Melissa Marchwick, executive vice president of the babysitting service Sittercity
, points out that some parents can't attend holiday parties because it's such a high-demand time for babysitters. If you've invited families to your party, you might want to consider hiring someone to look after the kids. "Once you've got a sitter," Marchwick says, "she can keep them out of the parents' hair. She can also be an extra pair of hands in preparation." Regardless of whether you get a sitter, you will want to designate a space like a corner or a table for your littler guests, giving adults time to mingle and children a chance to interact with each other. Nonparent hosts will be happy to learn that children continue to be entertained with household items like paper, markers, glue, scissors and "decorations" (aka macaroni, beans, pennies and nickels). Though again, consider the ages of your guests: With infants and toddlers, be wary of choking hazards.