I’ve always loved a full house around the holidays. It just feels right to have a little chaos with children running around and too many people in the kitchen. Living in a 900-square-foot apartment makes a full house quite easy to attain. Such a tiny space has its perks — like it’s easy to make the whole house smell great. And folks kind of have to get along because there’s no extra room to hide. But I’m a firm believer that it’s not the space that makes people feel welcome, it’s the environment. As this Thanksgiving was the first holiday gathering we’ve hosted in our home, I’ve compiled a few simple tips we’ve incorporated into our hosting habits to make the most of our tiny space.
1. Don’t go overboard on the invitations.
Your guests’ comfort is key, so be realistic when passing out invitations. Whether it’s on a floor cushion or at the table, make sure every booty has a seat.
2. Delegate and outsource.
Most folks love to contribute, so don’t try to play super host and do everything yourself. Delegate a few side dishes or desserts to free up your own kitchen space, dishes, etc. If you have an ideal menu, feel free to assign specific dishes.
If you’re having a lot of out of town guests, include something from a favorite local restaurant or bakery. This checks something off your menu and gives guests a taste of something new!
3. Prepare as much ahead of time as possible.
This frees up counter space and your schedule, allowing you to mingle with the guests a bit more.
4. Clear shelf space.
Clear off a few shelves or other surfaces to give drinks and small plates a place to rest.
5. Don’t go crazy with the decorations.
Simply adding a few fresh greens to your existing decor will liven up the place without adding to the clutter.
6. Make room for coats.
Clear a space (maybe in your own closest!) for coats, hats, etc.
7. Make a drink station.
We like to have a drink station outside of the kitchen so guests can feel free to help themselves — this also decreases kitchen traffic and gives folks a “first stop” to move out of the doorway.
8. Apps, apps, apps!
I come from a family of grazers, so holidays really look like a few hours of comfort food tapas. Having a few appetizers ready when guests arrive ensures that tummies aren’t rumbling, and since they will have eaten a little bit by the time they sit down, this frees up some table real estate for the meal.
9. Have a few crafts or activities ready for the kiddos.
Bringing a child to another person’s home is always a little nerve-wracking. Give your parent guests some peace of mind knowing their kiddos are entertained and not getting into things they shouldn’t be.
Try these fun DIY felt animal pins, or lay out some cookie cutters and markers and have the little ones decorate the table runner!
10. Get out.
Have a few activities for folks to enjoy outside, or build in some time after supper for a walk to the park to stretch legs and change up the environment.
11. Relax expectations.
This might not be the year for grandma’s china, and that’s okay. The kiddos are perfectly content to eat around the coffee table on the floor.More On