The holidays are fast approaching, and you may already be planning your upcoming holiday parties. Hosting Thanksgiving in your new Washington D.C. apartment may seem a little daunting because of space constraints, but don’t fret. Living in small spaces may require some planning and creative thinking, but hosting parties in an apartment is doable with the right approach.
It is, of course, important for all your guests to be comfortable, and you will want your meal to be perfect, as well. You can achieve both in your small apartment space. Just think outside the box, get a little creative, and heed these holiday tips for hosting in small spaces.
Tip #1: Create a Kitchen Game Plan
Chef-style kitchens complete with dual ovens, islands, and sinks are not the norm in D.C. area apartments. Since you likely have a small kitchen to make more room for living spaces, a coordinated approach to cooking is essential. To successfully host a family Thanksgiving dinner (or a Friendsgiving, if that’s your goal), observe a few simple tips:
- Plan, plan, plan. Choose your Thanksgiving recipes ahead of time and make a note of the cooking times and temperatures. This will allow you to better execute the meal than if you were to try to coordinate it at the last minute. If the turkey roasts at 350 degrees, for example, then you can also bake other items that bake at the same temperature. While the turkey is resting, crank the heat up or down and finish any other sides at their recommended temperature.
- Account for appliances and counter space. Know which items will require which equipment and borrow or buy anything you might need. Discovering that you don’t have a turkey baster on cooking day will result in a sad, dry turkey, and if you run out to the store on Thanksgiving morning, holiday shoppers could leave you drastically behind schedule.
- Create your kitchen game plan. Think about how you will execute and be prepared for the big day with all your essential supplies, cook times, and even counter space.
Tip #2: Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or families for help! If someone asks what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, don’t be a hero! Accept their invitation graciously and let them know which dishes you’re covering so they can prepare their own delicious eats. Everyone will ultimately enjoy the final product, so accept offers of help when they come along. Some tasks you can delegate to help the meal along, include:
- Do you have a family member or friend who is continually adding to their Pinterest board? Ask for their help designing centerpieces or picking out floral arrangements.
- Answering the door. When it comes to the day itself, it can be distracting to answer the door while trying to prepare a perfectly cooked bird. Ask your resident social butterfly to take charge of taking coats and making guests feel comfortable.
- Mixing and replenishing drinks. If you have a friend or family member who is a whiz at offering up cocktails or mocktails, put them in charge of checking ice and replenishing drinks when they get low.
- If you have a guest who is eager to help but lacks cooking skills, maybe they would enjoy helping prepare for the party by cleaning, organizing, setting the table, or even serving as a second pair of eyes on the grocery shopping list.
Whenever people offer to help, graciously accept what they can do, in any capacity. Even taking mundane items off your list (like cocktail napkins, for example), can help reduce stress on the big day.
Tip#3: Be Creative with Seating Arrangements
When planning a party in a small space, seating presents one of the biggest challenges. As such, it is important to flex your creative thinking muscles when considering your small space seating. As you create a plan, think of any available space as a potential dining space. For example, putting a piece of plywood on a dining or end table and putting a tablecloth over it makes for a functional kids table or extra seating. Nearby rental places may also offer additional seating, tables, and chairs, but be sure to book them early before they sell out. Rather than planning out a fancy table meal, consider a more “bistro” setting where family can sit, relax, and enjoy the food.
Tip #4: Clean as You Go
To minimize stress, keep cleaning as you cook. This will help reduce the number of dirty dishes piling in your sink. To keep from completely overloading your dishwasher, consider buying attractive disposable plates and tableware so guests can easily clean up after themselves. Since your seating spaces likely face the kitchen, cleaning along the way keeps your guests from viewing the pile of dirty dishes in the sink and countertops while trying to enjoy their meal.
Disposable tableware can come in a variety of attractive choices (just look at these for inspiration)
Tip #5: Embrace the Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner
Multi-course meals may look good on T.V., but who will ultimately show up at your Thanksgiving dinner? Family and friends. Don’t go out of your way to impress, as they accept you as you are and will love anything you prepare. Thanksgiving is about spending time with those you love—the rest is just details. If the idea of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner seems unfeasible due to space or appliance constraints, consider a Thanksgiving brunch or other non-traditional meal ideas that require less work (catering, anyone?). Just be sure to schedule any meal deliveries well ahead of time, as time slots can fill up quickly this time of year.
If you’re making plans for the season and need ideas for holiday parties, heed the tips we’ve laid out. If you want to host in your new D.C. apartment, don’t count yourself out of the game due to a small space. By using some creativity, accepting help when it’s offered, and having a concrete game plan, you can put together a Thanksgiving feast that all your guests are sure to enjoy. From all of us at Bay Property Management Group Washington D.C., Happy Thanksgiving!
Moving to the D.C. area this Thanksgiving? Reach out to our team at BMG to help you find a place quickly so that you can enjoy the holiday with friends and family.