The holiday season can be stressful for many reasons, and one is the pressure of hosting. Whether it’s a big family gathering or just dinner with a few friends, the holidays are a time of year when many people like to gather together with the people they love and care about – but often wish they had just a little more space for entertaining. Those with small kitchens might just throw in the towel on hosting altogether during this time of year.
Luckily, there are simple tricks you can do to make the most of the space you have. We’ve compiled a list of these tips and tricks to ease the flow of people and help you rediscover the hosting spirit.
“My kitchen is just too small to host __ people.”
This is a common problem. But remember that it’s up to you whether you want your guests to linger in the kitchen or not. If you have extra counter space, it might be wise to leave all your finger foods and appetizers in the kitchen and let guests meander in and out as they please.This allows your kitchen to become part of the space available to guests, easing congestion in other areas.
However, if you feel your kitchen is too cramped as it is, setting up a small console table to house appetizers in the main gathering area will help direct traffic away from the kitchen. A similar trick is to set up a “bar” station for all your drinks. Even a small folding table can be made to look festive by simply adding an inexpensive red tablecloth, and it saves lots of space in your kitchen and dining area.
Finally, when it comes to decor for the dining table, use small flowers and tea candles instead of large decorations, which take up valuable space and tend to block views across the table.
“I just don’t have enough seating.”
There are lots of ways to get around this one. Floor cushions are perhaps the easiest option if you have younger guests. They can go anywhere, and kids will probably love sitting on a squishy pillow on the floor.
If you have a large entryway, or one that is integrated into your living area, consider adding a small table and folding chairs there. Also, you probably have at least one wall free of seating most of the time. You might have a fireplace that you don’t normally want blocked by chairs, or maybe all your living room furniture is pointed toward a central fixture. Either way, temporarily adding small stools, folding chairs, or a bench in spots normally kept free of furniture is an easy way to squeeze a few more seats into your space.
“My entryway and transition areas are too cramped for lots of people.”
Remember: You have complete control over the traffic flow in your home. Maybe you have a small entry, but have an office or guest room near the front door. Consider setting up a spot for shoes and coats there so you can immediately direct guests out of the doorway.
Maybe your dining area isn’t as open to your living area as you’d like, and you don’t want people to jam up in a small corridor. Try putting drinks and light fingerfoods in the living room and heartier appetizers in the dining room. With food in both places, guests will migrate slowly instead of all moving together from one place to another.
Finally, remember that the point of a holiday gathering isn’t perfect snacks or decorations. It’s about sharing time with your loved ones. Your most important job as a host is to make sure everyone feels welcome, and you don’t need anything fancy for that.