Celebrate Thanksgiving Outdoors

by Garden Winds

When we think of Thanksgiving dinner, we think of a warm and cozy dining room with the fireplace on in the next room and the aroma of stuffing, turkey and mashed potatoes wafting through the air. The family is gathered around the table, ready to partake in the delicious food that’s before them. This has always been the tradition, celebrating indoors. But what about if Thanksgiving is celebrated outdoors? Of course, if where you live has snow and freezing temperatures, then no. But for those that live in milder and moderate climates, why not change it up and celebrate outside in the backyard?

If you’re considering eating turkey outside this year, here are a few tips and suggestions to make Thanksgiving 2018 a memorable one.

Clean Patio Tables and Chairs

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If you have not done any fall outdoor cleaning yet, then get to it! If the patio cushions are stored away, go ahead and bring them out. For regular chairs, do a quick cleaning by hosing them down or a cleaning spray and wipe down. Do the same for the patio table. Hose down the deck as well and sweep up any fallen leaves and natural debris. If you have an awning or a gazebo where the dinner will take place, make sure that the canopy on the gazebo is free from and dirt and leaves. You can do a quick rinse as well by hosing it down, just make sure the table and chairs are not underneath as you’re hosing it down, as the canopies are not waterproof and the water can leak through.

Serve Food in Warmers

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Depending on how many guests are attending the feast, consider keeping the food warm. No one wants to eat cold turkey and stuffing. Chafing dishes are recommended. You can plug these chafing dishes to an outdoor electric outlet or there are ones where you can use chafing fuel; just light up the ethanol fuel. This will keep the food warm for the duration of the dinner.

If it’s just a small group of people getting together, say 4 or 5, for an intimate gathering, there is no need to take the food outside and no need to mess with the food warmers. Set the food inside the kitchen or dining area inside and have folks grab their plates, pile on their favorite dishes and go back outside.

Provide an Assortment of Activities

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While dinner is being prepared, or even after everyone has gotten their fill of turkey and dressing, provide an assortment of games and activities for adults and kids to participate in. Print out coloring pages that have fall and thanksgiving theme for the kids to color. Provide easy to do crafts as well that they can take home after. Have kids race in potato sacks to get some physical activity going.

For the adults, a game of bocce ball or corn hole is a great way to get the muscles moving after dinner. Playing a variety of board games are also another way to keep the entire party engaged. Games such as Taboo and Pictionary are fun for all ages to participate in.

Have a Backup Plan

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Weather will be unpredictable this time of year – it’s going to get colder before it gets warmer, so if there is a change in weather, be sure to have tables and chairs ready to set up inside. If it’s not raining, just bring the table, chairs and décor indoors. Make sure that you have set some space inside the house to set up. Having a backup plan in case of bad weather makes Thanksgiving a little less stressful, with one less thing to think about.

Thanksgiving outdoors is just another way to create new memories while staying true to the annual holiday and its traditions. There’s no wrong or right way to celebrate, as long as the family and friends you love and care about are seated around the dinner table. If you have memories and traditions you’d like to share, we’d love to hear them.

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