How to host a Christmas Party in your small apartment

‘Tis the season for ridiculous amounts of food, buying (and getting!) presents, and spending time with your family and friends. If you live in a smaller apartment however, this might be a problem: where are you going to put everyone? Is there room for dinner and dessert? How will you fit a Christmas tree big enough into that corner between the TV and the window?

Luckily for you, we’ve got the down-low on how to host an incredible Christmas party for your loved ones. Using our tips and tricks, the event is sure to go off without a hitch.

Inside or Outside

Given how hot Australian summers can be, deciding whether the event you’re hosting will be inside or outside is the first step of action. Now, if you have a smaller apartment you may not have a large balcony, but if you decided to host ‘inside’ only (ie. Keep the doors shut and the air-conditioning running), then you’d be hosting a very different event to someone who integrated their indoor and outdoor areas, or had to cater for smokers/firework watching, etc.

Christmas party
Will you keep it in the air-conditioning or let the natural breezes through?

To do this, take a look at who you want to invite. Does Nana always get overheated, and your brother is bringing along his newborns? Probably time to go inside-only, maybe have a lunch instead of a dinner because of this. Do your friends always move around a lot, and insist on watching a Christmas movie together? Maybe think about opening up the balcony and eating there so the TV area is free.

Rearrange your furniture

Of course, once you’ve decided whether you’re going to be inside, outside or both, it’s time to consider logistics. There are only so many people than can fit into an apartment, and you’re probably well aware of how many fit in your home. But you can make room for those extra people you want to invite by doing a little rearranging.

Shuffle everything around so you can set out your apartment the way you like best

It might be as simple as pushing your couch against the wall, or as complicated as moving said couch into your bedroom. It’s up to you how you move everything about, and it definitely depends on how many people your apartment can fit given the way it is right now.

Prep as much as possible

Christmas pie
If it’s ready to go before the guests are even thinking about getting ready, then you’re doing well

The next step is to decide on what you’re serving. You might be the type of person who has to have seafood with their Christmas dinners, or you might prefer a good turkey instead. No matter what you’re serving, you need to sit down and make a menu, then a list of what you need to buy to make those dishes. Once you’ve done that, consider how long it will take you to cook/prepare the food. If you can get away with it, begin cooking a couple of days early. The more you have done before the day of your party, the less stressful you’ll find it all.

Spread the snacks and food around

This might seem a bit counter-intuitive when you’re trying to host an event to bring your loved ones together, but spread the snacks and food around your apartment. You might decide that the cheese plate and wines will be in the kitchen, but the dessert pies are over near the TV. By doing this, you’re ensuring that your guests move around and will spread out, which prevents you trying to awkwardly squish Aunt Janice between your cousin and Grandpa.

Christmas drinks
You don’t have to keep all the food in one area; spread it out so that your guests are crowded

This is also a great thing to do if you have a very mixed group of guests coming. It will force people to interact outside of their traditional social circles, making the event merry and fun!

Decorate, and then put one thing away

You might want to go all out when decorating: tinsel and lights on the balcony railing, more lights in the kitchen, a tree, some bunting on the walls, a couple of Christmas toys/teddies/candles/knick-knacks on the side table…you get the idea. And there’s nothing wrong with this! But if you’re planning on having a bunch of people over, it’s time to put one thing away.

Christmas table
Leave open areas where you can put food, or guests can leave their bags

You might decide to put the knick-knacks into your bedroom for the night, or pull the bunting down for 24 hours. This will visually and literally clear space for you to use, making the area feel larger.

No matter how you do it, celebrating Christmas with the people that you love most is something to be cherished. And don’t worry if you think it still feels a bit cramped — most of your guests won’t notice because they’ll be having too much fun!

Written: 29 November 2019, Updated: 6 April 2020

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