So you’ve decided to host Thanksgiving this year but fear you may not have the space for everyone. Whether your room size is small, you live in a diminutive apartment or you’re simply feeling a bit anxious that your place isn’t quite up to scratch, today’s post will provide lots of ideas on how to maximise your room, give it some small space style and make the best use of your home for your feast.
Simplify the Meal Plan
First, don’t overextend yourself. Keep the menu simple with a no more than 3-4 homemade dishes (including the turkey). Consider the space you have and plan accordingly. The oven will likely be dominated by the turkey so consider dishes that are easy to prepare ahead of time like salads and consider no more than what you can fit on your stovetop at one time. If your guests offer to bring something, take them up on it but make sure you specify what you’d like. So one guest can bring dessert, another can bring an appetizer. You can then plan your meal around what you know is already being provided.
You might even consider skipping any prepared appetisers completely and instead choose simple food that’s easy to assemble like olives, nuts, meats and cheeses so guests have something to nibble on while you get on with the main meal.
In the Days Ahead
You’ll want to be sure you have enough space in your fridge to accommodate the turkey so in the run up to the big day, be sure to use up as much food as possible before you do your main shop. The turkey will normally need around 3 days to defrost and it takes up a lot of room in the fridge so planning ahead will be vital. Throw out anything past it’s best and plan your daily meals around what you already have with a view to clearing as much space as possible.
Remove any excess packaging from things like vegetables, wash, cut up and store in zip-lock bags in the fridge to conserve space. Prepare anything ahead of time that you can – food like cranberry sauce or pie will last for a good few days in the fridge without any loss of quality. Considering using stackable containers to create additional space. You might even want to ditch the white wine and only serve red so as to preserve precious fridge space.
Preparing Your Space
If the area in your home for dining won’t accommodate more than a couple of people, then is there another room in your home you can use? Consider the main living area as a makeshift dining area, moving out the coffee table or any extraneous furnishings, pushing the sofa against the wall and setting up a table in there instead. Utilise one of your bedrooms as the ‘storage area’ for the night (and yes, if you have to sleep with a coffee table propped up against the wall of your bedroom for one night, is it really that big of a deal?) and simply close the door to guests.
You might even consider ditching the whole idea of a table completely. If you simply don’t have a table large enough to accommodate all your guests, don’t worry. Let guests sit on the sofa, on your chairs, even on things like stools or on the floor to give the day a more very casual vibe – there’s nothing particularly wrong with that! You may want to provide guests with inexpensive trays to make things a little more comfortable when eating.
Consider furniture that does double duty as well. A bench will naturally provide more seating than individual chairs and nesting tables can double as additional stools in a pinch. Utilize end tables as a makeshift bar area or a place to serve appetisers, allowing your guests to congregate and mingle in areas other than the kitchen!
Remember as well that mixing is more important than matching for the day so don’t worry if you don’t have a full set of matching plates, cutlery or glasses. You can hit up friends or family to borrow what you need or scour thrift stores for inexpensive pieces ahead of time for a casual vibe that can look a lot chicer than you may think. Worse comes to worse, you can always rent any items you need and while it may end up eating into your Thanksgiving budget, it will mean less stress on the day.
Remember that a lovely printed bedsheet, a roll of kraft paper or a large bolt of fabric can be used as tablecloths and transform that folding table into a lovely spot for a feast too. A simple vase of flowers and a few candles will create a cozy atmosphere to make the table the star of the show.
On the Day
To keep your sanity, try to clean as you go. This will eliminate that stressful feeling of clutter throughout the day as dishes pile up. If you get an offer of help on the day, there’s no shame in accepting to keep on top of everything.
You certainly don’t have to put all the food out on a long table, despite what movies have been telling us since their inception. Consider using your countertops as a place to set up buffet style and let guests help themselves.
After dinner is finished, get everyone to help clear the dishes, scrape plates and rinse everything off. This will make things much easier when it comes to tackling all those dirty dishes later.
And finally, be sure to relax and enjoy your day. We gather on Thanksgiving to give thanks and spend time with friends and family. If you are relaxed and enjoying yourself and not getting hung up on minor details, your guests will relax and enjoy it too.