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Ask Lela: Thanksgiving In A Small House

See how we helped one of our readers pull off Thanksgiving in a small house, even without a dining room.

Ask Lela About Thanksgiving

Dear Lela,

This is my first year hosting Thanksgiving for my husband’s family of 7. Woo hoo! Right? Wrong. I live in a 1000 square foot house and I don’t even have a dining room at all, just a nook in my kitchen.  There’s going to be 9 of us total, and it seems tight just for the two of us on our own. Please tell me you’ve got some ideas on how I can make this work?


hosting thanksgiving in a small house

Hosting Thanksgiving In A Small Home

Oh my goodness, Alexis, I’ve been there sister! Our last home was 1100 square feet and I hosted [one] Thanksgiving for 14 people in there. [After which I politely passed the torch back to the previous hostess] But I promise you, if I could do it, you can do it, too. Here’s a few of the things I personally did that made the event extra smooth and with minimal shoulder bumping.

Make Your Own Dining Room

This is the only way you’re going to fit 9 people at one table when you don’t have an actual dining room…you ready for this? You’ve got to turn another room into a dining room.

Whether it means moving your living room furniture out to the garage or into a bedroom, or repurposing another space in your house into a dining space, if you want everyone to be all at one table, this is the route you’ll have to go.

host thanksgiving in small apartment

Be Unconventional

If you don’t have a table large enough for everyone to sit at, or if you don’t have the funds to rent one for the day, look around your house and find other ways to make it work. Maybe your family has some folding tables you can borrow.

Just plopping a pretty table cloth on top will hide the fact that it’s a plastic folding table, and no one will mind at all. If you don’t have any seniors visiting, you could always put down a thick quilt in the floor of the living room and have a Thanksgiving “picnic” inside.

And don’t be afraid to break out those TV trays! No one will ever complain about a TV tray while they eat on the couch watching football. Actually, some will probably prefer it.

Be Smart With Your Kitchen Space

I’m guessing you probably have a pretty small kitchen as well, so aside from having space for the guests, you may run into an issue with food storage as well. To avoid countertop overload, opt for a minimalistic menu.

When Thanksgiving meals are served buffet style with three times more dishes than guests, most of the food doesn’t even get eaten. Instead of serving “all the things,” cut it down to just the family favorites. And try to make as much ahead as possible to avoid a kitchen meltdown at the last minute when there are 15 timers going off all at once.

thanksgiving tips for small house

Have Super Detailed Plans

Planning is oh, so important anyway, but when you’ve got a tight space for a venue, planning is even more essential. Write down every detail from room layouts to menus to guest lists to entertainment, and have a clear timeline. You can pick up my Printable Event Planner or my Printable Holiday Planner to help you nail down all the bullet points.

Read More:

Here’s a great post Brad wrote on hosting a large family in a small home:

Click here to read How To Cram A Large Crowd In A Small House

And here’s a collection of holiday hosting posts to help get your ideas flowing:

Click here to browse the Holiday Hosting Archives

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