While we like to think of ourselves as skilled hosts, a little more entertaining inspiration never hurt anyone -- especially if it comes from the likes of Valentino, Zooey Deschanel, and Coolio. Read on for a few party tricks and tips from familiar faces.
"I try to make a playlist and think about the tone I want to set. Especially around Christmastime, there are all these songs that have this nostalgia. I'm into baking and cooking a lot, so I have a playlist called "Kitchen Happiness" with Edith Piaf, Nina Simone, Fats Waller, and Cab Calloway."
-- As told to Refinery29
"Whom you invite tells you whom not to invite. If you invite a fox, don't invite a hound -- unless you're hunting for trouble. If the party is going to be made up of mostly young pretty girls, then you might want to invite some old men. Nothing makes them feel more alive."
-- From I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
, $13, Amazon
"One way to capitalize on the inherent elegance of a dessert party is to extend it; multiply your desserts into extravagance -- enough for everyone and then several extras for show; add champagne; add ballgowns and black tie; pull up the rugs in the living room and hall and add dance music."
-- From Entertaining
, $20, Amazon
"Why not collect and clean chicken wishbones in the run-up to Christmas, spray them silver and use each to pinch together a white hem-stitch napkin?"
, $34, Amazon
"You don't want to overpower the food, so it's important that your flowers aren't too fragrant. Green hydrangeas are beautiful and unscented."
-- As told to InStyle
"Of course, no party should be overdone, but a New Year's party justifies a bit of excess. Do have great music -- people love to dance, and it's great for your body."
-- As told to Harpers Bazaar
"If you have citrus trees in your yard, it's great to pick oranges or lemons or limes and make cocktails using the juice. One of my favorite things is Campari and fresh-squeezed grapefruit."
-- As told to Elle Decor
"Over the years I have learned three essential things: control your heat -- watch the fire carefully, flavors are usually diminished by things cooking too quickly (though there are exceptions) -- trust yourself, and taste as you go. When you approach a meal with fear that its' going to be terrible, it probably will be. Approach it like it is going to be delicious."
-- From My Father's Daughter, $23, Amazon
"I have guests come over while I'm still preparing, that way it feels more casual."
-- As told to Marie Claire
"Dress the role of a kitchen pimp. Personally, I don't step into my kitchen without my flamingo shirt, pim-pron, chef's hat, and bling'd-out shades. Now, I don't expect y'all to get as fancy as I do just to make a meatball sandwich, but I do expect you to be presentable. Don't be coming in here wearing a bathrobe with a pair of Crocs. Put on that pim-pron and present yourself with as much care as you'll present your food."
-- From Cookin' With Coolio
, $13, Amazon
"Assigned seating certainly isn't a requirement these days, but it can help the conversation flow more effortlessly at larger parties. Put some thought into which guests have the most in common, and seat them next to each other. It's always fun to play matchmaker or be responsible for a beautiful new friendship."
-- From LaurenConrad.com
Photographs: @LivTyler, Washington Post, Martha Stewart, Parade/Pippa Middleton, Women's Health, Somerset House, California Home + Design, Vogue, Domino, MTV
|I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, $13, Amazon
||Entertaining by Martha Stewart, $21, Amazon
||Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends by Pippa Middleton, $34, Amazon
|My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness by Gwyneth Paltrow, $24, Amazon
||Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price by Coolio, $14, Amazon
||Kitchen Revelry: A Year of Festive Menus from My Home to Yours by Ali Larter, $20, Barnes and Noble
|Martha's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations by Martha Stewart, $48, Amazon
||The Real Girl's Kitchen by Haylie Duff, $15, Amazon
||celebraTORI: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family, $16, Amazon