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I'm off — with 12 of my close friends — to spend the weekend at my vacation house in the mountains. Since it's a birthday celebration, I hope to make the house feel festive. There will be a fire in the fireplace and the boys are in charge of making sure there's plenty of firewood. I'll throw cozy blankets across the couches and turn on the white Christmas lights that we leave up all year round. As for the food, I'll serve the chili at the table, display the cake on a cake stand, and pour the warming tippler in Irish coffee glasses.