Back during my days at Gourmet magazine, my many duties included teaching cooking classes. I used to tell my students -- especially the cooking-impaired ones -- that if they made sure to greet dinner party guests with a special homemade drink, they would always win, no matter what else happened that evening.
Let them buy take-out food, rearrange it artfully on platters, then claim it as their own. Nobody would think twice as long as they were handed a special drink on their way in the door. Festive drinks scream, "Party!"
Christmas sangria is a fairly healthy punch. Essentially, all I did was swap out the drink's usual summertime fruits for their wintertime counterparts -- pomegranates, clementines and apples, along with some fresh fruit juice.
Reformatted in this fashion, a warm weather stalwart suddenly looks and tastes just right for the holidays.