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12.07.2006

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fa-la-la-la-la holiday cocktail party tips by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2
continued from page 1

cin-cin!
While a cocktail party wouldnít be a cocktail party without, duh, the cocktails, thereís no need to stock a full bar. In fact, unless you have a whole lot of extra money to throw around and donít mind playing bartender all evening long Ė self-serve rarely works all that well, since most folks just arenít that well-versed in the fine art of mixology Ė youíll find it works much better to narrow down the bar options. Choose a special winter-tastic cocktail to serve up, then keep it simple with the rest of the drinks offerings, providing the basic trinity of red wine, white wine and beer (plus soda or juice for your non-imbibing friends, of course). For the main drink feature, try peppermint martinis or chocolate martinis if you want something with a little swank appeal; for earthier, cozier drinks, make up some mulled wine or egg nog.

deck the hallsÖ
With food and drink taken care of, itís time to turn your attention to creating the proper ambience. Sure, you could go nuts with the wreaths and poinsettias in turning your normal pad into Christmas spirit incarnate. But generally, just buying the tree is enough to set me back about as much as I can afford in the major holiday decor department. Decorating for a party, then, requires a little more resourcefulness.

Lighting, of course, is key. Turn off the glaring overheads and keep the light low and sexy. If you happen to have extra strands of Christmas lights on hand, string them along the mantle, the banister, the food table, wherever. Meanwhile, candles provide warm, cozy and very flattering light for your guests to gather in front of. Get a big 100-pack of cheap-o tealights, and use them liberally. No need to splurge on extra votive holders if you donít already have them either; glass tumblers work just fine.

Meanwhile, if you have extra glass ball ornaments that didnít fit on your tree, or you can pilfer a few from their usual evergreen perch for a night, they make fine décor. Pile them in a lovely bowl or big glass vase, or hang them by ribbon from windows, doorways and the ceiling.

A little color-coordinating will go a long way towards creating atmosphere, too. Red and green are, of course, the classic Christmas hues; if you find the combination too loud or kitsch, stick with one or the other. Spring the tiny bit extra for the colored cocktail napkins; buy some colored tapered candles (dollar stores are a good source); head to the thrift shops and see what you can dig up for table runners and tablecloths; wrap pretty red or green paper around your glass votives. If red and green arenít your cup oí tea, opt for a winter wonderland theme instead and embrace all things white and silver. Pull out that white tablecloth you got as a wedding present; polish the silver candlesticks you inherited from your great-grandma; decorate with silvery tinsel; relive your grade-school days and cut out pretty paper snowflakes to adorn windows and more.

Finally, donít forget that a little background music goes a long way towards putting folks into the mingling mood. Pull out your favorite holiday CDs, borrow albums from your friends, hunt down a good online holiday radio station, or make a trip to the library to see what you can dig up. With good tunes, cozy ambience, plenty of food and drink and your favorite people all gathered in the room, youíll be feeling the Christmas spirit in no time.

o

check out these related articles:
get swanky cocktail party ideas | nibble on this cocktail nibbles | making spirits bright holiday drinks | edible holiday gifts I | edible holiday gifts II | deck the halls holiday decor | o christmas tree budget tree decor

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