Hosting a Big Family Gathering in a Small Space


I absolutely love hosting my big family for a gathering during the holidays, but we live in a small space. This can make it difficult to do. To put it in perspective, just my immediate family, we have 8 adults and 9 children. If we invite our in-laws, that pushes us close to twenty people, but the problem is the first floor of our home is on the smaller side. At just under 900 sq feet it can get quite cozy…fast.

As our families grew my mind instantly went to the fact that we needed a bigger house to do these gatherings, but that wasn’t happening during a pandemic and sure isn’t going to happen now with high interest rates. Recently, I read a book that changed my perspective. It talked about the sizes of homes compared to the size of families over the last 60 years. It made me realize that maybe our house is only small by today’s standards. We have learned to live with less, which can be applied to hosting gatherings in your home.

Here are my tips for hosting a big family gathering in a small space:

Use disposable plates

I know, I know you can yell at me for being wasteful, but sometimes when you have a lot of people over it is much easier to throw away the dishes and plasticware than fill your sink and dishwasher. It takes the pressure off when it comes to cleaning after everyone leaves.

Invest in foldable tables and chairs

Invest in foldable tables and chairs that you can easily store when not in use. We love using tables like these ones because we can use them indoors and outdoors. This way you can extend your current dining table to fit your guests.

Less is more…when it comes to food

Instead of having ten different side dishes focus on making just a few hearty side dishes. This will save space on the table but still feed a crowd. We have learned over the years to slim down on the vegetables. Instead of having many single dishes of vegetables, we have switched to doing mixed vegetable dishes.

Buffett over plated

If you have the counter space, a buffet-style dinner is perfect for a big family gathering. It is much easier for everyone to shuffle down the line, grab what they want, and then take a seat. I know sometimes we don’t have the luxury of having a big dining room table or even a dining room, so it allows people to sit wherever there are seats. It definitely isn’t as intimate, BUT you are gathered together with the people you love and that truly is all that matters.

Small craft ideas for kids

We always try to use the deck if the weather cooperates. Sometimes in November, we luck out with great weather, so we can utilize the outdoors to do activities to keep the kids entertained. One of the things we have learned is to buy a huge pack of the same craft for all the kids to do. It leads to less fighting and yelling, which means less noise in a smaller home.


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