Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the large, holiday party. Now, because if you wait even a few weeks more, you will discover you are not the only person with more friends than chairs, and when you call the renter of chairs, he will say "sorry."
It may be that all you have in mind is inviting 50 or 60 people for mulled wine and holiday cookies. That only calls for a couple of advance decisions. Do you rent wine glasses, or buy plastic? Do you rent a coatrack, or can you accommodate everyone'd winter woolies? It's not expensive to rent wine glasses, for example, $1.65 a dozen from A Total Rental Center, 2414 Reedie Dr., Wheaton; $1.80 a dozen from A-1 Rental Center, 7036 Columbia Pike, Annandale.
Knives, forks, spoons, plates are all in the same price range.
However, they do have to be picked up, washed up and returned, which may make plastic throw-aways preferable. At the American Supply, Inc., 7200 Fullerton Rd. Springfield, 100 plastic wine glasses cost about $9.70; Capitol Paper, 703 Edgewood st. NE., will sell you as few as 25 for $2.50 a package. Prices vary widely, and you can save money by calling around.
If you decide to rent the glasses, rent the silverware, rent the plates and then truly feed your friends, where will you put them?
If it is to be on the floor, you can buy strips of foam rubber 24 by 80 inches ($14.54) from Gillilland Foam Rubber, 807 H St., NW., to make them more comfortable.
Tuck the cushions up in paisley fabric, or if it's a Christmas party, in red and green cotton. As an alterative, I once knew a hostess who sent a pair of guests on every other stair, which would work quite well, so long as you don't have a 3-year-old in the habit of flinging downstairs on the tail of a nightmare.
If you have the floorspace, you can rent a folding table or build a plywood-trestle one. Chairs, which you should not build, can be rented for as little as 40 cents -- a folding Samsonite chair -- at A Total Rental Center, or $1.30 for a white-enameled wooden one with cushion.
Your guests will cover the chairs; the table you will have to cover yourself. A cheap way is to drape it with a painter's drop cloth, certainly large enough and definitely splash-proof. A A Ladder & Supply Corp., at 2305 Rhode Island Ave., NE., has colored ones -- 9 feet by 12 feet for $6.25, 12 by 15 for $9.50; white is more expensive, $9.50 for the 9 x 12 and$15 for the larger size.
Last of course, is borrowing. Unlike Shakespeare, I recommend it.