Whether it’s Christmas, Chanukah or New Year’s Eve, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate at this time of year. Here are some holiday parties planning tips to help your next event go smoothly and give your guests an event to remember: Let there be (dimmer) light Candles and dimmer lights are great for creating that party mood. Think about placing scented candles on the mantle or in your bathroom. Lower lighting is more flattering on most people as well. Rent glassware, dishes and linens Everybody likes a good party, but no one really likes cleaning up afterwards. You can probably rent party perfect glasses, plates and tablecloths at a reasonable price and might even save yourself overall by not having to worry about your own broken dishes or laundry costs. Plus… you’ll save time during an already busy season. It’s also handy if you’re going to have a large gathering and would rather avoid going the plastic and paper plate’s route. Make it look like a party This is the time of year for ornaments, bells and candles. Tailor your decorations to your audience, though. For the holidays, keep it colorful and welcoming with seasonal scents and motifs. For New Year’s Eve, you may want to try something sparkly. Balloons can be a fun choice, too. Keep those appetizers coming. Variety is the spice of life, so try a range of snacks for your guests to enjoy, from prawns, cheese plates and pizza pockets to dim sum-style treats and dry rub chicken wings (if you’re going to go for saucy finger foods, just make sure you’ve got enough napkins so you don’t end up with suspicious hand prints and smudges on your couch). Don’t serve it up all at once. If you pace yourself and keep it coming through the evening, people will appreciate having a fresh round. End off the evening with some cinnamon-powdered or whip-cream topped one-bite desserts. Get ready for the cocktail hour Now would be a good time to brush up on your bartending skills. Rum is a seasonal favorite for eggnog but also goes with hot apple cider. Hot buttered rum is another annual treat. You might also want to get hold of winter-seasonal ale. Don’t forget about the non-drinkers – soft drinks and fancy glasses are just fine. Have fun as the host You’ll want to prepare for your guests with all of the above tips in mind, but don’t forget the number one rule for a host to put their guests at ease: have fun, yourself! Good cheer spreads through the room.