If you are planning a drinks party over the Christmas holidays follow our guide to planning the perfect soiree with some delicious cocktails and nibbles ideas:

Invites

Remember to send out invites as early as possible as December is one of the busiest times of the year for socialising and dates get booked up quickly. Unless you are planning a formal party, there is no need to send out cards. Creating a Facebook event is helpful as all the details are stored in one place - you can see who has accepted, final numbers as well as finding out info like special dietary requirements. WhatsApp Groups and round-robin emails are also good, but you have to keep an eye on the correspondence threads.

Make sure you don’t over cater on numbers, both in terms of your budget and also the venue capacity!

Theme

At this time of year, it is fun to tie everything into a theme. It could be a glamourous, dressy affair such as a 1920’s prohibition party with decorations, drinks and food to match; or it could be silly and relatively economical e.g put up the tree, serve Christmas themed food and mulled wine and ask everyone to come wearing a Christmas jumper!

Make the room look warm and inviting but resist using candles which are a fire hazard. Instead you can use battery operated candles and tea lights to good effect. Decorate the table with mini Christmas crackers, sparkly sequins and evergreen sprigs to make it look festive.

Drinks

It is perfectly acceptable to ask guests to bring a bottle, but ensure you have a good selection of spirits – gin, vodka and rum are most popular – plus some soft drinks and mixers such as fruit juice, tonic, lemonade and cola. A few bottles of fizz plus red and white wine would also get the party going - supermarkets offer some very good deals by the case in December.

Cocktails are another hit at parties, but can be time consuming to make. Either ask someone to be “bartender” for the night, or make up larger batches and keep them in the fridge ready.

Rich Woods, aka The Cocktail guy has put his own twist on two classic cocktails using Kikkoman soy sauce! It really works. Why not play a “guess the secret ingredient” game with your guests?

Nibbles

If you are going to be serving drinks then you’ll need food to soak up the alcohol! Canapes are good as it means you can socialise round the room, or set up a buffet table for people to help themselves.