Hands down, my absolute favorite thing about the season is getting together for holiday meals with friends and family. While life inevitably changes in many ways, some things always stay the same. I grew up in a house in which gatherings centered around food, and I’m happy to continue that tradition today.

My husband Scott and I decided to host Thanksgiving at our place this year. Our general thinking for the holiday is “the more, the merrier.” Right now, the count is at 17 people. Our home is not exactly suited for large gatherings, but we are determined to make it work. If you need to make room for more this season, consider some of these tricks for making the most of a small space.

Use all of your furniture to your advantage. Repurpose dressers, desks and shelves from around the home and use them to serve food buffet style. Create food or drink stations around the room, which will encourage mingling among guests.

Slow down. Put food items on small serving trays, and fill them only as needed.

Store the excess in your oven or microwave in the meantime. Use this same line of thinking with other items. Put things in your bedroom or even a dry bathtub (with the curtain closed).

Set up a “picnic” for the kids’ table. My favorite thing to do growing up (and even now) was to grab a pillow to plop down and use as a seat at the coffee table. All my siblings and cousins join in and the “adults” sit at the dining table. This saves table space and can be a fun treat for the kids, too.

Pretty up the basics. For extra room at the dining table, don’t shy away from outdoor folding tables. Cover them up with tablecloths. If you cannot find one that you like, head to the fabric store, take measurements with you, and have them cut it to size. Or you can cover the tables with craft paper, and use burlap or a piece of fabric for a runner. When the meal is over, simply throw out the paper.

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