One of the joys of living alone is, well, being alone. You get to choose when to have people over, and all your living space is just yours, nobody else’s. So when you’re having a bunch of people over for a holiday dinner in your apartment, preparing for the big night can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if your apartment is on the smaller side. Don’t fret, though – other people have done it time and time again, and you can, too. Here’s how to host a holiday dinner in your first apartment.
Make the best of your space
Trying to relegate dinner to your kitchen? You might want to consider other options. If your living room and bedroom are right next to each other – or, better yet, if your front door, living room, and bedroom are all in a straight line with no doorways separating them – you might want to break out an expanding or folding table for the holiday.
With a long enough folding table, you don’t have to worry about struggling to seat everybody, and you can achieve the classic dining room table feel of holiday dinners from your childhood. You’ll have plenty of tabletop space on which to place food for everyone to serve themselves, and with classy tablecloths, candles, cloth napkins, and other decorations adorning your table, nobody will notice just how much space your gathering occupies.
Make even more of your space
Properly using your space to accommodate a large number of visitors isn’t just about having a big table for the feast. Have a plan in place for where to stash coats and bags – the holidays can get cold, and they lead to lots of travel – and reorganize your furniture to allow more room for movement and give the illusion of a larger apartment. This doesn’t necessarily mean pushing your heavy, big couch all the way across the room – it means moving the coffee table to the far end of your apartment or designating it as the go-to spot for hors d’oeuvres.
Set the mood right
Even if you do everything you can to make more room for your guests and set up a killer dinner table, your visitors could still feel a bit claustrophobic. Proper mood lighting can help make your apartment feel less overwhelming. Dim your lights for an elegant, calm, restaurant-like ambiance while still keeping things bright enough that everyone can see what’s in front of them. Add candles to make things seem just a bit fancier. Quietly play soft, relaxing music in the background to really drive home the mood.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
No matter how you decorate, make room for movement, or set up seating, your holiday dinner in your apartment will be far more enjoyable for everyone – yourself included – if you get all the night’s food and drinks ready in advance. Get started on the night’s big ham first thing the morning of the dinner, and make sure that baked mac ‘n’ cheese is good to go a good 15 minutes before your first guests arrive. And hey, if you can’t quite get it all done before your guests arrive, then distract them with appetizers and drinks they can enjoy before the main courses are ready.
What tips do you have for how to host a holiday dinner in your first apartment? Sound off in the comments!