This is the time of year that families gather around the dinner table and give thanks for the things we have in our lives. However, this is not always as easy of a task as inviting everyone over and sitting down to a large meal. There are those of us that live in small apartments. I know this because I rent some of these apartments. I, Mark Roemer, have taken the time and talked to a number of my tenants and asked them how they have their Thanksgiving festivities in a small apartment.
After hours of discussions, I have gathered the information, and I am prepared to share my findings. Remember, just because this is intended for people living in small apartments, does not mean that if you are living in a large house that you cannot apply some of these tips to your situation.
Invest in a Folding Table
Some of you might think that this is an unnecessary purchase. However, I found that the table can be used for other occasions as well. Many times, people living in smaller apartments tend not to have others over because they don’t have room at their table for all their friends. This might be just the trick to get you to entertain on a more regular basis. Just make sure that you take the measurements of the location you intend on placing it on the big day. Nothing could be more embarrassing than inviting friends of family over for a night of fun, only to find out that you don’t have enough room to set up your table.
Remember, when you are purchasing your table, you might want to consider buying some folding chairs, as well. After all, what good is a table when your guests don’t have a place to sit? Think of it as a way to invest in some entertaining nights. The fact that you don’t have to leave the table up all year long is just an added benefit. Most of these tables will collapse and be able to fit under a bed or in a storage unit that you have attached to your apartment. Make sure it will fit there as well before you purchase it.
Make Use of Seating
If you already have a bunch of places for your guests to sit, consider buying some TV trays instead. These mini tables collapse and can be stored almost anywhere. While it may seem strange at first, having your elderly guests sit somewhere that is more comfortable, like the couch or sofa, might be a great way to squeeze some extra seating into your otherwise small house. Also, don’t hesitate to sit children on the floor. They are likely to stuff the food down their throats and want to get back to playing anyhow. It may sound rude to do that, but the family will understand if you are living in a smaller place.
Do not be above asking your family or friends to borrow something. If you really cannot afford a folding table and chairs, ask around. Even ask your neighbors. Just remember to return the item you borrow in the same condition in which it was lent to you. There is nothing more annoying than having someone return your property damaged.
Additionally, you might find that if you ask to borrow something, you might acquire the piece for much cheaper than you would have if you needed to purchase it. I know I have things around my house that I should get rid of, but never have the time to. All of these things are in great shape. It would be worth it to me to sell it to someone that needed it rather than tossing it in the garbage.
Besides of lack of space, you might be short on funds for a big party. In this case, you might want to opt to have a potluck Thanksgiving. Put all the names in a hat and draw them at random. Make sure to put all the things you and your guests will want on the list. Of course, since you will be hosting the party, you should probably do the turkey. It just makes more sense for you to do it. Often the turkey has to cook for the majority of the day. This makes it hard for people traveling to get it in the oven in time. Don’t even get me started on transporting the turkey.
Another great idea if you can’t afford to host every year is to make Thanksgiving a round-robin event. Decide ahead of time who is going to start the tradition and move on from there. All of the participants will share the hosting. This way, the same person is not responsible for buying the turkey every year. Also, the same person will not have to clean up and do dishes every year.
While it may not feel like Thanksgiving without a huge 18-pound bird in the middle of the table, it feels much worse not having a Thanksgiving due to lack of money. Consider, instead, buying chicken parts for each person. So, if you are having ten guests over, buy a couple of thighs, a couple of breasts, and maybe a drumstick or two. The bonus to doing it this way is the reduction in time that you have to cook as well. The reason that it takes so long to cook a full bird is that it is massive. A couple of parts of turkey cook in an hour or so versus the three to five hours (depending on your style) it takes to cook an entire turkey.
I, Mark Roemer, hope that you all have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. The above recommendations were made with people living in smaller apartments. However, you could quickly adapt this to any living arrangement you are currently living in. Don’t be afraid to take a chance in your small apartment. The smaller the residence, the more intimate the occasion feels.