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Hosting a holiday party in a small space

It’s officially holiday party season (in fact, you probably have a full calendar and a few parties under your belt already). For some of us, being able to share the festivities with loved ones is a great joy. But it can be challenging if you have a small space. Here are some ideas for making your petit fête just as fun as anything held in a grand mansion.

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1. Be prepared for people’s arrival

If you are providing more elaborate food, it can be a real challenge to have everything ready by the time your guests arrive. Things can get a little chaotic if you are still frantically cooking or cleaning while trying to make guests feel welcome. Ideally, either catering or finger foods that have been prepared ahead of time makes for the easiest preparation. The less you have to provide seating and surfaces for a plate, the easier preparations will be, and the easier it will be for people to easily move about and mingle. Having a dedicated bar area so people can help themselves will also help relieve you of constantly having to ask the question, “can I get you another drink?”

It’s also important to clear out clutter, especially in the foyer. Having an organized place for everyone’s coats and shoes will make for easier exits and entrances.

2. Decorate simply

When you don’t have a lot of room, the last thing you want to do is clutter up available surfaces with decorations. Hang sparkling lights around the room. Wear a Christmas-themed sweater (the uglier, the better). Use holiday-themed platters and glasses to serve food and drinks on. Put beloved Christmas music on the stereo or show your favourite holiday classics on mute on the TV. Have mulled wine brewing to make everything smell cozy and seasonal. Use all of the senses to create magic, without encroaching on space. You want your fellow partygoers to have the necessary room to get their groove on, while still imparting holiday spirit.

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3. Keep the temperature comfortable

It might be chilly outside, but that doesn’t mean your small space will stay that way if it’s packed with a crowd of revellers. If you have it, don’t be afraid to use the fireplace – it creates warmth and ambiance. But if it starts to get too warm, make sure to adjust the temperature before you create and unintentional indoor sauna. Even on a cold day, an open window and a little fresh air can be welcome.

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4. Create a natural flow

Although some natural clumping around food or drinks is normal, it can make it hard to move around in a small space. Do your best to alleviate any bottlenecks by putting food and drinks in various places around your home. Make it easy for people to spread out and enjoy themselves without creating rival gangs. And if you are going to have kids at the party, it’s always best to create a special space for them, with entertainment, food and a lack of breakable things.

Small spaces can easily feel cramped, but if you organize your space to encourage partiers to spread out, it won’t feel as constricted.

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5. Use the outdoors

Weather permitting; using any outdoor space you have can expand your party area. If you have a fire pit, it might be nice to use it. Set up a s’mores station, have an acoustic guitar handy, and make a basket of blankets and sweaters available. If you have a covered deck, stock it with heaters and blankets and make the space useable for the more adventurous partygoers. Hang lights and bring some food and drinks out, if the temperature allows for it. You can add a lot of square footage if you can make the outdoor space an extension of the party.

Party people don’t stop being party people just because they happen to live in a smaller home. If you want to throw a holiday party this season, then go forth and throw the best party your space can handle. And don’t forget to invite us!