We’re set to host our first holiday in our tiny house, and the prospect of company has me scouring the internet for tips on serving a holiday meal in a small space.
With a relatively small kitchen, I plan to limit the side dishes to a select few and buy some prepared food from the grocery store. Since we live in a warm climate, I’m pondering ways to incorporate the outdoors into my plan. Here are some other tips I’ve found on hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays in a small space:
Pick the largest space in your house and move all furniture to the sides of the room (or out of the room, if you can). If you don’t have a large dining table, use multiple folding tables to create a long seating area. Arrange them in the shape of an “L” if that works better in your space. Children can always sit children on pillows at a low coffee table.
If you can’t borrow what you need, rent it. Party companies rent chairs, tables, tents, dishes and even silverware, and there’s no worrying about where to store the items when you’re done. A nearby party-rental company has folding chairs for $1 and banquet tables for $7. Dinner plates and water goblets cost 45 cents each. If you want an elegant affair, consider chair covers with colored sashes ($3 each) and cloth napkins (50 cents).
In cases where a sit-down dinner just won’t work, consider hosting a wine and cheese party with finger foods spread throughout the house, or just a dessert buffet. Guests who need to visit more than one house will appreciate the simplicity, and everyone can mill about, meaning you don’t need as many chairs.
Whether you’re having a sit-down meal or a stand-up affair, clear knick knacks and small appliances from counter tops so you have room to stage the food. To keep beverages cold without taking up room in a small fridge, stock the sink with ice, or place a cooler out on the patio or balcony.
To cope with a small kitchen, keep the food plan from getting overly ambitious. Make items in advance, and take contributions from willing guests. Once the meal is done, pack leftovers immediately and have young kids run them out to cars so that counter space stays clear for dessert.
A small fire pit can draw people outdoors — you supply the chairs, marshmallows and drinks to keep them there. Outdoor heaters can be used in milder climates to make a patio dinner pleasant. Just be sure to have a back-up plan in case of rain (or freezing temps!).
And if all else fails…dine out. There are plenty of restaurants that host Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone can enjoy the turkey without worrying about who is going to do the dishes.