As seasons change and you start planning holiday parties and gatherings, I hope the plans in your head are nothing short of grand. All the fancy things. Stinky cheeses, shiny decorations, and sweet confections.
I also expect the comfort of your guests is on your mind. And since chances are you have at least one plus-size friend or family member on your invite list, I’ve got some easy-to-follow tips so you can make sure they feel welcome around your table and in your home this winter.
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Plus-Size Friendly Chairs and Seating
We are all about plus-size seating here at AllGo, so we went into a lot of detail here. Our advice is informed by thousands of reviews from plus-size people and hundreds of conversations. But if you have any questions regarding what accommodations your guest may need, ask them. They will appreciate you wanting to make their stay enjoyable.
Tip #1: Generally speaking, when it comes to seating, options are key. If at all possible, have a few different sturdy, armless options for your guests. Here are a few great chair options that if you need to stock up in advance of this year’s festivities.
Tip #2: If all of your chairs are the same, keep some cute pillows nearby. For your plus-size guests (not to mention any short guests you have), throw pillows could be the difference between sprinting for the door or staying for a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity. These seat cushions are also wonderful additions to most hard chairs.
Tip #3: Don’t crowd your table. Allow for at least 30 inches between chairs around your table. If you’re expecting lots of plus-size guests, increase this spacing to 36 inches to ensure people have enough room to enjoy the festivities without bumping into one another all evening.
Tip #4: Make sure there are at least 30 inches between the table and any walls as well. Add at least 15 inches to that if people need to walk between the wall and the table while others are seated.
Tip #5: If space is a premium in your home or you’re planning to pack the house over the holidays, set place cards out for your guests. Let the size of your guests be a factor in how you assign seats. There’s no need to discuss your rationale with your guests, but everyone will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Plus-Size Friendly Sleeping Arrangements
If you’re having a Hollywood holiday where friends and family come into town and stay together under one roof, here are a few things to take care of so your plus-size friends and family members will have an enjoyable time.
Tip #6: Make sure that the bed you are providing is strong, secure, and large enough for your guests to sleep comfortably, with or without their partners as the case may be. If you’re putting your guests up on an air mattress, double-check its weight rating will work for your guests. (If you aren’t sure how much your guests weigh, err on the side of caution and get an air mattress with a higher weight rating.)
Tip #7: If you’re providing towels and robes for your guests, please pay attention to their size. Personally, I love Turkish towels because they’re very large but thin so they dry easily and don’t wreak havoc on washing machines. But here are some good traditional alternatives. And this is a great robe option. (By the way, if you put out robes for your overnight guests, please let me know when I should expect my invitation.)’
Tip #8: If your guest uses a medical device, such as a CPAP, make sure there are accessible, working outlets near their beds and a bedside table on which to set their device. Note: Some people feel shame about using a CPAP, so privacy can be really important. If you’re planning to put some of your guests up in a shared room, make sure that works for them. If it doesn’t, they may need to make other arrangements.
Plus-Size Gift Giving Advice
Nothing is more exciting than giving and receiving gifts during the holidays. When you’re picking out a gift for a plus-size person, keep their size in mind.
Tip #9: If you are giving a gift card, make sure the store it’s from offers lots of options in their size.
Tip #10: If you gift clothing, shoes, or accessories, provide a gift receipt in case an exchange or return is needed. One size rarely fits all.
Tip #11: Unless your plus-size guest is a fitness fiend, don’t gift exercise equipment. Diet books and products are also not advisable gifts.
Talking About Food & Bodies with Plus-Size Guests
Holidays can be times where we get to enjoy lots of delicious food and beverages with our families and friends. Some meals are traditional and much anticipated. Don’t ruin them by making judgemental comments about food choices or habits.
Tip #12: Review these helpful alternatives to phrases that can be hurtful to plus size people.
Tip #13: If you have an oinking pig in your fridge, a scale in the bathroom, or a photo of yourself in a swimsuit displayed in a way that’s meant to “keep you on track”, put it away while your friends are in town. These items can be outright dangerous for people with eating disorders and should be removed for your guest’s safety. Even if you don’t think any of your guests have eating disorders, know that these items often trigger feelings of intense shame for plus-size people.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you create a welcoming space and experience for your plus-size loved ones. Although some details may seem small, they really are important for the happiness of your guests.
I wish you and yours a comfort and joy this holiday season.