Holiday Party Trends 2015: Fresh Twists on Ranch Traditional Favorites

Alisal Christmas Tree in SycamoreIt is Autumn officially.  And while we at the ranch are still in the middle of weddings, corporate events and beautiful warm weather here in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, it’s especially hard to imagine cold weather, warm fires, cozy food , family and holiday celebration.  Yet, our emails and phones are buzzing with inquiries on holiday parties, private family gatherings and with the recovering economy, many corporations are resuming the traditional annual holiday party.  Some of the most pressing questions from our clients include:   1)  We don’t want to do a ranch buy-out just to host our holiday party  and 2) What can we do that makes our holiday party different?

Our job is to make you, the one planning the special occasion, look Alisal Christmas bulblike a seasoned expert so you can get the credit (and relax and enjoy the process).  We have many locations we can recommend at the main ranch , based on your spending plan, logistics and vision. For private parties at the main ranch, we require a minimum number of overnight accommodations be  booked, to ensure a quality experience for all guests and also for the preservation of the legendary rhythm at the ranch.  If overnight accommodations are not an option for you, we recommend our lovely Alisal River Terrace (formerly The River Grill), where no overnight accommodations are required and this private venue offers sweeping views of the wine country hillside, an intimate lake, cozy fireplace, and lots of flexibility stylistically, all with the legendary cuisine and service of Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. 

While Alisal Guest Ranch offers many time-honored traditions for p_dining2their menus, as well as the specialty holiday menus Chef Pascal custom-created for private holiday celebrations at the ranch, what many do not know is that our events team is equipped to provide menus and service that are up -to-date, cutting edge fresh.  Check out the following 2015 Holiday Party Trends (and yes, we can work with you to create any or all of them):

Favors: Consider favors that can actually be used by guests:  from “foot relief” gifts of portable ballet flats for ladies’ tired feet, gift cards to local shuttle/taxi services for vouchers for complimentary rides home after the party, to-go chargers for cell phones, “Good Night/Good Morning Kits” that include eye masks, aspirin, eyedrops, mints and maybe a small snack-like popcorn or cookies to send them off with (and yes, we can even make them ranch-themed so guests get to take home a bit of the spirit of Alisal with them when they leave).

Food and Beverage Ideas: It’s all about the experience and presentation.  From “torched meat” (yes, where meat is hung and torched in front of guests watching, so it’s part of the entertainment), to hanging “orbs” where each orb is holding a different salad for guests to choose, rather than displayed on a traditional buffet table; small snack-sized nibbles made into a “bar” experience such as olive and breadstick bars with a variety of spreads;  specialty welcome signature cocktails and even a “mocktail” bar dedicated entirely to fun & exotic  non-alcoholic drinks.  How about a gourmet hot chocolate bar with liquor mix-ins or a station where guests can decorate their own holiday cookies, interact with each other and have some fun?  For the main meal, food stations continue to be very popular for holiday events, allowing more mingling time for guests, as well.

No matter what your style, we can help you create something truly unique that will get your guests engaged.  We also support event planning with  full coordination of all rentals and so much more. Not sure what you need, but know you need to plan something and soon?  Contact us at :  (805) 688-6411  or and we can guide you.  December dates are booking quickly.

by Chelsea Elizabeth Photography
by Chelsea Elizabeth Photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s