Whether it’s a big bash or an intimate gathering with friends and family, the best way to organize social holiday events is to be a careful planner. If you are hosting the family for Christmas, charged with making a success out of office or children’s parties, look after the details now. With all of the other things that eat up time during the month of December, from shopping to decorating, there is no time to waste.

During the holiday season, people crave comfort and nostalgia, which is why a tree trimming party is a great way to bring everyone young and old together. Tree decorating can get both old and new friends to bond over a common activity. The focus is also shifted away from the over-consumption of food and alcohol, which is ideal for those of us who have health concerns at this time of the year.

The kids will love it, especially if they can make their own ornaments to hang on the tree. Old-school popcorn garlands require nothing more than popped corn, needle and thread.

Paper garlands are also lots of fun for little hands. All you need are one-inch by eight-inch strips of construction paper and one glue stick per child. Simply form a circle and with the first strip and glue it, link the next strip of paper and continue along the paper chain link until the garland reaches a desired length.

There are many other kinds of party theme ideas work wonders at this time of year. For the office, a Santa-themed party where everyone wears Santa hats is one idea – who does not like a Santa hat? Purchase a large quantity of Santa hats from the dollar store or get people to make or bring their own and have your guests wear red in honour of St. Nick. Not only will everyone be entertained by the visual effect of the party, punches and cocktails made with bright red cranberry juice will also fit in with this theme.

For more party ideas: www.party411.com/christmas.html If you are hosting any variety of holiday events, here are a few more suggestions to keep everyone safe and happy:

Have lots of non-alcoholic beverages on hand for those who are driving and non-imbibing guests

Provide healthier snacks and cold meat platters so that guests don’t drink on empty stomachs and diet-conscious guests don’t feel left out

Provide plenty of activities for the kids: a busy kid is a happy kid. If it’s a daytime event, snowman making or creating snow sculptures are great ways to burn off youthful energy. For evening affairs, indoor games like board games and holiday themed crafts are great ways to keep them included and out of harm’s way.

Always try to keep extra food and beverages on hand. You may only be planning for five to ten guests, but the holidays can draw all sorts of folks out of the woodwork and sometimes surprise guests can show up out of the blue. People can get lonely and Christmas is the time to include those who might otherwise be left out.

If alcohol is being served, ensure there is a designated driver to get your guests home. A responsible host is not one who lets their guests drive drunk!