When your kids were little and you hadn’t slept in years, you probably dreamt of the day when they’d move out … but it seems to have happened way too fast, doesn’t it? Whether your kids left the nest 10 years ago or just a few months ago, you likely feel a lot of emotions around this time of year. It can be especially emotional if you’ve recently moved out of your longtime family home and into a smaller condo or home. The empty nest feeling can hit hard the first year your kids can’t make it back home for Turkey Day.
You might be tempted to just let a restaurant do all the work … but trust us when we say that Thanksgiving in an empty nest doesn’t have to mean an empty table. With a little creativity and planning, you can still celebrate the day with a warm, homey Friendsgiving. Check out our ideas for making big memories in your little space.
Keep the Table for Talking
Turn your kitchen counter into a buffet. If space is really limited, you can even use the stove by keeping the hot dishes on the burners. (You’ll have instant warmers, too!) Add a touch of elegance by labeling each table setting (check out our free Thanksgiving place card holders) and decorating empty spaces with small pumpkins. This frees up your table for plates, drinks, and conversations.
Make It a Potluck
Although Friendsgiving is new to the holiday scene, it’s most often considered a potluck, where the host makes the main dish and the guests bring everything else. This is perfect if you live in a small space, because it takes all the worry out of whether you have enough room in the oven. It also lessens the clean-up, and people in all sizes of homes can get on board with that idea.
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to create a delicious holiday spread. It’s no secret that this goal is more realistic if you’re only in charge of the main dish. But if you go the traditional route and cook your spread solo, it’s still possible to spend less time cooking and more time conversing if you choose your recipes wisely. Here are some deliciously easy recipe ideas for turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans and bacon, and pumpkin pie.
Decorate In Advance
Set your table the night before so you aren’t rushing the day of your party. Decorate with candles you already have, some plump pumpkins, or bring in colored leaves from the outside. To make your guests feel comfortable right away, create a place card for each setting so they have the reassurance that you planned for them. (It’s also a great way to help any of your not-so-friendly friends avoid uncomfortable situations if necessary.)
Make Room For Everyone
If you’ll need more seats than your table can hold, make plans to rent or borrow folding chairs about a week before the party. For extra table space, spruce up a card table with a fall-themed tablecloth. And if you really could use that space where your coffee table is — move it! Haul out the furniture you don’t need for the day to make space, either to a spare bedroom that won’t be used or your garage. Your guests will enjoy the extra room to mingle, and you will too.
No matter how you choose to make it happen, remember that above everything else, Friendsgiving is about FRIENDS. Enjoy the day, enjoy your company, and don’t sweat the small stuff.