Just a Guest This Year? 7 Ways to Get Your Hosting Fix

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As it turns out, this may be my last chaos-free Thanksgiving for quite some time; my husband and I are expecting twins in February! As the holiday season unfolds, I'm trying to embrace the peace and quiet and put my feet up often, but I also feel a little bit sad not to be hosting any parties or dinners this year. So I've been trying to think of ways to get a bit of a "hostess fix" without overdoing it.

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Everything's easy in Barbie's holiday paradise... not so much for us real-life hosts and hostesses.

Maybe some of you who aren't hosting this year, whether because you've got too much going on or because it's just not your turn, are feeling the itch as well? Here are a handful of ideas for stress-free host-y fun that even a big pregnant lady can enjoy:

1. Gather some friends for a winter picnic. You bring the donuts and coffee in a thermos; all you have to do is pick it all up on the way. Let somebody else do cider, plates, napkins, etc. Send an e-mail, and make it a BYO blanket affair.

2. Dress up your everyday table. Why not bust out your formal dinnerware for everyday meals? In the spirit of the season, use heirloom silver, china, and fancy linens for takeout Chinese. Light some candles too!

3. Create a long-lasting centerpiece. Keeping fresh flowers in the house throughout the season can be a lot of work and expense, but having something in the center of your table means you're ready for a party anytime, even if it's just friends showing up with a pizza. So try a non-floral centerpiece to add a perpetually festive air to your dining space. Here are a few ideas from the archives:

How to Create a Centerpiece Out of Anything
Centerpiece Ideas: Inspired by Weddings
Look! Fall Centerpiece Inspiration
Bowlfuls of Ornaments

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(Images: Country Living; Angelic Dreamz)

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