Hosting holidays in a small house

Maybe you’re living in your starter home or condo, or maybe you’ve recently downsized from a bigger place. Or maybe you just don’t need that much room – just enough for you and your things. Maybe you’ve recently decided to shed your excess possessions and live life more simply. Clean and minimal living.

Well, if there’s one group of people who won’t pay attention to any of that and still plan on cramming into your clearly too-small place, you can always count on family. They’re coming, and they’re staying for a while. They love you, after all, and they want to see you.

How will you manage this loving-but-potentially-unruly crowd? Luckily, we here at Lands’ End are here to help. Take a look through these quick tips to keep your guests in line and entertained. Take a breath. It’ll all be fine.

Monogram everything.

Just like when your mom sent you to camp and wrote your name in your underwear, you’ve got to have a way of keeping everyone’s things from getting mixed up with everyone else’s things. Start with some personalized needlepoint stockings and have each one monogrammed with its owner’s name. With all these people in the house you simply don’t have room for everyone to have boxes and packages of gifts – you’d run the risk of losing the family dog or a small child in all the piles of discarded wrapping paper! Do the sensible thing and limit everyone to no more than a single stocking.

While you’re at it, get everyone a monogrammed bath towel. No one wants to find out, too late, that they’ve accidentally used Aunt Edna’s bath towel – no one. You’ll be thanking yourself when everyone has their own towel that doesn’t get mixed in with all the others. Plus, they can take their towel with them when they finally actually decide to go home. Give it to them as a way of preventing disaster and as an early Christmas gift. Two birds, meet one fluffy, absorbent all-cotton stone.

Go minimal with the decorations.

With all these family members packed in your house like commuters in a rush-hour metro car, you simply don’t have room for a Christmas tree. It’s a harsh reality, we know, but those are valuable cubic feet that your tiny house simply doesn’t have to spare. Go for a tasteful evergreen wreath on your front door and maybe some garland around the doorways.

You might be able to use a throw pillow here or there, but only if it pulls double-duty as a child’s pillow at night, so maybe get a really fluffy one. Honestly, that’s about it. Don’t bother with candles or anything that could catch fire to someone’s shirtsleeve. Too risky.

Load up on blankets.

A couple extra throw blankets can go far for solving family-related issues. Not everyone likes the house the same temperature, so if someone says they’re cold, don’t even think about touching the thermostat. Throw them a throw. Extra blankets can also come in handy at night when people need something soft and snuggly.

Plan for the future.

Ever feel like family makes you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? We hear you. In between fielding requests from family members for various foods, beverages and consumable home goods, use your smart phone to book a trip to somewhere warm and nice – Cancun, maybe, or Palm Springs. You’ll breathe many sighs of relief as you sit by the pool and only have to speak to the cabana boy as he brings you drinks served in hollowed-out pineapples. Ahh, yes, it will all have been worth it.

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