A trick to making a great gravy is to mix the flour with lukewarm water prior to adding it to the pan. Use a container with a tight fitting lid to shake the flour water mixture until the flour is dissolved and no lumps remain. Then add it to the pan drippings. Watch the heat. If gravy gets too hot or starts to boil, lumps will result.
Serving trays are not utilized often enough on the table. What a great way to serve drinks, appetizers, dessert, or several smaller dishes.
Don't forget to have an attractive center piece for the table. Something that contrasts with the colors or the theme of your table can provide a whimsical touch that will help put your guests at ease.
There are many great recipes to be found online. Just do a search and you will find thousands of ideas for something different for the holidays. I blogged a recipe for my sweet potato tartlets several weeks ago. They would look great served on this plate, as would any other type of tart. How about lemon tarts?
Providing real table linens just makes sense anymore. It is classy and it is good for the environment. And what a great way to feature coordinating colors at your table too.
When preparing your meals try to use the freshest ingredients possible. If you have guests that you don't know closely it is courteous to inquire if they have any food allergies or sensitivities prior to planning your meal. This can help avoid awkward situations when the guest arrives and you find out they can't eat a lot of what your prepared.
A little libation during the holidays is okay, but don't overdo it. There is nothing that can ruin the holidays faster than a drunk host. And please, don't let your guests drink and drive. Make the holidays a festive, but safe, event for everyone.