(NAPSA)—The holiday open house—alaid-back party at which guests of all ages come and go as they please over the course of an afternoon or evening—can be a great way to bring folks together with a minimum of fuss. Here are some hints on how to make it fun for guests of all ages: *Get the word out early. Be aware of people’s busy holiday schedules and send yourinvitations three to four weeks in advance. Lighten up inside and outside. Twinkling lights are not only an inexpensive way to decorate, but really set the atmosphere for a fun party environment. Simple white Christmas lights strung outside your door as well as throughout the house can give your party that fancy glow. *To help with crowd control, push back sofas and large furniture to your walls. Place fragile trinkets in a safe place. Set up folding chairs for extra seating. Separate drinks and food so guests won’t crowd one room of the house. Spread out the food and allow enough walking room to let the party flow. Feature a kids-only craft station manned by a neighborhood teen. And have the pint-size guests decorate the Peppermint Ice Cream Ornaments for the party. Keep the food simple and easy for guests to eat as they mix and mingle. Consider cut veggies with an assortment of dips. Set out dishes of such treats as spiced pecans and mini holiday cookies throughout the house. Foods that can be prepared ahead of time let you enjoy the party, too. Makedelicious desserts such as these festive treats. Their peppermint flavor helps create more holiday cheer. For more holiday ice cream dessert ideas and recipes, visit www.icecream.com. The scent and flavor of peppermint help create feelings of holiday cheer. Peppermint Ice Cream Drum Cake Makes 8-10 servings 1 chocolate cake layer, 8- or 9-inch roundby 1% inches tall, baked in a springform pan with removable sides 1 carton Dreyer’s/Edy’s Slow-Churned Light Peppermint Ice Cream 1 carton (16 oz.) purchased vanilla frosting 24 thin candy canesor sugar sticks 12 glac (candied) cherries Chocolate decorating icing 2 long pretzel rods 2 large marshmallows Redor green sugarcrystals Freeze cake in pan for 30 minutes to firm top. Spread ice cream in an even layer to the top edge of pan. Freeze several hours until ice cream is firm. Remove sides of pan. Frost sides of cake and a 1-inch border around cake top. Return to freezer if ice cream softens. Squeeze decorating icing in a crisscross pattern on top. Press sugar sticks diagonally around sides (if using candy canes, remove bent tips). Place cher- Peppermint adds a spirited twist to holiday treats such as these clever cookie sandwiches. ries around top of cake. Freeze several hours or overnight before serving. Dampen top and sides of marshmallows with water. Roll in sugar crystals. Insert pretzel sticks to make “drumsticks.” Place on top of cake before serving. Note: Prepare a chocolate cake mix, making two cakes and reserving one cake for another use. Peppermint Ice Cream Ornaments Makes 12 24 chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate-frosted shortbreads 1 carton Dreyer’s/Edy’s Slow-Churned Light Peppermint Ice Cream Cookie decorating icing, sugar crystals and candies Decorate tops of 12 cookies. Let dry thoroughly. Place a scoop of peppermint ice cream on an unfrosted cookie; flatten and smooth edgesof ice cream with a table knife. Top with a frosted cookie. Place in a covered container and freeze. Repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream. Freeze for up to 3 days.