Be innovative with your invitations to help set the mood of the party before it even begins. "We've produced snowdomes, Ali G-style medallions and bamboo scrolls," says Danielle Nay, managing director at event organiser Dr Party.

Go for something unexpected on the entertainment front. "We've booked drunken waiters," says Wendy Clark at party planner Fizzz, "and waitresses in gold Santa costumes would add a bit of sparkle!" Or how about stilt-walking human Christmas trees to hand out presents?

Think fun and games to make a party memorable. Dr Party's Nay suggests complimentary nail-painting, or encouraging your guests' creativity by providing graffiti pillars and felt tip pens. "For a fancy dress party, have a dressing-up-box at the entrance," she says, "including wigs, feather boas and fairy wings for the inevitable lightweights."

Decorations are a must – the key to a good party lies in the details. Party styling works best in multiples, whether it's candles, lights, Christmas angels or balloons. "It's better to decorate a space with 100 identical items, than to use a mish-mash of 100 different things," says Nay.

Decent nosh and a hearty booze-up are essential for every Christmas bash. If you served champagne last year, serve cocktails this year. If begging and borrowing still haven't given you enough of a budget, Nay suggests DIY canapés and paper cups filled with microwave soup. Nothing but the best for your staff – after all, it is Christmas.