Any holiday gathering can be a challenge if you’re hosting in a small space, but Thanksgiving has got to be the biggest logistical puzzle to solve. How will you cook all that food, and once you do, where will everyone sit to eat it? Will everyone feel at home and cozy rather than cramped? Do you need more furniture? Never fear: you can throw a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner, no matter how small your living space is.
Ask For Specific Help
Ask people to bring dishes if you’d like, but tell them what kind! Otherwise, you might end up eating nothing but potatoes or pie. Plan it, and you’ll have just enough.
Don’t Hesitate to Rearrange or Remove Furniture
For a big dinner party of any kind, the table is the focus. Swap furniture around, even from room to room, to make this happen. Shove unneeded furniture against the wall, or into a bedroom just for a night to maximize space. It’s not livable, but it doesn’t have to be for a single night.
Don’t Hesitate to Rent Furniture
On the other hand, if more is what you need, go for it! Start the holiday season fresh by renting a dining set that fits your space so can stop worrying about what you’re missing.
You don’t have to have a sit down, formal dinner at all if you don’t want to or can’t. Guests can sit on sofas, easy chairs, and wherever they can with plates from a buffet style set up. Get cheap TV trays if you like this idea.
Keep It Simple
Unless you are truly a rival for Top Chef (and maybe even if you are), keep it simple. Choose your four best homemade dishes and stop there. Especially if one’s a turkey, that’s what a small apartment can accommodate.
Prep Ingredients and Make Things Ahead
Break down ingredients as soon as you get them home to lose excess packaging; store fruits and veggies in ziplock bags, for example. Prepare in advance any dishes that you can. Cranberry sauce is good for days, and so are most kinds of pie. Do all of your chopping, slicing, and other prep at least one day before you cook.
Draft Your Ironing Board
Need extra counter space? Set that ironing board up. It can handle hot dishes and gives you a few extra feet of cooling space.
Think Outside the Oven
Put your slow cooker to use keeping dishes warm, and heat casserole dishes in your toaster oven.
Your Kitchen, the Buffet
Even a tiny kitchen is a great place for guests to serve themselves. You never even have to take things off the stovetop to make this work.
Hide the Mess
Cleaning as you go is ideal, but often doesn’t work on Thanksgiving. To prevent your kitchen from overflowing gather all the hide dirty dishes and place them in the dishwasher. Even if they’re not dishwasher safe you can take them out and hand wash them after the festivities. None of your guests need a bath, and you don’t need your kitchen overflowing.
Find yourself short one large table? Push your kitchen table, desk, coffee table, and dresser together to make one big surface. It’s okay if it’s uneven; it’s eclectic modern dining. Or place a long, flat mirror on nightstands for a long table.
Accept Less Than Perfect, and Enjoy
Remember, you are throwing this party because it’s a holiday, and because you care about your guests. It’s okay that everything isn’t perfect! Enjoy yourself and have a great time, and your guests will too.