Do you ever feel like you barely get a breather this time of year? Me too. Between prepping for Thanksgiving and then Christmas, stress levels always seem to be at an all time high, which usually means someone will unexpectedly drop by or your brother might bring his new girlfriend without informing you ahead of time.
What can you do when these unexpected guests show up at your doorstep? How can you ensure you enjoy all your holiday festivities stress free of these “welcome” intruders? I’ve collected a few solutions to help make this season a little easier for everyone.
For starters, if it’s a quick visit because someone was just passing through the neighborhood, you can always free up some seating by having the kids go watch a movie or play a game in their room. In the hopes that we get some snow this Christmas, send the little rascals outside for a snowball fight or to build a snowman. Oversized ottomans are another way to go, they are excellent for extra seating and double as a cocktail table with a tray for all the goods (aka remotes, coasters & light reading materials). Personally, holidays were never complete without a nice nap on the oversized ottoman with everyone gathered together, either watching a movie as a family or sharing a nice discussion after dinner.
My family usually does a small intimate family dinner around the holidays, yet somehow we always have people drop in. Now when I say small, I mean only 9 of us so we’re somewhat of a crowd. We all bring a dish to pass so mom doesn’t have to spend her entire day cooking by herself. Somehow, all the friends we grew up with manage to be in town on the day we plan to have dinner, it’s like they smell the food or something. They usually stop in to say hi to the family and end up joining us for dinner. My sisters and I have debated on whether we needed a bigger table for our parents and ended up all agreeing to a table that has a leaf. Whoever had this fantastic idea to add length to a table whenever you need it better have gotten a cookie or something! As for adding extra chairs, we don’t have chairs just stacked up somewhere either. What we do have though are some stools that we use to hold plants and use as side tables in some cases, desk chairs and such. Those all work perfectly to add seating to the extra space you’ve now created using a leaf. Everyone has a seat and plenty of elbow room!
If your family is quite numerous, it might be a better idea to go a more comfortable route. Investing in a wonderful sofa that will sit nicely in that office or empty corner will forever change how you use the space and allow for ample seating. Don’t be deterred to adding a sofa in a different room of the house. Splitting large groups helps to create more social interactions, a variety of conversations or even just a quiet getaway from the chatter of the main room, which makes for a much more pleasant and relaxed experience. Who doesn’t like killing two birds with one stone? Not in a literal sense, just pointing out that you shouldn’t JUST get a sofa for that extra room. Get a sleeper sofa so you have an extra bed handy in case everyone ends up having too much fun because you’re a rockstar at hosting holiday parties and your visitors need a place to crash for the night. Keep a spare duvet and pillows readily available in a basket, storage bench, cupboard for such occasions. Even an extra pillow top to keep guests at maximum comfort.
I hope you find each of these options helpful in hosting a more relaxing holiday dinner this season and that you get to enjoy it to the fullest! If you have any suggestions or tricks for helping make room for unexpected guests, PLEASE SHARE! I would love to hear more!