We’ve officially entered the holiday season and that means a lot of different things to so many of us. Yes, it can be stressful and expensive but the part I love most is entertaining. I love to host and I love to be a guest at someone else’s event. If you have a huge home with unlimited space you can entertain large groups of family and friends but what about those who live in small homes or condos? I have some tips to make holiday entertaining a breeze, even if you live in a tiny space.
TIPS FOR HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU LIVE
If the idea of holiday entertaining in your tiny apartment or cramped house sends a shiver up your spine, I’m here to help. These are my best tips for small space entertaining that can be used at any time of the year, not just during the holiday season.
1/ LET’S HAVE A COCKTAIL
There’s no unwritten rule that states we must host a 6-course, sit down dinner. Why not just ease the pressure and host a cocktail party instead? Not only will you alleviate your own pain but I bet your guests will enjoy having a more relaxed event for a change.
You can set up a DIY cocktail bar that will keep your guests moving around your space. It also allows you to focus on having fun instead of just acting as a bartender. Another easy solution is to pour glasses of champagne, set them out on trays around the room and let your guests help themselves.
Nobody expects a large space or a chair for everyone when they’re invited to a cocktail party. Aren’t you picturing ladies in black dresses and smartly dressed men? No matter what the attire, this will allow you to have a wonderful evening of holiday celebrating even in a tiny space.
Another benefit of a cocktail party is that you can host for just a 2 or 3-hour time period and then you’ll see your guests quickly exit.
2/ SPLIT UP THE GUEST LIST
Are you worried about having too many friends and/or family for a simple evening event? I mean, that’s not really an issue and you’re lucky to have so many friends. Why not consider breaking it up into a couple of smaller events?
Maybe you invite your girlfriends one weekend, your siblings the next and your coworkers the week after. You can have fun with a smaller crowd and either cozy up to the breakfast bar or even use floor pillows to create casual seating around your coffee table. This can create a beautiful evening ambience that’s intimate and stress-free.
You can even do something festive and extremely laid back like hosting a holiday movie party. This is super low stress and can be really easy to pull together. Order sushi, pour the wine, grab a blanket and eat cookies all night long. Parties don’t always have to be fancy to be memorable.
3/ HEAD OUTSIDE
Even if you live in a cold climate like I do you can absolutely enjoy the outdoors. Last year I wrote here about how I decorate my outdoor space so it can be used for entertaining. I include lots of pillows, blankets and candles. I get the outdoor fireplace blazing and I’ve just created an instant outdoor wonderland that will draw your guests outdoors.
We’re all followers to some degree so if you encourage a couple of people to bundle up and head outside, you’ll see others follow their lead.
If you really want to tempt your guests out of the house, set up a fun station with something being offered that is only outside. Maybe you do a coffee and Bailey’s station or you can do a hot chocolate station for the kids.
Your guests may not stay outside for long but it’ll be extra square footage and make your holiday entertaining event feel a bit more spacious.
4/ DECLUTTER ALL YOUR SURFACES
When it comes to small space entertaining, nothing creates a bigger obstacle than piles of things everywhere. This includes tabletops and floor space. You may even consider decluttering your sofa if you have too many blankets and pillows. I mean, is there really such a thing as too many pillows? Well maybe only when it comes to creating more seating for friends.
Grab a big basket and just toss all your clutter in there before your party begins and hide it away in your bedroom. This serves a dual purpose of opening up spaces for people to stand or place food and drinks.
It also makes your space appear larger when the corners aren’t filled with kids toys or piles of games.
5/ UTILIZE ZONES
If you really like to be organized and give yourself a stress-free evening, go through your space and allocate areas that can be used during your event. For instance, there are typical essentials you’ll need to cover that include:
- A BAR – this could be your island or a kitchen counter that you set up as your serving area. Line up bottles of wine, a pitcher of cocktails and plenty of glasses;
- A SNACK BAR – even if you’re hosting a dinner you’ll likely want a nibble with the first round of drinks. Set aside an area like the coffee table or the fireplace mantel. Alternatively, you can just do small bowls of nuts and pretzels and place them around the room.
- COATS & PURSES – If you don’t have a closet large enough for your guests’ items, direct people to toss their items on your bed. You don’t want coats lying around your living room and creating obstacles.
- SEATING – it’s fun to create small vignettes throughout the space as opposed to trying to cram all your dining chairs around the sofa. Be creative and you can create a really fun ambience. Grab all your random chairs, poufs and floor pillows and create small seating areas throughout the space.
6/ CLEAN AS YOU GO
One of the biggest challenges with small space entertaining is the clutter of dishes and glasses that accumulate throughout the evening. Create a space either in your kitchen or laundry room with a large tub. Throughout the night you can do a sweep of the space and hide them away until the evening is over.
This will help keep your entertaining spaces clean and clutter free and when everyone is gone you’ll have everything ready to clean.
Do you have any favourite tips for holiday entertaining in a small space? I’d love to hear your ideas.
If you need help creating a home where you’re proud to entertain contact me. I’d love to speak to you about your upcoming project.
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