8 Tips to Host the Best Thanksgiving Ever—Outside
Plan a rustic, festive feast in the comfort of your own backyard.
Published Nov 7, 2016 6:00 AM
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With October behind us, it’s time to look forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays. This year, do something a bit unexpected—take your feast outside. It’s totally doable for those who live in warmer climates. And even on the East Coast, it’s sometimes unseasonably warm in November. With these tips and a bit of prep time, you can style a rustic outdoor supper your friends and family won’t soon forget. Plus, an outdoor Thanksgiving is more festive (and chic) than being cooped up inside with football on the television.
Create a Walkway
Lead your guests to the dinner table with a pumpkin-lined path. It gives the space a special seasonal touch that makes friends and family forget that they’re dining in, well, your backyard.
Go Natural with Place Settings
Create minimal, natural place settings using linen napkins and scavenged berries and branches. Simply tie your foliage and other finds to the napkins with a piece of string.
Style with Pillows and Blankets
If things get chilly when the sun goes down, make sure you’re prepared. Rich-hued pillows and wool tartan throws keep things casual, cozy, and, above all, autumnal.
Have Proper Coverings for Your Food
Serve your Thanksgiving spread on a separate table so you’ll have room for a centerpiece. Another must for outdoor entertaining: mesh food coverings. Nothing ruins ambiance quite like pets or outdoor pests trying a taste of the pecan pie.
Create a Weather-Appropriate Centerpiece
Your centerpiece should be styled with items that won’t blow away in the breeze. The obvious choice is pumpkins, which can hold other accessories like leaves and branches in place. Or try to create a chic planter with late-fall produce like lettuce or cabbage plants.
Lighting is Key
This time of year, it turns dark fairly early. String bistro lights or lanterns from surrounding trees to illuminate your dinner table and create an intimate setting.
Warm it Up
Prepare for cooler temperatures as the night wears on with firepits placed around the table. Marshmallow roasting is the perfect post-dinner activity.
And speaking of activities, provide yard games for your guests to play during pre-dinner cocktails or to work off that second helping of dessert. Corn hole, washers, and horseshoes are always a hit. Better yet, if your family has a yard game tradition, organize a game to conclude your outdoor gathering.