I recently had the great privilege of hosting family over the holidays. At just over 1,000 square feet our house is, in a word, small. Small, but mighty. What I like most about this small space is that it is functional and cozy. When viewing this house for the first time, I stood in the kitchen and caught a glimpse of the future: that I would be standing in that same spot years later looking out to a clear view of my future child playing in the living room. Small spaces are great for small children. I know what’s going on and, when I don’t (why is it suddenly so quiet??), I can quickly catch on and investigate. Though we are sometimes elbow-to-elbow, there is a simplicity that this small space affords. I can knock out vacuuming and mopping in 30 minutes and we have the added interest of not hoarding things because we cannot afford to lose valuable space. What’s more, the house is easy to heat and cool; there’s never a draft here from extra high ceilings! 🙂
While this house is great for our small family, the idea of hosting more people sort of scares my husband and me. Where will they sit? Where will they sleep?? There’s not enough space here for everyone! But then I realized that no matter how small the dining table, it can metaphorically always make room for more love. Though it looks beautiful in pictures, the truth is that we don’t need a designated guest bedroom and farm table in order to host family for the holidays or to make loving memories. All we really need is a little creativity and a willingness to be flexible.
What that meant for us when we hosted my in-laws for five days in December was to clear as much space as possible. To make room for the Christmas tree, we moved the ottoman and bookshelf to the garage. Space was cleared in the closets so that the suitcases would have a home for the week. The drum set was deconstructed so that the air mattress had a place to exist. And mismatched folding chairs brought everyone together at our tiny table. We had a great time visiting and my son loved all of the extra one-on-one time, which is what matters most.
Then, on Christmas Eve, we hosted my family for dinner and games. With an extra six people, this definitely required creativity and flexibility. I chose a meal that was simple and could be prepped ahead of time (spaghetti and salad). My Grandma luckily has a card table with four chairs so everyone had a place at the table. Following dinner, the card table hosted lively rounds of Left Center Right. It felt good to host my parents for a change and to provide the space for celebration.
It’s important to note here that no one said, “we can’t come because your house is too small.” Though we can easily tell ourselves these lies, they do nothing but hold us back from having fun and making important memories. No matter the size of the party space, a good host accommodates their guests and works to ensure that a meaningful time is had by all. My ultimate goal was to achieve comfortable togetherness, a delightful feeling found in homes of all sizes.