Welcome to Short Order, a brief, monthly shopping list for the season's most important culinary occasions.
This month: everything you need to wow your guests — or host — at a holiday party. Because no one remembers who brought the six pack, but everyone remembers who brought the saucy board game that made everyone laugh till their sides hurt.
More great party favors below.
For moving the party outside: Yeti Hopper
You the guy who always moves things out to the patio for cigars and some PG-13 conversation? Bring the Yeti Hopper with you and no one needs to run inside to re-up.
For keeping things cool: Ball and Rock Molds
After booze and snacks, ice is as vital resource as any at a party. Bringing a bag is always a pro move, but step it up with balls and rocks via a solid silicon mold. Store in the Yeti Hopper to ensure limited shrinkage.
For the sweet-toothed host: Tutti i Dolci
Going to an office party — or a fancy dinner party — and don’t want to bring another bottle of vino? The Tutti i Dolci gift basket from Eataly is what you bring. Everyone loves Italian chocolate.
For the memories: Lomography Instant Camera
Ever been to a wedding that had Polaroids on every table? It's a bona fide party starter. We like the Lomography because it's small and light enough to fit in your coat pocket. Take photos of drunk people. Give said drunk people photos of themselves. They'll be delighted.
For helping boring food be less boring: Fuego Box
Fuego Box is a monthly hot sauce club. Join and you’ll always have three obscure yet delicious sauces on hand, which come in nice at Christmas parties where tamales are served or the chef needs a kick in the pants.
For the party that needs to lighten up: Social Sabotage
Let's call social media what it is: ridiculous, petty and ephemeral. BuzzFeed's new game Social Sabotage embraces that mentality by daring participants to electively post socially awkward things.
For parties where people love to talk politics: Secret Hitler
Everyone loves to accuse those who disagree with their politics of “being Hitler.” Before you say “Yeah, but,” just take a breath, pour a glass of wine with friends from both sides of the aisle and play a round of Secret Hitler, a board game from the folks behind Cards Against Humanity. It's a deductive reasoning game and despite the tricky rules, it's quite fun.
Definitely not for Hannukah parties: Applewood Smoked Bacon
Another alternative to bringing a charcuterie board: Bacon. Get the applewood smoked bacon from Omaha Steaks, and then glaze it in maple syrup. All it needs now is a tray for serving.
For parties that don't do red Solo cups: Whiskey Peaks
These Whiskey Peaks double as a gift and a party necessity. Each tumbler has a little mountain range shaped out of glass at the base of the cup. Gives new meaning to on the rocks.
For cranking things up to 11: Fender Monterey Speaker
We all know people who don’t have a good music system, from a stingy co-worker to your analog parents. Either way, the Fender Monterey is 120 watts of clean sound packed into a case the size of a briefcase. And it looks handsome as hell.