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Hosting Thanksgiving is an honor. But let’s be real…entertaining a large number of people can also be stressful when you live in a small home.
We’ve hosted Thanksgiving from my mommom’s small house (and more importantly, tiny kitchen) for a few years now, so we are well familiar with the struggles that come with hosting Thanksgiving in a small space. And let’s just say our first year doing it was kind of, ummm, a disaster.
Flash forward several years, and we’ve mastered the art of hosting Thanksgiving in my mommom’s tiny kitchen. So if you’re looking for tips on how to host Thanksgiving in a small space then you are in the right place.
In no particular order, here are my top 8 tips on how to host Thanksgiving in a small space:
1-) Declutter ahead of time
Make as much room as you can wherever:
a-) you will be working, and
b-) your guests will access
I recommend writing a list of spaces to declutter or clear and being as specific as possible. Kitchen counters, pantry, dining room table, coffee table, coat closet, etc. If you or your guests will touch it, it needs to be gone through.
Once you finish writing the list, go through and remove anything that could get in the way with extra people in the house. It probably means moving some of your home decor into storage, but it will be worth not having to move things around when you have a bunch of people at your house.
2-) Set roles
If you are splitting the Thanksgiving preparation duties with a partner or other family members, make sure your roles are clear.
Divide and conquer in a way that works for your family. It may mean one person does all the cooking and one person does all the cleaning. Or maybe one person focuses on entertaining guests (and keeping them out of the kitchen!) while another cooks. Consider your guests’ personalities and how you as a family work best together.
3-) Prep food in advance
Prepping food in advance is important for Thanksgiving no matter what, but consider taking it to another level if you are entertaining in a small space. Of course, make ahead what will hold up or freeze well. But also consider prepping, measuring and mixing ingredients (i.e. spice blends) for recipes that need to be cooked on the day.
In other words, do any and all prep that you can for all the recipes that you’ll be making.
4-) Make expectations clear
When you live in a small space, a greater percentage of your home needs to be in tip-top shape to accommodate guests. So don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your family to get everything where it needs to be.
That said, make sure that everyone’s roles are 100% clear.
A list of everyone’s to-do’s before Thanksgiving and when they should be done by can be super helpful in prepping a small home for Thanksgiving.
5-) Be realistic
It’s easy to look on Pinterest and Instagram with long, elaborate tablescapes and 25 different food dishes and think you need to do the same.
Reality check: you don’t!
Be honest with yourself about what an appropriate amount of decor and food is for your space and gathering. Doing too much will only make it look like you’re trying too hard AND will be more stressful.
6-) Use your rooms
When you live in a small space you’ll have to get creative about how to use your home to comfortably accommodate your guests. Think of the flow you want your guests to take, and then prepare your home accordingly. For example, you may want to set up appetizers in the living room so everyone can socialize while you finish cooking dinner in the kitchen.
7-) Direct traffic with activities
Related to using your rooms is directing traffic with activities. Make it clear what can happen in each room so your guests spread out and don’t feel congested. For example, if you have a finished basement set it up with blankets and beer for settling in and watching football. You can also set up your yard with activities for the kids, etc.
8 -) Get creative with seating
One of the most challenging situations when entertaining Thanksgiving in a small home is coming up with seating arrangements for the big meal. If your space is tight, consider some creative arrangements, such as setting up a separate kids’ table. You may also want to consider a separate buffet rather than putting all the food on the main table so that there’s more breathing room during dinner.
Hosting Thanksgiving in a small space can be tricky, but with a little time and preparation it’s possible. Trust me…if I can do it you can totally do it too!
Have you hosted Thanksgiving before? What tips do you have on how to host Thanksgiving in a small space?
And here are some more awesome tips: