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:
"You can cut up your chicken into portions consisting of the drumstick, thigh, breast and wing."
"I like breakfast. A good morning meal brightens any day."
"Depending on what vegetables are in season, serve them freshly boiled or steamed on the side."
"A really late start warrants brunch, in lieu of lunch."
"There is something very British about tea."
"Games are not only fun but are also useful for keeping children at the table."
"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."
"Do use ordinary jars and pitchers for flowers if you've run out of vases."
"[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."
"Keep your campfire a manageable size, making sure water is always nearby just in case."
New Year's Eve:
"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."
"Don't forget to have some bubbly for midnight toasts."
"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..."
"Place the present on the paper to gauge how much you will need, then cut to length."