The holidays are coming. Are you ready? Here are some tips and tricks for hosting a big Thanksgiving in a small space.
It all sounded like a good idea. You love to cook, love to host holidays and love to share all of it with your loved ones. But your living quarters are small and your kitchen petite. Cue the panic.
Except, don’t. There’s no need to panic over spacial issues for the holidays. Put aside the visions of holiday celebrations you’ve gleaned from television shows and your own life, and make this holiday your own. Hosting a big Thanksgiving (or any other celebration) in a small space is as simple as good planning and smart decision making.
I’ve teamed up with Dollar General to share some tips on how to host in a small space, without spending a lot, stressing out or going bonkers. Dollar General, which operates more than 12,500 stores in 43 states, sells everything from groceries to holiday supplies. Be sure to check out their private label items, which are affordable and perfect for all your celebration.
Getting out the fine china and silver can be so much fun. It makes everything feel so fancy and festive. But, especially when you don’t have a dishwasher — those fancy dishes can become a hassle for cleanup.
When you don’t have a ton of space, don’t bother with the perfectly placed, fancy place settings. Go casual instead. Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to come together and be thankful — and you don’t have to go fancy to capture that sentiment. Choose heavy weight paper plates, which will stand up to the food they’ll hold while also making cleanup a breeze. Likewise, disposable flatware (like the silver-toned version pictured above) and paper napkins are a good choice too.
And it’s not just for holidays. For my daughter’s recent birthday party, we used festive paper plates and napkins for easy cleanup.
Find: Dollar General’s DG Party brand plates, napkins and flatware, prices start at $1 per package.
Use space wisely.
When you have a kitchen, dining room, family room and other space for family to hang out on holidays, it’s fun to decorate the space with seasonally colored or otherwise themed decor — candles, flowers and the like. But when space is at a premium, you want to make sure you maximize your useable space for as much seating as possible, clear tables for setting down drinks and plates and abbreviated decorations.
Make the centerpiece functional.
Remember when I said to use space wisely? That includes on the table! While a pretty floral centerpiece is nice, it takes up valuable real estate for serving. Instead, make your centerpiece functional — as I did here with this golden basket and old mason jars. For casual gatherings, this is a great way to have the flatware on the table while freeing up space for eating. Small candles also add a pleasant glow to the space.
Find: This golden basket and the gold candle holders are all from Dollar General. Mason jars are leftovers from my basement.
Plan, plan, plan.
That small kitchen probably comes with a small cooking space, so planning will be key to kitchen success. Instead of the traditional cooking of the bird in the oven — and taking up valuable oven space for hours — try cooking your turkey in the slow cooker. Plan out cooking times. Make as much as you can ahead. The more planning, scheduling and advance work you do, the less stress the meal will be.
What happens when it’s all done? Pack up the leftovers. Storage bags are a must to have on hand. Storage containers too. Another smart thing you can do? Pack leftovers together for ready-to-heat-and-eat meals, such as veggies, turkey and gravy in a baking dish topped with mashed potatoes (turkey shepherd’s pie!).
What are your best tips for hosting a big celebration in a small space?
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.