Holiday gatherings with family and friends are some of the most joyous times of the year. You get to surround yourself with love and stuff your face full of delicious food. Not to mention, make memories that can last a lifetime.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast like we are here at Backyard Boss, you’ll want to host every holiday dinner in your backyard. Inclement weather doesn’t always allow that to happen. However, Thanksgiving and being outdoors are two of my favorite things, so I’m excited to share with you how I’m planning an outdoor dinner for my family and friends this holiday.
Food and Drinks
The main concern with setting up food to be served outdoors, especially this time of year, is keeping it warm. Luckily, Sterno buffet kits are very affordable and can keep your food warm for up to two hours. You can cook your mashed potatoes, carrots, stuffing, corn, green beans, and gravy in the kitchen. Then transfer to the aluminum food trays and set up a serving table on the patio.
Pro tip: The aluminum food trays make storing leftover food a breeze as you can store it in the fridge as is.
Another option is having the food catered. A local steakhouse will likely have all the fixings you need to serve up a traditional Thanksgiving holiday dinner.
When it comes to the main course, our turkey fryer was my favorite Thanksgiving investment. If you’ve ever had turkey cooked in a turkey fryer, you surely won’t be able to go back to a roast turkey. With a crispy outside and more flavorful and moist meat, your guests will be looking to celebrate Thanksgiving at your house every year!
A dessert and drink station are also a must! We usually ask a few people on our guest list to bring a pie or cookies that everyone can enjoy. And, lastly, a fall sangria and an insulated container of hot cocoa will keep everyone happy!
Setting Up the Patio
The end of November is particularly chilly, depending on where you live. Setting up your space with things to keep your guests warm is essential. Having a backyard tent or pergola is a great way to keep the chill away, but patio heaters, fire pits, and blankets are the way to go!
Also, this time of year, it starts to get dark early, so be sure to spruce up your outdoor space with ambient lighting. String lights and candles not only will light up your outdoor gatherings but also create a cozy vibe.
Let’s not forget the decorations! Add some festive touches with pumpkins, gourds, mums, scarecrows, and other fall flowers. It certainly makes your patio more inviting.
Setting the Table
Believe it or not, there is some disposable dinnerware that is super fancy! To make clean-up easy and to avoid any accidental breaks from transporting dishes from inside to out, we use disposable options.
We typically choose gold-trimmed plastic plates with gold plastic silverware for a very elegant look. An ivory table cloth with a burlap-like table runner, gold cloth napkins fastened in a leaf napkin holder, flameless candles, and fall floral arrangements are a great choice. And, there you have it, a beautiful, modern table setting!
There are even disposable coffee mugs and wine glasses! While some may not feel purchasing all these disposable items is worth the cost. It does cut down on the amount of water you’d use to wash all the dishes and prevents accidents.
We all know how tired we get after a turkey dinner. While some of your family and friends will opt to sit around the warm fire pit in a cozy, cushioned chair and blanket, some will want entertainment. An outdoor craft table is a big hit with kids, while croquet or cornhole is ideal for adults.
Some other fun group activities include painting or carving pumpkins, then baking the seeds for a tasty treat, candy corn bowling (yes, you can find bowling pins shaped like candy corn!), and bobbing for apples.
Don’t let the colder weather stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Many of you have outdoor living spaces that you enjoy in the warmer months. However, with just a few tweaks, you can also appreciate it well into the fall.
Set up and clean up doesn’t have to be hard as you can utilize disposable dinnerwear, cutlery, and cups. Just be sure to add some lighting and accessories to keep people warm. However, if you live in an area that can experience all four seasons in one day, be sure to have a backup plan!