Over the years, my husband and I have done a lot of entertaining over the years and have accumulated things like portable banquet tables and card tables. These come in very handy over the Christmas and Thanksgiving season when unexpected guests show up for a Holiday dinner and suddenly we are having to seat twenty people instead of the twelve we were expecting.
However, not everyone has an emergency banquet table stashed in the closet for those unexpected Holiday guests. Before we bought our tables, these are some of the ways we handled table seating for extra guests.
Assess all the tables you own and see what can be put in use for a Holiday meal
Most living rooms are large enough to turn into an over sized dining room if needed, which is a great way to seat large crowds of Thanksgiving or Christmas guests. We used to pull both our dining room and kitchen tables into our living room, and then scrounge around the house for other tables that could be used to seat people. Sewing tables, plastic patio tables, card tables, and even the kid’s hobby tables all worked for extra seating. To create a sense of unity, the tables you’ve collected for this extra Holiday seating should be covered in identical paper or vinyl tablecloths (red works quite well), and decorated with a poinsettia and an arrangement of white candles for the centerpiece.
Check out this picture of the White House State Dining Room. As you can see, intimate seating is how our Presidents entertain as well.
Sheet of plywood and saw horses
Got a 4″ x 8″ sheet of plywood sitting in the garage? Placed on a couple of saw horses, plywood sheets are a fantastic way of seating at least ten unexpected Holiday dinner guests. Once the table is covered with a cloth, no one can tell they are eating on plywood. To camouflage the saw horses, I would move them as close to the middle as possible (with out compromising the balance of the plywood!) and then drape them with some Christmas fabric.
Doors work too
Laugh if you will, but doors also work quite well for an emergency Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner table if you need one. We would pop a bedroom door off the hinge, remove the door knob, and then place the door on a couple of sawhorses to create a table for eight. If you don’t have sawhorses, stacked milk crates, a small desk, or cinder blocks will also work. Again, covering both the door and the sawhorses (or blocks) with Christmas Holiday fabric will completely hide what’s really under that holiday table, and leave your unexpected guests guessing at how you managed to pull off all that extra seating on such short notice.