Entertaining during the holidays can be stressful. My advice is to take the lead from the leaders. In Italy around 5 o'clock, there is a pass time called "aperitivo".
This signals a time to relax with a cocktail, or glass of wine with friends.
Italians always have a little nibble with their wine or cocktail. This is a wise idea, it gives one something to buffer the alcohol with and in turn avoids everyone from becoming tipsy.
During the holidays, I opt to invite friends by for aperitivo, after a day of shopping or before heading to a family gathering. Our guests stop by and enjoy a quick drink, a funny story and warm holiday memories.
Keep it simple, keep it light, keep it entertaining. Salute!