Tips for how to throw the BEST Secret Santa

Thinking of doing a secret Santa gift exchange among family or friends this year? Great idea! It is truly one of the simplest ways to exchange gifts and have fun at the same time! How do you host a fantastic (& easy) secret Santa gift exchange? We have some tips for you below! 😉

  1. Planning a Secret Santa

Get together with a group of your friends or family and make a list of participants. You can then write down their names on little strips of paper and have everyone pick out of a hat. Need to do things electronically because you can’t all seem to meet up? Don’t worry! There is a way to do that too!

Electronic Selection Secret Santa (iPhone)

In the group chat, the host of the secret Santa (probably you), has a list of all the names. First, assign a number to each person on the list. Send this first in the group chat so everyone knows their assigned number. Next, send each name with invisible ink. (Don’t know how? It is super easy. Type out the message you want to send, then right before you send it, hold down the send arrow until options pop up. Select invisible ink and send). If you really don’t want to know who has who, have a friend send each name for you jumbled with invisible ink! 

Now, everyone has their assigned number. The invisible ink message that corresponds with that number will reveal who is to be their secret Santa giftee! (Fun and easy, right? Thanks technology).



2. Hosting the reveal party

Secret santas, it is time to come forward! Before the celebration and reveal, a decision needs to be made about what type of party would be best. There are a couple of different options:

-Cocktail and appetizer party

-Full sit down dinner

-Buffet style dinner


-Dessert and after dinner drinks only

Once an option is decided, you can start planning! Organizing the spaces (eating, sitting, unwrapping presents, mingling) and setting up decorations can be quite the task. This is where ShortStaf comes in! Post on the app to find any type of party help you need. ShortStaf can…

Set up the table (or tables)


Set up food platters

Organize food stations 


Clean as you and your guests enjoy

Clean up after the party is done

Cook the food (if you don’t feel like it)

Greet guests at the door

And SO much more!

Don’t see something listed? Well, we can probably do that too. Any questions, you can always open up your ShortStaf App and message us through the Intercom messenger button on the Account tab 🙂



When it finally comes time to open up the gifts (yay!), there are two different ways you and your group can do it. First way- have the host pass out the gifts one by one, and each person opens it before the next is handed out. This gives the secret santa a chance to watch their giftee’s reaction and reveal who they are! The second way is to pass out all the gifts at once and have everyone open at the same time. Some people prefer this method because it doesn’t make any one person the center of attention. Which is perfectly fine! Come to a consensus with you guests so no one feels uncomfortable while opening up their gifts.

So, secret santa gift exchange. The recipe for success is right here-

Start planning ahead! Use the old fashioned way of pen, paper, and a hat, or use the iPhone invisible ink method if it works better for your group. Next, plan a party to exchange the awesome gifts you have selected for each other! Pick what type of event you would like to have and set your house or party space up accordingly. With the help of ShortStaf, you can enjoy the secret santa fun with your guests. No more worrying about setting up, cleaning, decorating, serving food, making drinks, or breaking everything down! Enjoy this holiday season! You created a secret santa to have fun right? So don’t let last minute details dull your holiday spirit. Time to enjoy 🙂

3 Tips for Throwing the Best Holiday Dinner Party

Holiday Dinner Party Tablescape

A big party isn’t the scene for everyone. If you are the type who enjoys a more intimate gathering, then a holiday dinner party is just what you need to get in the holiday spirit! How do you organize, decorate, and execute the perfect dinner party? We’ll tell you how in 3 easy steps!

  1. Know your guests.

Since a dinner party will have less guests, that means everyone’s tastes need to be brought into consideration. Sharon doesn’t eat cheese, Mike hates fruit, and Denise is a vegetarian. When creating your menu, keep these personal preferences in mind. You don’t want to alienate your guests by serving food they can’t eat or won’t enjoy.

2. Decorate to your heart’s desire

A dinner party has a more intimate and relaxed feel. This means you don’t have to go absolutely nutty with the decorations. A beautiful tablescape, string lights, and a couple of lit candles will do the trick. Need tablescape inspiration? Visit our Pinterest board for all things holiday related!

3. Spend quality time with your guests

The one thing that can bring down a holiday dinner party is the clean up. From personal experience, my guests are always trying to help me clean up- and it drives me insane! They are my guests. I want them to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful evening I have planned. To avoid this problem, I started using ShortStaf to clean up after dinner service. They collect all the plates, break down the food stations, do the dishes, and take care of all the trash. Now, there is no excuse for my guests to try and lift a finger.

For a perfectly executed dinner party:

Know your guests- serve food that will wow and everyone will enjoy. Decorate a lot or a little. It is YOUR dinner party. Do what makes you happy 🙂 And finally, use ShortStaf! So this year, you and your guests can enjoy together. (No more trying to do the dishes, Sharon!).


….Need some tips on how to make the best cocktails? Visit our video on how to make a classic martini, 2 ways!

Happy Holidays from the ShortStaf Family to Yours!


Classic Martini: 2 Ways!

…A Shake Through One of History’s Most Emblematic Cocktails…

Today we are shaking things up and offering some tips on how to make classic martini’s at home! Today we’re talking about a Classic Martini : How To: 2 Ways! Dry with a twist, and Dirty!

Traditionally, the Martini was a cocktail composed of just two ingredients: gin and vermouth. The drink was typically garnished with a twist of lemon or olives.  However, since its inception – the Martini has become one of the most iconic, well-known alcoholic beverages in the world. They’ve come a long way from the start. Let’s take a quick look at the Martini’s transformation through the decades… 

The name Martini came from the brand name used by an Italian producer of vermouth in Italy, Alessandro Martini.  Still today, arguably the most well-known brand of vermouth.  

The Martini reached its height just in time for the roaring 20’s! At this time the Martini was comprised of London Dry Gin and Dry Vermouth in a 2:1 ratio, stirred over ice, and served strained into a cocktail glass.  At the time of the United States’ prohibition legislation, the illegal manufacturing of gin was relatively easy. This led to the predominance of this cocktail during this time. After Prohibition ended, the availability of quality gin led the drink to become progressively drier – that is, over time, the amount of vermouth in a Martini became less and less. 

It even became the norm to rub a finger with vermouth on it around the rim of the glass for just the “essence” of the botanical aroma. Or as Winston Churchill did – chilled his gin and “bowed in the direction of France” (another large producer of Vermouth). As the Martini evolved, it moved further and further from its roots and became anything but.  

By the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Martini was considered antiquated. The 1980’s brought about more complex and elaborate cocktails like Sex on the Beach, Long Island Iced Teas, Tequila Sunrises, and Mudslides.  


But in the mid-90’s, drinks served in a Martini cocktail glass gave the word “-tini” a whole new meaning.  A new wave of cocktails like the Espresso Martini, Appletini, Chocolate Martini took on the catchy suffix – but were made with vodka and other ingredients – not including dry vermouth – and therefore lacked any commonality with a true Martini.  


Today, Martini’s are enjoyed in many fashions.  Perhaps one of today’s most common orders for a Martini often implies folks are just asking for straight vodka chilled over ice – which isn’t really a Martini at all…    


Nonetheless, bartenders everywhere have their own unique twist on, and favorite variation of, one of the most symbolic cocktails in history. 


Check out our How To Video!

Here’s our recipes from the Classic Martini : 2 Ways video… and a bonus Appletini Recipe! 


Traditional Martini

3 oz Ketel One Vodka

½ oz Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth


Shaken over ice, Strained and served in a chilled Martini cocktail glass


Twist a lemon rind (with twist-tool or a pairing knife – CAREFULLY!)


Rub twist around rim of glass to release the essential oils and aroma


Drop twisted rind into Martini 



Classic Dirty Martini

3 oz Ketel One Vodka

½ oz Olive Juice/Brine


Shaken over ice, Strained and served in a chilled Martini cocktail glass


Spear 3 Bleu-cheese stuffed (or regular) Olives


Drop olives into Martini 



BONUS : Appletini

2.5 oz Ketel One Vodka

1.5 oz Sour Apple Schnapps

Splash of Sweet-n-Sour drink mix


Shaken over ice, Strained and served in a chilled Martini cocktail glass


Garnish with 1 Maraschino cherry

What is YOUR favorite Martini? Tell us what recipes you’d like to see!

For more information, and tips on throwing the best dinner party : visit our blog! 


Fall in love with Hosting Parties!

Fall in love with hosting parties again - use shortstaf app

Hosting a party should give you that warm fuzzy feeling. You are bringing friends and family together to celebrate! Whether it is a birthday, holiday, announcement, or just because, you deserve to enjoy with your guests.

This Fall season, we want you to ‘Fall’ in love with hosting. At times, it can be stressful and overwhelming. Thanks to ShortStaf, it simply doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

How can you ‘Fall’ in love with hosting? We’ll tell you how in 3 easy steps.

  1. Start planning ahead

Think about everything you need, people you need to invite, and how you’re going to do it. The best way to do this is to make lists! Yes, it sounds basic, but even the best of us forget this small detail. Ever been to the grocery store with a list and still forget something? Yeah, us too. Double check your lists to make sure you don’t forget anyone or anything 🙂

 2. Make yourself a priority

When planning a party, we all seem to lose ourselves in the details. The host naturally thinks of the guests’ needs first. What are they going to want and need when they arrive? How much food and drinks will need to be prepared..and where will it go? Remember, it is your party too! You deserve to enjoy it.

 3. Post to find extra help on the ShortStaf App

All hosts have different needs when it comes to partying. For myself, I would post for set up help because I love decorations (and I have a lot of them). You may want to post for a server to help you prepare appetizer platters, food stations, and clean up as you go! Bartenders are very popular on ShortStaf as well. This allows you and your guests to have full glasses while you sit back, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.

‘Fall’ in love with hosting by planning ahead, making yourself a priority, and posting on the ShortStaf App to make it all happen. This season, spend quality time with your family and friends. How can you make memories when you are constantly cooking, serving, cleaning, and playing bartender? Another season of happy hosting ahead, this time, with some extra help. #ThanksShortStaf


Looking for party inspo?  Find it all on our Pinterest page Here 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Martini -Signature Fall Cocktail

100% Gluten Free and Delicious!

We love fall here at ShortStaf and can’t wait to share this fun and easy cocktail recipe!  It is perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or any Fall Day or party with friends.

Let’s get started!

Things you will need to get set up…

  1. A shaker
  2. A one ounce measuring cup and a Tablespoon
  3. A martini glass
  4. Two small plates

Ingredients Needed:

  • Pumpkin Puree
  • GF graham cracker crumbs
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Titos Vodka
  • RumChata Liquor
  • Water or Simple Syrup
  • Ice

The Recipe: You can also find this on our Pinterest page here.

2 oz Rum Chata

1 oz Vodka

2 tbs Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Pie Spice – Just a sprinkle on top.


How To:



Start by getting your graham cracker rim ready! 

Wet the rim of the glass using your first plate with a layer of water or simple syrup in it, then dip the glass into the plate.  Then take your second plate and put a layer of the graham cracker crumbs and dip your wet rim into it. First step done!  Set your glass to the side.

The Cocktail!

Start by filling your shaker with ice.  Then add the first three ingredients (Titos, RumChata, and the Pumpkin Puree) into the shaker and shake it up for about 15 seconds.

Pour your delicious mix into your graham cracker rimmed martini glass, top with a sprinkle of Pumpkin Pie Spice to taste, and enjoy 🙂

That’s it!  Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Note: You can also substitute cinnamon for the Pumpkin Pie Spice on top if you want. Want it a little sweeter? Try this recipe using Vanilla Vodka and a few drops of Agave! 

Wanna see more recipes and party ideas like this?  Check out our Pinterest page for creative, quick and inexpensive ideas on how to wow your guests!

Love the ShortStaf Team

4 Fun Ideas for a Summer Family Get-Together

It’s so much fun to get together with the family in the summer. With a little bit of planning, you can host an event that will make great memories. Here are a few tips that will help to cut down on your stress and make your event a success at the same time.

Low-Maintenance Buffet

Grilled burgers and dogs are a classic standby for summer affairs, but they can put a lot of pressure on the person doing the cooking and they are usually stuck behind the grill for the whole party.

Instead of grilling, try preparing a batch of pulled pork in advance and reheat it in a slow cooker for the party. Offer a choice of slider buns or corn tortillas on the side with plenty of choices in toppings, such as coleslaw, salsa, crispy onions and barbecue sauce. If you want to go all-out, try smoking a whole pork shoulder—this takes the flavor to a whole new level.

Bounce House

If you expect a lot of young children to attend, using inflatables removes a lot of the stress for parents trying to plan the party. These structures are eye-catching, a ton of fun and sure to be a big hit with the toddler-to-tween crowd. You can find daily rentals for as little as $100 per day in some places.

Throwback Games

To prevent the party from hitting a slump, make sure you have plenty of games and outdoor toys on hand. Cornhole or “Bags” is a great game for older children and adults.  You can buy a set at your local bigbox store, order them online or if you’re feelin crafty, you can DIY it and build your own! If you have a Ping-Pong table, set it up on the patio or another shaded outdoor area. Another great idea is to keep a pile of Frisbees and Nerf footballs stacked up or in a bin in the backyard. If you have time, organize a scavenger hunt beforehand and offer a prize to the winner.

Family Playlist

Music provides a lively way to bring everyone together. A month or so before the event, ask every invitee to send you the name of a song that holds special family memories for them. Create a playlist that includes everyone’s selection and crank it up during the party. Have the guests try to guess who picked which song for a fun game.

The opportunities for family fun at summer get-togethers are limitless. With enough advanced preparation, the hosts can kick back, relax and enjoy the fruits of their efforts.

Is hosting your event alone too much work for you to handle? Get some help by posting your event with ShortStaf!