If you've invited a small number of guests
Place small plates on large plates and show your pleasure in receiving guests by carefully planning your decorations - they'll appreciate your efforts. Whether you're going for a stylish or relaxed atmosphere, pick a festive theme (we opted for a Russian Christmas!). Pick a material or a colour but don't go overboard. Just a few touches here and there - remember less is more!
This year, it's your turn to host New Year's Eve! Family and friends (young and old) are all ready, but what about you? 2016 is fast drawing to a close, so make sure you get ahead of the game while you can. Your preparations will depend on the number of guests and your available dining space.
You've invited your extended family as well as a few friends but there's just one problem: Santa forgot to bring that dining room you asked for!
Get around your lack of space by opting for a stylish buffet and creating attractive dining areas (be inventive and get out table extensions, trestles and side-tables) and incorporate soft lighting by zone.
If your home is big enough to get everyone round your dining table
Pull out all the stops and don't miss this chance to wow your guests (in all modesty of course) and enjoy their OOHs and AAHs as they admire your stunning table settings. Don't hold back: candelabras, decanters, gold-coloured cutlery, fish knives, cheese plates, napkin rings, candlesticks, table runners, floral centrepieces, etc.
You've planned an intimate dinner for two
This requires even more care and preparation - this isn't any old dinner so make it really special. Create a sophisticated and intimate atmosphere: a lovingly prepared meal, candles, a log fire and jazz music playing softly in the background - put your heart and soul into it and just a pinch of perfectionism!
Think about lighting, it will create a party ambiance
Too bright and it will spoil the party atmosphere, too dim and you won't recognise half the people you invited. Use lamps in addition to your central lights.
Don't hold back! You love parties and you love entertaining...
Don't skimp, this is the perfect opportunity to replace those chipped plates and treat yourself to some champagne flutes and matching glasses. Your dinner service must be beautiful, it doesn't have to be sophisticated but it should be tasteful and in good condition.
What kind of host are you?
Be a perfectionist!
Showcase your Christmas tree
By all means have a large Christmas tree in your living room if you have the space. But you must make sure there is enough room for your guests to circulate easily. If a Christmas tree is not on the agenda, then be creative and make one or choose a Christmas tree accessory that you can decorate.
Get the evening off to a good start; remember you only get one chance to make a first impression! Treat yourself to practical and stylish bar tending accessories: a wine kit, decanters, bar utensils, an ice bucket, tumblers, wine glasses, champagne flutes and brandy glasses. Offer your guests bite-size nibbles (even if they do seem a little old hat - the snacks that is, not the guests!). If you don't have enough large serving trays, opt for decorated melamine trays rather than cardboard ones that will only end up in the bin... if they even make it through the party!
This year, it's your turn to host New Year's Eve!
One last thing...
If you were thinking about emptying the contents of your salt cellar on to that red wine stain, then think again! Salt fixes colour, so first apply white wine or cold milk to the stain (listen to grandma!) before washing or dry-cleaning.