The holidays are on their way. With the strange time warp we’ve experienced because of Covid-19, I’ve noticed the calendar messing with me a bit. But it really is mid-October, Halloween is here, and that means Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

For me and my family, these are biggies. They are the holidays with the most traditions, the most gathering, and the most anticipation. Casting aside what this year might look like because of the pandemic, I thought we could talk about how we do holidays in a small house.

Let me just start by saying – No one is Martha Stewart here. Or at least the Martha in the magazine or online. Not one of us is going to have everything perfectly organized, planned, or executed, with everyone dressed in hundreds of dollars, coordinated outfits and ready for photos. Those are photos we are looking at, not life. There is a unique kind of expectation surrounding the holidays to make them magical, and while I agree that this time of year has lots opportunities for specialness, it’s kind of important for us to be careful not to set ourselves up for disappointment by comparing our version of the holidays with someone else’s.

With that in mind, here are a few small house suggestions, take them or leave them.

  • Choose to love it. We live in a small house. We love it for so many reasons. I will admit, it would be terrific to have more space the few times of year when we have a houseful. It would be easy to slip into complaining and comparison, hating on what we already love. But we really do have a choice to love our situation or not. This is a biggie.
  • Accept the limitations. Yep, this is what we are working with. Every home has limitations of some kind. But I have found that limits allow for creativity and creativity can lead to more memorable experiences. We are not going for perfection – it doesn’t exist and chasing it and falling short might keep us from enjoying what we have.
  • People are there because of us, not the house. Many of us want to clean, decorate, have all the best out for our guests, including me. We want them to feel welcome and at home. We all want to put our best selves forward. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But it’s super important to remember that our loved ones are not there for the house – They come for us. We are it, baby. A stressed, complaining, apologetic us is kind of a downer.
  • Plan ahead. Okay, let’s be practical here. No matter the size of our houses, if we are gathering, we need to plan. Plan the cleaning, the purchasing, the seating, the eating, the sleeping, the showering, and the particulars for guests. Plan and prepare, follow through on what’s reasonable, let go of the things that make us crazy (how many times I’ve tried to do the super cute name cards at the table and just don’t get to them!). 
  • Enlist others. My family will tell you I’m a champ at delegating. It happened one year when I went to the ER the day before Thanksgiving several years ago. Fortunately it was nothing to worry about, but my family all pitched in to help with all the things I normally took on by myself. It was the best! It was part of the fun to work together and we created a new tradition. Now I invite my people to pitch in with what they like to do, or at least willing to do. 
  • Embrace the coziness. When all is said and done, things are cozy in a small house. Some may say cramped. I don’t. Yep, it may be snug, we may all have to scoot our chairs in to get around in the kitchen, we may have to take showers by a schedule, and a few of us may have to sit on the floor in the living room to play games. But I love being with my people. It’s that warmth and love that I’m after. In a small house, that feels cozy.

No one cares how big the foyer was or how cramped it was around the table. If they do, maybe they shouldn’t be invited back. What is wonderful and memorable and magical is how much you laughed together and snuggled in, surrounded by loved ones. And how satisfied and grateful we are with what we have to offer, big or small.

All the things that make the holidays special can happen anywhere in any size home. It might even happen in Martha Stewart’s home.

What do you think? Are small house holiday tips helpful to you in your circumstance? Let me know!

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