Are you a senior who's recently downsized, but who still wants your family to come (to your new) home for the holidays?
The holidays are a sentimental time. For some seniors who have downsized out of their longtime homes, uncertain emotions generated by the change can feel especially difficult to process. But bear in mind, you downsized for a reason.
An important key to making your holiday party a success is making sure that your guests have enough room to move about and mingle comfortably.
Just as you concluded, downsizing to a smaller, less maintenance-intensive and less expensive place is a smart decision for many seniors who want to stretch their retirement dollars and improve their quality of life.
But conflicted emotions aside, downsizing still leaves the dilemma of holiday entertaining in a smaller space. Today, we’ll help you navigate that.
Here are four tips for making your family gathering warm, fun and just a little bit cozier this year:
1. Rearrange to open up some space
An important key to making your holiday party a success is making sure that your guests have enough room to move about and mingle comfortably. If passageways are clogged with knick-knacks or food tables, or rooms are cluttered with tight-fitting furniture, your guests are going to be tripping over themselves.
Reposition chairs, coffee tables and end tables to sit along walls, instead of leaving them in the middle of the room. You could also try moving non-party-essential items into your bedroom or another room that won’t be in use while you entertain.
2. Remploy furniture and objects in creative ways
As HGTV blogger Katie Meyers noted, just because an item is intended for one purpose doesn’t mean it can’t be used for another.
A coffee table can become a buffet table with the simple addition of a tablecloth. An ironing board can become an extra counter. A durable cooler chest can become an improvised bench seat for the kiddie table.
Move the free-standing lamp into a closet; a shelf can be cleared off and used to position candles for extra mood lighting.
With some creative rearrangements and repurposing, you can make a space-savvy, comfortable environment for your guests.
3. Open a window
In the middle of December?!?, you shout? Yep. Smack-dab in the midst of winter.
Why? Remember that humans and pets radiate body heat. Pack a lot of relatives or friends into a small space, add heat from candles or a fireplace, from an oven baking, from a range frying, and suddenly your smaller residence has turned into quite the sauna.
Try turning off the oven at least an hour before your guests arrive and crank the furnace down 5 or 10 degrees. Or, crack a window or two and turn on your ceiling fans.
Believe us, your guests won’t notice the heat is off. Just remember to turn it back on after they leave; don’t want those pipes to freeze overnight!
4. Be smart about the menu
If you serve messy foods, foods that require knives to cut, or multi-course meals that need a lot of dish space, you’re going to spend your whole party cleaning up spills and wrangling the china.
Try serving a finger-food buffet. All you need then are paper plates and napkins. Less mess, less dishwashing on the back end.
Or, instead of serving a variety of finger foods and sides, serve large, family-style items. Casseroles, lasagnas, mac ‘n’ cheese bakes and giant Caesar salads are easy-to-serve, tried-and-true crowd pleasers.
At dessert time, a bowlful of cookies, or a large cobbler or cake, can satisfy nearly everyone — especially if you keep some ice cream in reserve, just in case.
A smaller space doesn’t have to mean less holiday fun.
If you’re a senior living in Cincinnati who has downsized into a smaller home, townhome, or retirement community apartment, use the tips above to maximize your holiday guests’ comfort, while maintaining your new, minimalist lifestyle!