4 tips for hosting Thanksgiving outdoors


Thanksgiving is one of the most often overlooked holidays as people tend to skip from Halloween straight to Christmas prep. However, you can change things up this year by hosting Thanksgiving dinner outdoors, for a fun and unusual holiday experience. You might even start a new tradition among your family and friends!

However, in order to pull of the perfect outdoor Thanksgiving you will need to plan and prepare ahead of time. The following 5 tips can help you prepare a holiday to truly be thankful for.

1. Prepare for the Weather

Even if you live in an area where an outdoor Thanksgiving is a possibility, don’t underestimate the autumn weather. November is a month that is notorious for its colder temperatures as well as windy and rainy weather. It’s much easier to make your outdoor area a suitable spot for fall entertaining if you have a covered patio. A covered patio in combination with an inexpensive and simple set of patio curtains will help make the area much easier to heat as well as block out wind and light rain.

If you don’t have a patio cover, you can still protect your party by renting or purchasing a canopy. However, keep in mind that portable canopies may not hold up extremely well in more severe bad weather and they’re less sturdy, especially in windy conditions. Luckily, there are canopies that come with heavier posts that will be able to better withstand the harsher November winds and they’re usually also equipped with patio curtains which will help protect the area and make it easier to turn your patio into a somewhat enclosed entertaining area.

Another important thing to consider is your heating. Consider buying or renting patio heaters for the evening. Patio heaters are essential to keeping your guests warm and cozy throughout the meal even if you already have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit as they won’t be able to maintain an appropriate temperature by themselves for an extended period of time.

2. Create a Back-Up Plan

While preparing for the cool weather is important, it’s perhaps even more important to prepare a back-up plan just in case the weather becomes too much for your accommodations to handle.

In the case of a drastic drop in temperature or heavy rain, your meal will need to be moved inside quickly. If you don’t want to disrupt the festivities too badly, you will need to figure out a plan beforehand that will allow you to transition the gathering indoors in an efficient and organized manner.

One of the first things you need to include in your back-up plan is the preparation of an indoor space that is large enough to accommodate your entire party. Make sure you have cleared and prepared a table and seating to fit all of your guests as well enough space to place the food, table settings and decorations. Let a few of your guests know about the plan beforehand so that they will know how to help out should a transition to the indoors become a necessity.

3. Start Earlier

Holiday meals are often times started much earlier than typical dinners so it’s a good idea to make use of this and start your Thanksgiving gathering earlier in the day. Starting the dinner around 2 or 3 will make sure that you make the most use out of the daylight and higher temperatures. 

4. Prepare the Area

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving outdoors, you want to make sure that your patio and other outdoor areas look clean and orderly. Set aside some time to refresh any gravel or mulch, rake your yard, and clear out any dead flowers, plants and vines. You should also give your fire pit or fireplace a good clean and perform a safety check especially if you plan to use them during the gathering.

Check whether any outdoor lights need to be replaced in addition to figuring out additional lighting for the party, such as flameless candles or string lights. For a cozier and more comfortable feel, consider adding a rug to your patio and make sure that you clear some things out of the way so that your entire party will be able to comfortably fit.

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