City Living: Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Don’t let the size of your home keep you from hosting Thanksgiving dinner this holiday season. Especially if you recently downsized, and now have less or even different entertaining space than you had in the past, the task may seem a bit overwhelming. Fear not! Utilize these five smart strategies to help your space work for you, and your guests!

Prep Smart:
It can be easy to underestimate how long it will take to clean, arrange the dining area, decorate, set the table, prepare the bar or a drink selection, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Consider any allergies or dietary restrictions of your guests when planning your menu, and determine if you will be responsible for the entire meal or if guests will help out by bringing a dish to reduce your prep load.

Conform Dinner to Your Space:
Choosing to host a formal sit down dinner or a more casual buffet style may depend on whether you have a dining table. If you do not have a dining table, a more casual eat-where-you-are Thanksgiving may be a better choice. If you have an open kitchen or kitchen island, a buffet style works very well!

Rearrange For the Evening:
If you are sitting down for a traditional Thanksgiving, the dinner table should be situated so that your guests have enough room to move around comfortably. Or, if you are hosting a more casual style dinner, you may still want to rearrange furnishings so that the room works for dining. Rearrange chairs and tables to create multiples dining spaces, or one large group. For additional seating, bring in chairs from other rooms or if necessary, rent them. You may even want to use ottomans, depending on your set up. For either style dinner, remove any bulky items or furniture you will not be using by putting them in other rooms in your apartment or condo, or put them in storage space for the evening. If your hallway coat closet is full, remove items temporarily to make room for hanging your guest’s coats.

Streamline the Menu:
Preparing several recipes in a smaller space than you are used to will likely make the process take even longer. Cut back on preparing multiple variations of the same dish such as potatoes, stuffing and turkey. Fewer dishes will take up less room in your fridge, stove top, and dining table. Consider a smaller bird instead of a whole turkey, or cut recipes in half where less will suffice.

Time Saving Menu Choices:
Drinks: If you plan to serve cocktails, decide on a couple low-maintenance drinks ahead of time. This avoids having too many bottles taking up space, and having to play bartender when your guests arrive. Keep it simple; limit the drink selections. Consider a pitcher of sangria or a few different selections of red and white wine that appeal to a wide variety of preferences.

Appetizers: To save time in the kitchen, consider room temperature appetizers instead of ones that need to be heated. A few options include an assorted meat and cheese plate, and a vegetable platter with multiple dips.

Ask For Help
There is no shame in asking for help! If you plan to prepare a full-sized turkey for dinner, talk with your guests about bringing side dishes and desserts so your focus (and prep space) can be dedicated to the main event!