimum order.

4. As part of its month-long Treats Tuesday program, Wolfgang Puck Catering will deliver seasonal sweets on December 22. Items include gingerbread men, chocolate peppermint brownies, chocolate chip cookie lollipops, pumpkin cheesecake squares, mini pecan pies, and other desserts. The one-day service is $25 a person with a 20-person minimum. The items come packaged so recipients may take them home for their own holiday entertaining or share within the office. Five days advance notice is required, and orders can be placed via email to events@wolfgangpuck.com.

5. For an in-office or off-site event for a group of wine lovers, the Classico Group can provide a professional sommelier to guide the crowd through a tasting. Classico also creates wine lists, pairings, and coordinates the purchase and delivery of bottles. And since the wines are not provided by any particular retailer, the Classico Group can approach any source for its wines—meaning better selections and more sound pairings for a group that really knows wine.

6. For festive office parties, pick up a holiday-themed “Joy Box” from Sprinkles Cupcakes, which the bakery is offering through December 24. The box, $36, comes with 12 cupcakes in four flavors (three cupcakes in each flavor): chocolate-peppermint, red velvet, coconut, and vanilla-peppermint. The cupcakes come topped with frosting and peppermint pieces or coconut.

7. Holiday time is hardly diet season; appeal to the comfort-food cravings with the Grilled Cheese Truck, which is making stops at events around town. The truck minimum order guarantees (based on a two-hour time frame) are $1,000 for all events Tuesday through Thursday or events ending before 9 p.m. on weekends. The minimum is $1,500 for events ending after 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There is a 15 percent nonrefundable service charge plus travel fees.

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