During the holidays it is always difficult to get together with friends. My favorite way is to have a gift wrapping party. The party starts after bedtime, so we aren't taking time away from families and we are wrapping presents, a chore that should never be done alone.
The secret is to keep it simple. I send out an invitation by email (its all about easy), supply tape and scissors and set up stations. We have a supplies station...and a hot chocolate station.
I move the furniture back so we can wrap on the floor, put in some Christmas music, and that's it. Everyone brings a bag of treats to keep us going and we wrap presents into the wee hours. The conversation is great, the preparation is minimal, and at the end of the party I've even accomplished something. It doesn't get much better.