“Holiday office party”: Those three words together are enough to strike terror into some employees’ hearts. Three more words? Awkward! Boring. Painful. Making terrible small talk, eating awful bagged chips with goopy store-bought salsa. Everyone wondering exactly the same thing: how quickly can we flee?

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and gladness and sparkly things, amigos. Even the parts where you’re stuck with your co-workers. That’s why we’ve got the five must-have, can’t-live-without party necessities you need to take your office holiday party from miserable to magnifico.

  1. Good location. You’re already spending 40 hours a week in the office—so get out of there! Go find a festive place to party, somewhere new and exciting where everyone can relax, let down their hair, maybe even rock out a little. But okay, if you can’t get out of the office, deck those halls! Throw up some lights, add plenty of tinsel, go crazy—think P.Diddy kind of crazy. Get your hands on a disco ball and some tigers! Well, maybe not. But hey, keep Diddy in mind and you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up with some seriously festive results.
  2. Excellent music. Don’t just turn on the local radio station and hope some good tunes will come on. Nowadays you’ve got the whole internet at your fingertips, and plenty of music streaming services. You can create the most festive mood in town when you queue up a mix of holiday favorites, old and new. And ask your co-workers to pitch in with ideas, too, because everyone likes to talk music.
  3. Cool presents. Okay, friendship and love and camaraderie is the real meaning of the season, but who doesn’t love to get presents? Crazy people. Crazy people reject presents. Everyone else, though, gets really excited because presents are the best. So you’ve obviously got to add presents to the mix. Make it a white elephant exchange where everyone adds a present to the pile, or set up a Secret Santa—whatever you organize, everyone’s going to go home richer in spirit … blah blah … but also with something really cool.
  4. Delicious drinks. We’ve been to enough parties to know: The only thing that makes standing around in groups less awkward is having a drink in your hand. So serve drinks that all the partygoers are going to want to guzzle. Personally, we recommend something refreshingly sweet and festive like horchata, or maybe something tangy and delicious like Southwest Limeade to kick the party up a notch. I guess you could always throw in the traditional eggnog. And serve lots of it too, because whetting their whistles means keeping the small talk flowing.
  5. Amazing food. We’ve saved the best for last—because the thing that is most important at a party? The thing everyone talks about? The reason people go to parties? That’s right, it’s the food. So you want to set up a spread that’s magnificent. Personally we think Mexican catering is the way to go—homemade, fresh, mouthwateringly delicious. Something for everyone, vegetarians and sweet pork barbacoa lovers alike. Crunchy chips, zesty salsa, pillowy soft tortillas, perfectly spiced beans and cilantro-licious rice—it’s the party food that can’t be beat. When you lay out a Mexican feast, everyone will come running to fill their bellies with deliciousness and their hearts with happiness.