If you live in a few hundred square feet apartment with a coffee table that doubles as a dining room table, then you understand the challenges of small-home living. With Thanksgiving around the corner, the thought of fitting extra people into your apartment may seem troublesome. However, even the smallest of spaces can be transformed into a home for holiday hosting. All you need is a little planning, organization, preparation, and a bit of creativity to make the most of your space. Keep reading as we’ve provided all the tips you need to host Thanksgiving dinner in an apartment.
Manage the Guest List
When hosting a big holiday like Thanksgiving, you may be tempted to invite all your friends and family—but it’s crucial to keep in mind the space you’re working with. For a successful feast, be sure to come up with an appropriate guest count so you can plan accordingly. Celebrity event planner, Anthony Taccetta, says, “RSVPs are imperative so that you know exactly how to place the seating to maximize your space.” Meaning, you may have to follow up more than you’d like with some of your less-organized guests. Nonetheless, this will go a long way in helping you prepare for the big celebration.
Prep is Essential
“Being in a tiny place means a smaller kitchen and appliances, so the best thing you can do is prep everything a couple of days prior,” says Cristen Faherty, owner of Cristen & Co; this begins with cooking. Any dishes served well by simply preheating or serving cold should be cooked ahead of time, typically a day or two before. Cook the essentials the day of, like turkey, ham, and other star dishes. And always remember, there’s nothing wrong with buying a few store-bought items!
Ask Guests to Bring Dishes
Hosting Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Especially when you’re working in a small kitchen, it can be challenging to have many different dishes cooking all at once. If they didn’t already offer, ask your friends and family to bring some appetizers, sides, or desserts. “You need to have a clear picture of what everyone is bringing to the table so you know how much space to free up in your fridge, and how many dishes will require time in the oven or on the stovetop,” according to an article in Elbow Room by MakeSpace. Knowing what everyone is bringing is essential as it’ll help you avoid duplicate dishes.
Rearrange the Furniture
Rearranging furniture is a must when you’re working with a small space. You’ll want to think about creating as much standing and sitting room as possible. “More space and a better flow for your guests are key to a successful dinner party in a small apartment,” adds Faherty. “Push some tables against a wall or bring another table in the middle of your living room.” If you end up not being able to seat all your guests together, don’t worry. Small spaces are bound to have limitations, and people will mingle and move about regardless of whether there’s a centralized dining place.
Clean as You Go
This isn’t always the easiest task to accomplish, especially when maneuvering through a crowded room. However, it’s much easier to clean a little bit at a time than to let tons of plates stack up in the sink. Flaherty says to “consider serving the meal in courses, so you can wash the first set of dishes first and then clean up again after the second course.”
Additionally, have a plan in place for coats and bags. You don’t want to take up the little space you have with your guest’s bulky outerwear. We recommend clearing out some space in a closet or even on your bed to accommodate the number of guests you‘ve invited. Bottom line: just make sure their belongings aren’t in the way!
Lastly, don’t stress over it too much. “No one expects you to be perfect,” says Olivia Colt, owner of Salt & Honey Catering. Worst case scenario, you can order takeout and simply enjoy the holiday as it was meant to be enjoyed—sharing a meal with those closest to you.