Pippa offers lot of advice in Celebrate, her new book about party-planning. I flipped through it (so you don't have to!) in order to bring you her most astounding tips.
Topics explored include food and drink:
"Don't forget to put a pitcher of water and glasses on the table or a nearby side table if there's no room."
"Do designate a space for guests' coats. Empty hooks or coat racks so guests can use them, leave a number of spare hangers on stair banisters or open a bedroom for the purpose."
"[Star-gazing] is best in pitch darkness on a very clear night, and can be exciting even for quite young children."
"Make a checklist—it's otherwise too easy to forget essentials, and it's useful to have when you arrive home to make sure nothing is missing."
"Although each country has its own traditional customs and superstitions, it's a universal experience as people wait for the first day of the new year to reach them."
"As the clock strikes midnight, link arms with friends and family and sing in the new year to 'Auld Lang Syne.' Pop corks and toast the year ahead."
"[F]lowers are a traditional Valentine's token, and red roses are the classic symbol of romance, be it a dozen hand tied in a beautiful bouquet or simply a single stem."
"Switch off the television to play cards or a board game for two. Backgammon is a personal favorite, but I always forget how to set up pieces on a board, so use the photograph [of a set board included in Celebrate] to avoid any potential disagreements."
"A well-wrapped gift helps express how much thought you've put into it. Don't forget to remove the price tag from the gift..."