Christmas in a Small House?

prairiemoon2 z6 MANovember 25, 2007

So how do all of you handle the holidays and entertaining in a small house? We always make room for a floor to ceiling tree then squeeze ourselves into the LR come Christmas Morning. A wreath on the door and Mantle and DR table decorations and that is about it. How much decorating do you do?

We used to have about 20-24 people for the holidays when the kids were little and set up banquet tables in the LR but we have much smaller gatherings now and manage to fit around the DR table. How many do you have for dinner and do you have any tricks for squeezing everyone in comfortably?


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Well, my house is definitely in the everyone considers it small category,(1350 sqft), and I thinned out the decorations when we moved here. I gave a lot of sentimental things to the children. The grandkids love having these decorative hand-me-downs, and like the stories associated with many of them.

I dumped the trashy stuff. Then over the last couple of years, I have combed the whole collection of holiday decorations pitching or donating anything that just didn't "fit in". So now during the holidays our place is nice and cheerful,and traditional in the sense it doesn't change much. It's truly pretty, I think, if a bit more understated than when I was younger.

We bring in greens for the stairway, and wreaths for the door. A holiday cloth and some candles and flowers for the table. I have a huge nativity set, which gets sort of scattered around the house. The main set is upon the mantle, but the camels and kings are upstairs on a shelf in the hall by the landing, and the shepherds are with flowers on a table by the front door...

We do no entertaining for buisness purposes, but lately what with extended family, the number of guests seems to increase every year, so far we just set up extra tables and chairs and squeeze in. The food is good and we like each other.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 11:36PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Merry...we haven't moved at all in over 20 years in our house, but when our last child started college, we did clean out the decorations too. We have not started giving any to the children yet and we continue to buy one new special ornament a year for our tree. It is pretty full but we lose a few every once in awhile too. We have started using a smaller tree. We live in a cape and the first floor ceilings are less than 8ft, so we always have to shop for a medium size tree. The last few years, we have started buying smaller trees and we all are much happier with that. We also do a wreath on the door and decorate the mantel, a table in the LR near the front door, and something on the DR table. We also hang stockings on the mantel and have Christmas designed kitchen towels and pot holders.

We do not do any holiday decorating outdoors except for the wreath. Our neighbor across the street does enough for the whole neighborhood. [g] I was considering putting up some snowflakes on our front window this year if I can find some. I have fond memories of my mother doing window stencils on our windows with us when we were small.

Our dining room can just about fit 6 people comfortably but we are open to the kitchen and have 4 stools at the counter if we need to make room. When the kids were small we used to have a larger group of extended family here for Thanksgiving and would have to set up 3 folding tables with chairs in the living room in an L shape. It was a big production, believe me. Christmas we would do a lot less because with the tree and gifts there was no room to set up in there. It was always a great time together.

Your home sounds very welcoming and warm, merryann and I hope you have another wonderful holiday! Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 8:25AM
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I live in a small Cape with low ceilings as well (it's an antique reproduction.) I have two small boys at home, and the elder of the two (6 years old) has the decorating bug at every holiday. Too much is never enough as far as he's concerned. Because of our small space, however, I've had to rein him in!

I decorate the mantle, and buy a medium sized tree each year for a small alcove at the end of the livingroom. I have two large, round antique mirrors in the livingroom and I drape the tops of those with holly. I also decorate the center of our dining table.

About this table: we have an open floor plan, so this is the only dining table in the house. I opted to give away my old rectangular table and replace it with a 60" round table that seats up to 8 comfortably. Because the round shape creates better flow/more space around it, I can add a card table to accomodate more people when I need to. We entertain quite a bit, and this has worked well for us.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 9:15AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

crystal...that round table sounds really good! Our DR table is the only 'dining' table in the house too. Not sure I have room for a round table, but I am going to get out the measuring tape. [g] We are actually overdue for a new table.

That is so funny that your son loves the Chrisitmas decorating. I had a neighbor whose husband was the one in the family who is so crazy about Christmas..actually all the holidays and decorates a lot. It is great that he enjoys it so much.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 9:53PM
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A couple of weeks ago I was looking around the living room in the annual quest for a location for the Christmas tree in my small, crowded living room. (If only I didn't have the piano. Why DO I still have the piano? I bought it 30 years ago promising myself I would take lessons, but I never did.) So I put an ad in the paper, sold the spinet a couple of days later for $300, and now I have a great space for the tree.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 2:14PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow, that was certainly a change, roselady. I don't think you are the only one who has done that. I wonder how many people who have a piano in the house actually use it. You really have to have a fairly large house to have a piano. We had a baby grand when I was growing up and I did learn to play, but the next time we moved, we didn't have room for it and had to sell it.

Someone certainly found a nice Christmas present for what sounds like a nice price. :-) And now you have more room in your Living Room. What are you going to do with it when the tree comes down?

We have two positions for our tree. Our living room dimensions are such that our furniture will fit two ways only and we only like one of those configurations. I used to love to move the furniture around a couple of times a year in previous houses. So I miss that. You do get tired of seeing it in the same place all the time. But both positions for the Christmas tree work out well. In one position,it really upsets the seating though, so this year, we are going back to the second position, which actually places it right in the path from the Front Door to the Dining Room. But there is room for it and it leaves the seating arrangement intact. We will have to take a large table that is on that wall and put it in the basement until after the holiday though.

Happy decorating in your new space!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 6:23AM
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Actually, the tree is going in the space the piano occupied. After Christmas, I think I'll try shifting one of the upholstered rockers back a couple of feet, but otherwise leaving that space empty. I'm not very good about "negative space", and tend to rush into filling all available walls and corners. This time I'm planning to practice "less is more". It might make the room seem more spacious.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:30PM
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We designed, and we built, our little house such that it might satisfy our goal of being the "perfect" retirement house, perhaps our last house. One of our requirements was to FINALLY have 10 ft ceilings so that we could have a 9 ft Christmas tree. Of course, we had to have complimentary 8 ft doors and 8 ft windows. I took this photo from the kitchen area, which is to the left, and there's a French door that goes out into the side porch (our BBQ grille location).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 12:31PM
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OOPS, I had forgotten how to insert the photo.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 12:34PM
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