How To Accommodate Extras Diners at the Holiday Table
With the holidays in full swing, you may have some special parties or events planned that require you to accommodate extra diners at the holiday table. No doubt you won’t use extra chairs throughout the rest of the year, so try being creative with seating options. Here we have compiled some suggestions to help you get through the holidays with less stress – at least when it comes to dining with a larger than normal group.
Best Use For a Bench
Benches are a wonderful way to accommodate extra diners at the holiday table. They don’t even have to be specific to a dining set. If you have a bench in the entry where your family sits to don and doff their shoes, press it into service during the holidays. A bench can replace a couple dining chairs and seat up to three or four people comfortably, doubling capacity.
Have Stackable Chairs at the Ready
Having extra chairs that match your dining set is wonderful – but if you don’t have enough room in your home to store them when not in use, a set of good quality stackable chairs will work just fine. Forgo the cheap, flimsy models you will find at the big box retailers and invest in a set that is made from solid wood. Ensure that the stackable or foldable chairs you purchase are rated for seating guests over 200 pounds, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking at an inopportune moment.
Set up Separate Seating Areas
Back in the day, when the family came to dinner at grandma’s house, she would accommodate extra diners at the holiday table by setting up additional tables and chairs throughout the space. Usually, this meant the adults got to eat at the formal dining table while the kids were relegated to card tables or folding tables. The concept still makes sense today, particularly if your home is strapped for the space necessary to furnish it with a large, expandable dining set.
Put the Food on a Buffet
When you must accommodate extra diners at the holiday table, make sure there is maximum space for each person to comfortably eat. Take the food off the table and instead of serving family style, use a buffet or sideboard for the dishes. You could also make a drink station out of a sideboard or cabinet to keep the traffic flowing around the space instead of centered around the dining table. Another idea is to put the desserts in a different location, keeping in mind a logical flow from one area to the next and keeping lots of space clear around the table so diners can easily move in and out as necessary.
Use Counters and Stools
Finally, if you have a counter or island with barstools of the appropriate height, use it as an adjunct dining area. If your dining set is counter height, as well, all the better since you can scoot additional mix and match stools in with your dining set. As mentioned in this post about shopping for barstools, you can fit more stools in less space if they do not have arms or backs.
We hope you are feeling a bit more comfortable now that you know a few ways to accommodate extra diners at the holiday table.