There are only 2 things that stand in my way.
One is my children. Now, that sounds terrible. But, here's the truth of the matter. We are in a season of life where the kinds of soirees I imagine in my head are time intensive in regard to preparation. And, if there's one thing I lack while having very small children, it's a lot of extra time. The few occassions where I've tried to implement my ideas in a backyard barbeque or family get together I end up getting completely stressed out and I can't truly enjoy myself.
The second thing that stands in my way is space...or lack of space. I was reminded again at Charlie's birthday party on Monday night exactly how small our house is. This isn't about being discontent (although that's definitely an issue I've struggled with). This is about mathematics. How many people can comfortably fit into x amount of square footage?
Usually if we have a group of people to our house we try to do it over the warmer months when we can all spill out to the back yard. But, in this instance, Charlie has a birthday during the colder months. Outside is not an option.
We don't go crazy with birthdays. For one we really can't. Usually it's a family affair with possibly a friend or two. On Monday night it was my husband and I plus our boys (6 people), plus my parents, John's parents, my grandmother, one of my sisters, John's sister and a friend of hers & her friend's son (9 people). That's a total of 15 people. And, boy was it a tight fit.
picture found here
Our downstairs space is really limited to our kitchen/dining room area and a super tiny living room. We also have our computer room which isn't really set up for entertaining & our sunroom (ahem - junkroom) area....which is also unheated.
It's taken me some time to accept my house for what it is - a tiny fixer upper....and also our first home, the place where we are raising our small boys (John refers to it as our brooding house - a place for us while they are young). But, when we try to have family over and we are all tripping over each other, that's when I really wish we had more space to spread out.
Here are a few things I've learned over the years about entertaining in small spaces....
1. Know what you can and what you can't do. I can't have 20 or 30 people over to my house. Even 5-10 is a stretch. But, inviting a friend or two over here and there can still help fulfill my desire to hostess.
2. Utilize the space you have to the fullest. Make sure there is seating in the areas where people are able to congregate. This bench that I painted over the summer is along one of the walls in the dining area. It adds seating for 2 more people. I try (but don't always succeed) to clear out as much clutter or unecessary stuff from the areas that we'll be. Less stuff makes it feel bigger.
3. Take a deep breath and remember that it's about being together with loved ones. I can get really uptight if I feel like people might not be completely comfortable. Or, I can relax which will actually do a lot to help others feel more at ease...even if they are smushed.
Do you have any tips for entertaining in limited space?