Christmas party dos and don'ts

christmas party

Get your glad rags on and deck the halls with all things tinsel, as Mumsnetters offer their tips for being the perfect host

DO cover your house in festive cheer

christmas lights house

“Have a Santa's Grotto in the garden with fake snow, a festive pinata, Christmas-themed food (lots of reds and greens), face painting and Christmas music. And then turn a blind eye to the house being trashed…”

“You need to start with the lights at the garden gate, finish at the chimney pot, and fill every space in between. It must be seen from the moon at least.”

DON'T try and please everyone

big wow

“Don't try to do too much – people are just glad to see you at this time of year and you don't want to be running around ragged.”

“On your invite, tell people what you're offering and invite them to bring something specific if they want.”

DO play loads of party games

quiz games

“Get everyone to bring a party piece.”

“Pass the cracker instead of pass the parcel.”

“The empty cereal box game: take it in turns to put your hands behind your back, feet firmly on the floor and bend over to pick up the top edge of a cereal box with your teeth. Keep reducing the height of the box (by tearing a strip off) and see who is the last one standing.”

“Pin the nose/carrot/hat on the Rudolph/snowman/Santa.”

DO embrace a good theme

christmas theme

“We're making it a Christmas jumper party so everyone has to wear a cheesy Christmas jumper. We're also doing karaoke – not to everyone's taste but all our friends will have a laugh doing it after a few mulled wines.”

DON'T forget the food

three men eaten a lot

“I once went to a party where everyone got absolutely hammered because there was no food. I saw them all in the 24-hour McDonald's afterwards!”

DO have lots of easy nibbles

nibbles

“Food doesn't have to be elaborate.”

“Go for anything that can be picked up with one hand and eaten in one mouthful.”

DON'T forget to stock up on the essentials (you can never have too much)

toilet roll

“Buy LOADS of loo roll.”

DO prepare for potential disasters

water spill

“Have a mop, bucket, bin bags, rubber gloves, kitchen roll and towels handy.”

DON'T forget the mulled wine

mulled wine

“You have to have mulled wine at a Christmas party. It is the law.”

“Mulled wine is nice for the smell if nothing else. You could always do a cheap one in a slow cooker.”

DO remember to cater for the designated drivers

non drinkers

“Make sure there's a choice of drinks for the non-drinkers. My husband always ends up drinking squash at our friend's house because they forget that some people don't drink alcohol.”

DON'T forget to entertain the kids (or let them amuse themselves)

children watching tv

“Gather them in one or two rooms. I usually whack a DVD on, so you don't have to be monitoring the TV at 1am. Older kids will often play Xbox/PlayStation instead. I usually put some food and napkins out too.”

DO make it clear what the childcare policy is

messy child

1. If one brings one's kids, one is responsible for one's kids.

2. Anything my kids aren't allowed to do, yours aren't.

3. Don't make me watch your child for you.