How Do You Fit Everyone In Your House For A Holiday Dinner?
How To Make Room for Everyone at Holiday Dinners
When shopping for a home, most of us didn’t find a house with an enormous formal dining room for a table that can comfortably fit 20 people. It’s never fun to be exiled to a different room due to lack of space – or even worse – be given a seat at the dreaded “kids’ table”. So, where do you fit everyone? The key is flexibility. I’ve found some great ideas for making extra room for holiday dinners.
Seasoned entertainers often have some extra folding tables and chairs in storage for this occasion, but if you don’t, one simple idea is to rent some extra seating from a party supply. They usually drop them off the day before and pick them up the day after, so it’s really easy. The one I use is Coast Party Rentals in Los Alamitos, CA. They have several table and chair options and I sometimes rent table cloths and cloth napkins so all the tables match (at the end of the meal, simply toss the soiled linens in a bag and let the rental company worry about washing them). You can even rent plates, glasses, and flatware if you need to.
You could always switch your living room and dining room around for one day to allow for more table space. Another idea is to stash your living room furniture in the garage, or use it to create extra seating on the patio or family room, to create one large empty space. **note: re-arrange your house a day or two ahead of time – not Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. It allows you extra time to figure out where everything goes, and let’s the dust settle from any disagreements that may happen during the process. (At least in my house)**
In My Own Style has a great tutorial on building a plywood topper for your regular dining table to make a temporarily larger table.
This is a great idea if you need a few extra seats for holidays and birthday parties, but don’t have the space for a huge table year-round.
Our weather is not usually very cold in Southern California, in fact we often get to wear shorts and barbeque our turkey on Thanksgiving; so we sometimes set up an al fresco dining room on the patio for large get-togethers. You can rent a patio heater or two from a party supply and set out a basket of lap blankets for those that might get chilled in the evening. Adding plenty of twinkle lights overhead, candles, and some soft music can make this option very charming and doesn’t require you to re-arrange your house.
Here are a few last tidbits to help with having lots of people in your home:
Set up a drink station and a food station – out of the way. Our kitchen is the heart of our home, but several people gathered in the walkway sipping cocktails and eating cheese can make it impossible to get through and/or finish cooking the meal. This is not only a nuisance, but it can be downright dangerous with hot pans and knife weilding going on. I learned to set up my food and beverage tables in the dining area or living room to encourage mingling and to keep the kitchen area clear.
Here are some great ideas on BuzzFeed for creative drink stations.
Have an outdoor activity for kids to do. Lawn bowling, croquet sets, bean bag tossing, or coloring books are good ideas. Giving kids something to do prevents them from running around in the busy kitchen area, and helps keep fewer bodies in the house until mealtime. Spoonful.com has a tutorial on making a quick Crow and Corn bean bag toss game for the kids.
Do you have any great ideas for how to fit a large crowd in your house? Feel free to share.
The Wahlberg Group
Keller Williams Pacific Estates