Tips for hosting Thanksgiving in a small apartment

Whether you are getting your friends or family (or both) together this Thanksgiving, limited space should not deter you from planning the perfect holiday with a delicious feast. Even without a fancy dining room and large living room area, you can host the perfect Thanksgiving holiday at your apartment. Follow these tips to ensure you have an eventful day of food, fun and laughter:

Prepare in advance: After getting a head count for the day, begin the planning process. If there are any dishes that can be prepared prior to Thanksgiving, start the work early. Fruit plates and cheese platters will be helpful so your guests have something to eat if they arrive hungry. Instead of rushing to get the appetizers ready, let everyone marvel over the unique cheeses you provide or the fancy fruit plate. This can help ensure things run smoothly as you prepare the rest of the meal. 

You should schedule the dishes with the longest cook time first. For example, if you are cooking a turkey, that should be a priority when you wake up on Thanksgiving Day. Foods that will be prepared in the oven like casseroles or stuffing can be made in advance as they can be reheated.

If you have out-of-town guests who will be staying with you the previous night, be sure to have extra linens, pillows and towels available for them.

Rearrange as necessary: Use your imagination to make your small apartment comfortable enough for all your guests. You can use your kitchen countertop as the buffet table if you do not have an island or dining area in the apartment. You can also bring together your side and coffee tables for additional space to hold dishes and trays. Cover the different tables with fancy linens.

Instead of using a centerpiece or candles, let the food layout speak for itself. Skillful food presentation can make up for a lack of decorative pieces during a buffet.

To create additional seating room, place a mattress on the floor and cover it with a bed sheet. Then, use decorative pillows so your guests can sit comfortably on the floor after the meal.

Drink station: Rather than serve everyone individually, create a drink counter so your guests can help themselves. Set out glasses, drinks and two buckets for ice. Make one of the buckets a cooler for wine, champagne bottles or soft drinks. Having a drink station will give you the chance to finish food prep and can help your guests feel more comfortable as they wait.

Serving dishes: As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, do a quick count of all your serving dishes, bowls and trays. If you are planning two different salads, will you still have enough bowls left for the mashed potatoes and turkey stuffing? This might be the perfect time to add to your serveware collection.

Allow help: If your guests are pitching in to help you prepare food or clean up, don't feel bad about letting them do some work. This will take some stress off your shoulders and can make your holiday more enjoyable because you will have a few friends or family to talk to in the kitchen.

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