Monday, 28 November 2011

How to host Thanksgiving in a small apartment

When we decided to host a big Thanksgiving dinner, we just assumed that everyone would be eating with plates on their laps.  Not ideal, but it could work.  It wasn't until I was brainstorming one day that I came up with the perfect small-space solution.

Our couch folds down into a bed, futon-style:

I realised that we could probably use it as a table if we were able to put some sort of hard surface on top of it.  I immediately folded the couch down, pulled out my long white table cloth and set up a quick table setting.  We were expecting eleven adults and three kids (although we ended up with nine adults and two kids), so I had a big group to accommodate.  Amazingly, it worked:

The most difficult part of this set up was getting the piece of plywood.  I called around and found a lumber store about a mile away that would sell me a piece of 4x6 plywood for £13.  I was originally going to attempt to carry it myself, but I'm glad I didn't.  My friend Mary sweetly offered to help.  Thanks goodness!  I don't know how far I would have gotten with it on my own.

Unfortunately, we didn't get any shots of the two of us carrying it together, but I did get a shot of Mary showing off with our sheet-o-plywood before we hit the road:

And then Mary got an action shot of me once we were on the road:

We carried that bad boy just about a mile.  It was pretty great.  We were stared at and honked at, but it was otherwise a pretty easy trip.

Okay, now back to Thanksgiving:

The plywood/couch table worked beautifully!  We had the living room set up normally until right before dinner was ready.  Then, everyone helped in folding the couch down, getting the plywood situated and setting the table.  It all happened surprisingly smoothly.

Here is an in-progress shot that my friend Naina took (you can see I put a mattress cover down first just in case):

Once the plywood was in place, it was looking pretty promising:

Charlotte and Emily kept a watchful eye over the process:

And here is what it looked like when it was all set up:

 And here we all are enjoying our Japanese style Thanksgiving dinner:

Please notice the darling Thanksgiving bibs that Mary brought over for the girls.  Also, please notice that Emily has no shirt on.  And this was before she fell into the pan of butter and turkey fat.

As you can see, it took up nearly the entire living room!  But it was perfect.  Much much much better than eating with our plates on our laps.  We set up all the food on our (tiny) dining table and everyone helped themselves.  Everyone was comfy enough, that we stayed there for dessert as well.

Josh and Naina

I would post more pictures, but most of them didn't turn out because of the low lighting.  It was a great time though.  Good food, good friends and (thanks to John!) some good music after dinner.  All-in-all a great evening.

(And we've decided to hang onto our plywood for future dinner parties.  So, if you're invited over for a big dinner, be sure not to wear a short skirt!)


  1. Nicely done! I'm impressed. And it looks like a grand old time was had by all.

  2. Genius. Eat your heart out, Young House Love!

  3. A wonderful evening all the way around. Josh will be thrilled to see he made it onto the blog -- in a good way. ;-)


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