Hosting Thanksgiving in a Tiny House

So, you want to host Thanksgiving in your tiny house for your family or friends, but you don’t think that it’s possible in your limited space. Don’t be silly! With some forethought and realistic expectations, you can put on a most memorable affair!

What Do You Have to Cook With?

The first thing you need to do is take stock of your appliances (or lack thereof) to determine your menu. Tiny home kitchens are as unique and varied as the people who live in them. Some are built with full size appliances that include an oven/range combo and full-size fridge. Others have smaller cook-tops with only 2 burners and a half size oven (or no oven) alongside a smaller fridge. Maybe you just have a toaster oven, crock-pot or outdoor grill. And then the super minimalist may have none of the above! It’s also a good idea to consider your cookware. Did you get rid of the big roasting pan when you went tiny? No worries! You can still host Thanksgiving in a tiny house!

Let’s Plan the Menu

So now that you know what you have to work with, it’s time to plan your menu. Choose quality over quantity. Isn’t this the reason you downsized to begin with? You can serve a plentiful meal with one appetizer, one protein source (unless you're vegetarian) two sides, one bread item, one dessert and one festive holiday cocktail or mock tail. Here are some recipe ideas I found that may inspire you:

And in case you didn’t know it, you can always order pre-made meals. So many local grocery stores have really good dishes that you can order ahead and pick up the day before your party. You can order the whole meal or just a few sides. Don’t tell my family, but I have been ordering from Whole Foods for years! Another consideration is to ask your guest to bring a dish.  After all, they are more than likely your close friends and family, so they would be happy to share the work. Be specific. Tell them what you are cooking and give them a choice from a pre-selected menu. Use an app like Evite to coordinate everyone. Also get the details such as will the dish need to be warmed up. And in preparing for any dinner party, good advice to follow, even if you live in a standard home, prepare all that you can ahead of time. It’s no fun slaving all day and being too tired to enjoy what you have created.

Who’s Coming and Where am I Going to Put Them

The next thing to think through is your guest list. I know you want your high school math teacher's second cousin to join you, but do you really have the room? Again, quality over quantity. Your guest list will be determined by the actual size of your space. If possible, host outside if you are in a warm climate.  If it’s not too cold, have a bonfire or borrow outdoor heaters. Have your guest bring a chair and a blanket. These unexpected changes to such a traditional holiday will create an amazing memory for all. If you prefer to stay in, or it’s too cold to move the party outside, consider eating middle eastern style. Most tiny homes can’t accommodate a large dining table so sitting around a low coffee table on cushions would be a cozy way to enjoy your meal together. You can ask your guest to BYOC (bring your own cushion) And don’t worry if everyone isn’t sitting together. It’s a tiny house! You won’t be far apart!

Serving the Food

So now that you have planned your menu and compiled your guest list. Where and how are you going to serve the food? If you can host outside this becomes less of an issue, but if you are staying indoors, you must have a plan. My go to method is buffet style. You don’t have to serve, and everyone can choose what they want on their plate. Since you may not have a ton of counter space consider buying a small folding table that would be easy to store later and use again. You can place this strategically in your kitchen to extend the counter space that you do have. You can also cover your stove with a cutting board or piece of wood to create more serving area.

Since you probably don’t have your grandmother's vintage china service for 12 you may consider using disposable service ware, plates and utensils.  I’m crazy eco-friendly but once a year Mother Nature will forgive you, besides now you can buy attractive biodegradable disposable service ware. Check out this cute Leafware compostable Party Pack.

And what’s a celebration without a little something to sip. If you plan to serve alcohol, go simple there too. I always make a festive cocktail in a large pitcher. It’s easier than mixing drinks all night and certainly saves on the counter space. Here’s some great mixes to consider.

Other Things to Think About

Here are a few other things that you may want to consider so that the day runs smoothly.

  • Decorations always add to the festive feel, and you can still get in on the fun in a tiny house. But instead of a large center piece on a table that you may or may not have, go with wall decorations. Wreaths and banners or just as cute and don’t take up valuable surface space. Check out this Pinterest board with tons of DIY ideas.
  • You want to keep in mind that even in a tiny house, Thanksgiving meals lead to Thanksgiving leftovers. If you know that you will not be able to, or don’t want to find space in your little fridge for them, ask your guest to bring along storage containers to take extras home with them or buy a set of decorative ones to send them home with.
  • With cold weather comes thick coats and scarves. Use your bed to stow away coats and purses.
  • Place your trash can in an accessible area. You don’t want all your surfaces covered with plates and glasses because your guest doesn’t know how to dispose of them. Placing the can out the front door will keep it within reach but not taking up indoor space. (You can always decorate this too if you don’t like the idea of your trash can sitting out in the open)
  • Utilize a cooler to keep extra drinks in during the party and leave it outside. You can even use it to store food pre-party that you purchase in advance to cook. (Only leave it outside overnight if you are not worried about animals finding your stash.)

With a little preparation and enthusiasm, you can host a Thanksgiving to remember. Just keep in mind that this holiday, above all, is about being grateful for what we have and extending that appreciation to those around you. Forget about making everything perfect and focus on the fun!

Published on 11/15/2023. Published in Tiny House Living.

Contact Us