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Here's How You Can Host Noche Buena In A Small Space

Get a little help from designers and solve your small space problems with these creative solutions

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Photography: Dairy Darilag (Main Photos)

Saan tayo magno-Noche Buena?

Christmas is only a couple of weeks away, and if this detail hasn’t been settled among your family, remind yourself to tick it off your list real soon. Celebrating Christmas as a family is a longtime tradition we grew up with, and we want younger generations to grow up with it, too. But with living spaces becoming smaller, finding one that can accommodate a big family (or even a large group of friends) has become more challenging than ever.

We turned to designers and creatives for help in coming up with solutions to the most common problems encountered by those hosting Noche Buena in small spaces. Find your way out of tight spots with these tips:

Problem: No formal dining area


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Solve it: Use a kitchen table or prep area as buffet table

Design consultant Grace Moslares says that in her home, their mom’s home-cooked specialties like pancit sotanghon, spaghetti, and barbeque would be served at a round table in their kitchen. “Every guest can just get food and slouch anywhere they want—in the garden, living area, or even the bedroom! They are welcome to use all areas of my home,” adds Grace.

Problem: No single table that can seat all the guests


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Solve it: Create small nooks

In Grace’s home, a small patio in front is everyone’s favorite spot to have long chats over cold beer. “I place Christmas décor and fuchsia bead lights to create a Christmas vibe,” Grace adds. In addition, there is also an area with a daybed where guests can gather. Pillows and futons make these nooks homey.

Problem: Not enough matching chairs


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Solve it: Go eclectic with a mix of stools, chairs, and a bench

No need to make excuses for mismatched chairs—they’re very much on trend. Kat Erro, founder and designer of KATRE, a line of handcrafted leather items, does this trick so “more guests can squeeze in at the table.”

Problem: Limited buffet area


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Solve it: Use fruits as centerpiece; have a separate table for drinks

The difficulty of finding enough space to place food and drinks is always a party host’s dilemma. Kat suggests you keep the menu to a minimum: three to four main courses, a rice bowl, and one or two dessert items. Incorporate fruits into the tablescape, and set up a small folding table to hold drinks.

Problem: No more room to cook


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Solve it: Order from a trusted caterer

So you’ve set up the buffet and dining areas, and created small nooks—now where do you do the cooking? Kat suggests, “Order in advance from a reliable caterer or your favorite restaurant.” If you can, pay ahead of time, too. Opt for a supplier who delivers the food to your doorstep so you can spend more time prepping your home and not getting stuck in traffic.

Problem: "Kulob" smell


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Solve it: Use diffusers

Go for essential oils that add to the festive holiday feel of your home: pine, cinnamon, or peppermint. Kat says these overpower the odor of a lived-in home, and make guests feel the Christmas spirit the moment they step inside.

Problem: No room for decor


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Solve it: Decorate the ceiling and walls

Interior designer Nikki Audine says you should make use of every available space to give off that cheerful holiday vibe. Put on some wall décor (wreaths, garlands, etc.), use a Christmas-themed tablecloth, and light some candles. Kat adds that you can also decorate the ceiling. Try hanging décor with an almost-invisible nylon string.

Problem: Limited indoor space


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Solve it: Bring the revelry outdoors

Bel Alvarez, food stylist, ACME Visual Productions, says that if you have a yard or a garage, by all means, use it. You can use the indoor space for food and presents, and set up chairs and tables outside. Use long and narrow tables instead of square or round ones in order to maximize space.

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