Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Craft | 0 comments

On Christmas Eve, we hosted an open-house style holiday buffet. While that may not seem to fit in with our theme of simplicity, it was actually a great way to see both sides of the family at once and then spend a quiet, unstructured no-freeway-driving Christmas Day.

We don’t have a ton of space, so making sure we had room for everyone required creative thinking and looking at our place from a different perspective.

Fort under desk for guests' kids

There will be another post about how we made the buffet work. Today I just wanted to share the idea we came up with to give our littlest guests a space of their own during the party. We called it the Christmas Fort.

Fort under desk for guests' kids

To make it happen, I cleared out everything under my desk (been needing to do that anyway), which is in the living room. I removed the power strip and covered the outlets on the wall behind it, put a blanket on the floor and threw in pillows to make it comfy cozy, and then added toys and books that were safe for the under 3 crowd. (Thanks to my mom for sorting our toy box, while I did some last-minute cleaning.) The final touch was a tablecloth over the top, both to increase the fort feel and because the desk doubled as a snack station.

Holiday buffet idea: Use the top of a desk for extra serving space and put a fort underneath for guests' kids to play in.

You could do something similar with any very sturdy desk or table. Or you could create a kid nook in a little corner where there’s not stuff they could easily injure themselves with or damage. (I know. Kids are creative too – they’re great at inventing ways to get hurt and/or destroy things. Just try to make their space reasonably safe.)

In fact, I’d originally planned to move an end table and create a kid nook between our couch and some bookshelves, covering the shelves with either some festive fabric or drawing paper. Then I realized we’d have to lose that nook to make room for the Christmas tree, so I went looking for an alternative and decided to put the unused under-desk space to work.

christmas-fort-2

Overall, the reactions to the Fort were pretty good. My 2-year-old nephews were in and out. My little cousin said it was an “awesome place” and was so excited about it she made her mom get in too. (I’m sorry I missed that!) Some friends we hadn’t seen in awhile stopped by later in the evening, and their kids basically had their own party in there, giving us adults a chance to catch up.

At the end of  the day, after everyone had gone home, we had to try it out ourselves.

christmas-fort-3-2-2

It was a nice place to be.

***

 

P.S. When I was looking for under-desk fort inspiration, I came across this more long-term solution, using the same Expedit bookshelf/desk combo I have. If you’re interested, you’ll find it on Ikea hackers.