5 Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Outdoors

Those who live in an area of the country with a warmer climate can take their festivities outdoors by hosting Thanksgiving on their patio. If this is something you’ve always considered, but have yet to attempt, you may have some questions about how you can execute this important holiday tradition in a refreshing outdoor setting. Throughout this guide, we’ll provide you with some helpful tips for hosting your Thanksgiving dinner al fresco in your backyard space. 

1. Assess Your Seating Situation

Chances are, you’ll have more guests coming to your Thanksgiving dinner than most other nights. No matter if you’re hosting indoors or outdoors, you should assess the number of guests you’re anticipating, and ensure you have enough seating to accommodate everyone. 

If needed, you can set up an additional table and chairs. You can use the same type of tablecloths and place settings for both tables to create cohesion and not make one table feel like it was an afterthought or any less special. 

2. Consider Serving Buffet-Style

While traditional indoor Thanksgiving meals have food dishes passed around the table, you may want to go for a buffet style with warmers when you’re hosting outside. Of course, you can always keep chilled items like cranberry sauce or salad on the table for less congestion at the buffet station. But, the buffet warmers will help you keep hot dishes as intended. Try to serve all food from dishes with lids to keep them insulated throughout the duration of your meal. 

3. Add Outdoor Heating

There are several outdoor heating solutions you can use to keep your guests cozy and comfortable throughout your outdoor Thanksgiving meal. Even if there’s just a slight chill, these heating solutions can keep you enjoying the fun all evening long. Consider adding a fire pit, heat lamp, or space heaters to do the trick. 

Most importantly, inform your guests that dinner will be held outside so they can dress accordingly. But, these extra heating elements will also help to keep everyone warm. 

4. Serve Warm Beverages

If they’re not already part of your typical Thanksgiving menu, you may want to serve hot drinks when you’re hosting Thanksgiving outdoors. Whether spiked or not, festive beverages like hot apple cider or hot cocoa can be a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday al fresco while staying warm. 

5. Keep it Festive

Just because you hosting Thanksgiving outdoors doesn’t mean you have to skip out on the festive decor. In fact, adding decorations can help you maintain the traditional feel of the holiday, even if you’re switching things up by eating outdoors. 

As we mentioned above, you may want to opt for a festive tablecloth, napkins, and place settings to set the tone for the meal. You can also purchase some gourds, pumpkins, and squash as natural pieces of decor to scatter throughout your outdoor area. Another fun idea is to infuse some ambiance with your lighting selection and candles, depending on what time of day you’re eating.