This holiday season when you are thinking of party ideas for your employees, don’t settle for the usually pizza outing or standard holiday office party. Think outside of the box and come up with something that is unique! An unique party will not only show your employees that you actually thought up something that wasn’t the standard holiday party, but will let them know that you took the time out of your busy schedule to search for a party destination and party theme that was different than the usual holiday party ideas.

There are many places around the area that offer a wide variety of unique party spaces for holiday parties and also have many unique catering services to give your employees something special this holiday season. If you are struggling to come up with places to hold the party, or what type of food to get, here are some great places to help you get started!

Party Time Rental, located at 4150 South 89 St., specializes in elegant rentals for your special holiday party. They offer 36 choices of linen colors, multiple china patterns, a selection of table and chair styles and much more! If you want to hold the party at your office or somewhere else, using Party Time Rental will allow you to turn the regular old office into something none of your employees will recognize! By taking the time out and working with Party Time Rental, they can help you spruce up your office, make a worktable into the perfect appetizer table and show you all the linen tablecloths you could ever think of.

If you are thinking of a party held at a certain destination, why not consider having your holiday party at a hotel? The Hilton Garden Inn located in the Old Market area is a great place to consider. By staying around the downtown area, your employees can spend the night walking the streets of the vibrant Old Market and then crash in the comfy beds featured at the Hilton Garden Inn. Not only will having a place for your employees to sleep be safe, but it will also make for a convenient evening. Not to mention it will be a night your employees will talk about all year long. The Hilton Garden Inn offers complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour business center, indoor heated pool, whirlpool, cooked-to-order breakfast and offers a flexible meeting space for up to 100 people.

Deciding decorations for your holiday party can be pretty stressful. But, if you seek out the help of Holidynamics, planning your holiday party decorations will be a breeze! Holidynamics offers all the light sets you have ever dreamed of to really make your holiday party shine. Maybe someone you know has an old barn perfect for a holiday party, but doesn’t really do much to catch the attention of your guests. Why not make the place shine a bit by stringing up some lights! Or if you are considering having your holiday party at the office but want to make the place a bit more festive, Holidynamics can add some “dynamics” to your office. Holidynamics is located in Omaha at 10048 Scott Circle. Some of their new designs (light designs) for this year are: Snowman with broom, Noel scroll tree, ribbon pathway, LED Star of David, LED Menorah Candle and LED Margarita. Holidynamics also offers professional decorators to install the lights if you are a bit worried about decorating the office solo.

When you are thinking about planning your holiday party this year, one of the most important things on your list should be the type, and amount, of food that you buy and serve. “Though food should not be the focus, it can quickly become the talk of the party if it is a fail,” Brent Ganey of Garden Café said. “Hungry people are not happy people! Remember to feed them, don’t fatten them.  Sticking with a large variety of finger foods helps keep all palates happy.”

Some great suggestions to consider for your holiday party if you do not want to plan the food preparation by yourself are Maria’s Restaurant, Crave and Garden Café. All of these restaurants are great catering services, and also places to hold your office party, that will be sure to keep your guests full.

Maria’s Restaurant can do catering for your party or is a great place to consider holding the holiday dinner party. Having your meal somewhere besides the office will allow your guests to enjoy nice meal away from the office where they could relax and enjoy the company of their co-workers. Maria’s specializes in Mexican food and is located at 7630 Burlington Street in Ralston. Their menu features all the Mexican delights you can imagine from nachos, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and hand-poured margaritas. Maria’s also has Taco Tuesdays and specials on Thursday are featuring a pick two from taco, enchilada, and burrito tamale with rice for $ 6.99. To spice up your holiday party this year, why not treat your employees to some Mexican fare and family recipes.

Another restaurant option for you to consider for your holiday party is CRAVE, located near Midtown Crossing in Omaha. CRAVE features a vibrant menu that will leave your employees loving every single bit of their meal. CRAVE serves lunch and dinner. Some fun features they have include sushi, dessert, Sunday brunch, happy hour, signature drinks and a gluten free menu. Private dining is also available if you would like to reserve a spot for your employees and their families. If you feel like bringing the CRAVE experience to the office, they also do catering. On the catering menu you will find a group size order section. The group size order is available for delivery and carry out. These are value-sized portions of CRAVE favorites. A half order serves up to 15 people and full orders serve up to 25 people. Some catering menu options include: grilled salmon, bistro steak, numerous salads, and sushi and sandwich platters of all varieties. Don’t settle for standard holiday fare for your holiday party this year, but consider something fun and unique instead.

Another catering option to consider for your holiday party is Garden Café located at 11040 Oak Street in Omaha. Garden Café has been an Omaha tradition since 1985! They offer breakfast all day, lunch starting at $5.99, dinner any time, a carry out/to-go options, full-service catering, two party rooms, full-scale bakery and box lunches. “Popular finger food that we offer this season includes are Italian Sweetballs that can easily be served with toothpicks as a finger food or can be paired with cocktail buns to create sliders alongside some pulled BBQ beef brisket which creates a great entrée as well,” Brent said. Garden Café was voted Omaha’s favorite family restaurant and bakery. Also, if you are considering holding your holiday party at Garden Café, their two party room facilities seat up to 100 people.

If your business is on a budget this holiday season, Garden Café offers unique products that don’t break the bank. “You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a unique product with a taste that will be remembered,” Brent said. “As for dessert, look to unique items such as mini cheesecakes which offer creative variety and an experience that is not had at every holiday party.”

If you are looking to have your party at a location rather than cater in food, Garden Café is an off site location to consider. “Having your party off site adds appeal and a get away from the office feel as well,” Brent said.

Garden Café is currently holding Friday afternoon clubs by hosting 1 p.m. parties on Friday. “This type of event offers great incentive to the employee as well as the company as seen by offering: half day of work, getting out of the office to mingle with co-workers and family, doesn’t interfere with out of work activities, feels more like a perk than a chore and alcohol can be offered in lower volumes which lowers the cost, decreases companies liability and is more family friendly resulting in less opportunity for errant behavior amongst coworkers,” Brent said.

Garden Café is open every day from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Also, if you think you are cutting it close on catering options for your holiday party, Garden Café says short notice is not a problem!

When your want your party to have some special treats, call up Cuppycakes couture cupcakes in Omaha. Cuppycakes is open Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. They offer 50 flavors of cupcakes that are made to order. Cuppycakes also offers gluten-free and nut-free cupcakes if you desire. Cuppycakes was featured on Food Network and Cupcake Wars. If their 50 different flavors don’t suit your taste buds, you can create over 100 different cupcakes using their flavors. Cuppycakes offers daily features as well. Pricing for Cuppycakes is as follows: $3 a piece, $33 a dozen for regular sized cupcakes, $16.50 a dozen for mini sized cupcakes and $15 delivery charge if located in the Omaha area. Cupcake towers are available for rent also. If you are planning on ordering a large quantity of cupcakes for your holiday party, discounts are available for large orders. And, if cupcakes aren’t your thing, Cuppycakes also has French Macarons ($1.50 a piece and $16.50 a dozen) and Whoopie Pies ($3 a piece and $33 a dozen).

Still looking for ideas to make your party unique?  Consider the following:

–Entertainment.  Although it’s always nice to enjoy a nice meal or drinks together, you can make your party extra festive and memorable by bringing in some entertainment.  This could be as simple as having one of your employees dress up as Santa and taking everyone’s Christmas wish lists or as elaborate as bringing in a band and having a full-blown holiday formal dance.  Comedians, magicians and musicians make great options and can help drive conversation and fill those awkward gaps that can sometimes occur with groups of people who may not know each other that well outside the office.

–Have a ‘holiday favorite potluck’.  This is a great idea for companies who don’t have a large budget to professionally cater their party.  Ask your employees to each bring a holiday dish that holds a special memory for them.  Once everyone has arrived at the party, encourage each of them to share their memory of the dish.  Not only will this provide some entertainment and spur conversation, but it will also be a special bonding activity that will make each employee feel like they know something sentimental about the others.

–Have a gift exchange.  Having a gift exchange is a good way to have entertainment and make sure everyone has a great time.  This is also a way to take away the uncomfortable feeling your employees may be experiencing, wondering who in the office they should buy gifts for this year.  You can draw names a couple of weeks before the party or, even better, you can have a White Elephant gift exchange.  These can be a lot of fun and you can put a price limit on the items so that no one feels slighted or embarrassed by the gift they brought.

–Have the party at your home.  Having your company party at your home is a gesture that says you feel like your employees are your second family and that you are comfortable being in the space where you live.  Having the party at your home also helps you ‘kill two birds with one stone’.  You were probably planning on doing holiday decorating at your house anyway, so decorating for the party will not be any extra work.  Your lights, Christmas tree and other decorations that you normally put up will serve as the perfect backdrop for your party.  It will also be easy to cook up some delicious refreshments right from your own kitchen or, if you’d rather enjoy the party instead of playing hostess, you can always cater in the food and then put leftovers in your fridge or freezer for your family to enjoy later.

–Have two different parties.  Our company generally has two parties each year.  One is a family-friendly event that is usually held at a bowling alley, fun center or other place where we can bring our kids and they can have a great time together.  The second party is adults-only and usually includes a dinner at a nice restaurant (who is a client, of course!) and then drinks or entertainment afterward.  This is perfect because those with families know that their kids will get a chance to have fun and those without kids don’t feel slighted that they don’t get a chance to go out and have some drinks and stay out late if they want to.  Just keep in mind that everyone’s schedules get very busy during the holiday season, so you may not want to hold both parties close to each other.  We usually have one of our parties before the holidays actually hit and one after, so there is plenty to look forward to even after the technical festivities have ended!

–Skip the party and volunteer instead.  Are your employees swamped with the number of parties and family get togethers they need to attend this year?  Instead of piling on one more, consider forgoing the party and doing something to help out the community, such as delivering holiday dinners to those less fortunate or serving a holiday dinner at a shelter.  Your employees will still get to hang out and bond and you’ll all feel great about helping those who need it this season.

This holiday season instead of settling for the same old party room that you choose every year or scarcely decorated office party with 10-year-old decorations; why not consider holding your party somewhere fun and unique with yummy food selections to make your employees fully satisfied. Your employee’s work hard all year long and they deserve a little something special when it comes to the annual holiday party. With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s now or never to book your party location and catering before everything is booked.

As the time gets closer, take a poll at the office and see what type of “dream” holiday party your employees are craving. By getting your employees opinions you are letting them have a say in the party, but also taking the time out to really listen and plan a party they will all enjoy. Have a little fun this holiday season by thinking outside of the usually possibilities and making your party something to remember.