If you live in a climate that allows for dining outdoors in late fall, you can plan an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner that will immerse your guests in the beautiful autumn season. In traditional paintings of the first Thanksgiving, the event is always showcased outdoors amidst the abundant harvest and spectacular autumn foliage. If you’re considering celebrating Thanksgiving outdoors this year, the following tips can help you create a memorable holiday for all.
The Dining Table
Naturally, if you’re eating outdoors, you’ll need a table for your feast. In fact, depending on the amount of company you’ll be inviting, you may need several outdoor tables. If you plan to purchase a new patio table, “contemporary teak” is always a good idea because of its ability to withstand the elements and look great while doing it. A long banquet-style table will certainly come in handy for Thanksgiving, but also other for other seasonal holidays and parties that you host in your backyard.
Keep It Hot
The main problem when it comes to serving food outdoors is keeping it all hot. However, if you plan ahead, you can ensure that you have hotplates for those items that need to be kept warm like your gravy boat or casseroles. Moreover, “when the turkey comes out of the oven it needs time to rest, which is the perfect opportunity for the vegetables to be gently reheated.” (1) You can also use chafing dishes to ensure that your food remains hot throughout the meal. Serve your hot foods in one area of the table so that you can more easily keep your eye on them through dinner.
Plan Your Décor in Advance
The meal, no matter how much planning goes into it, is necessarily going to take up your time on Thanksgiving. For this reason, you should have all your decorations ready to be placed by Thanksgiving. If your tablescape is pre-planned, you won’t have to waste precious cooking time fiddling around with tablecloths and napkins. Choose a centerpiece that is heavy enough so that it won’t be affected by wind.
Ask for Help
Whether you host Thanksgiving indoors or out, you should always ask for help. Many of your guests will be happy to provide any assistance you need. In fact, if you provide the turkey and dressing, don’t hesitate to ask others guests to bring along items like dinner sides, fresh rolls, appetizers, wine, and dessert. If you do plan to do it all, ask a few relatives to help you cook and serve the food.
Have a Back-Up Plan
If the wind kicks up and the clouds begin to threaten with November rain, you need to be prepared to move your meal indoors. Be sure that your dining room table is clear in case you need to switch gears quickly.
Hosting Thanksgiving outdoors is ideal if the weather cooperates. Your guests will have plenty of room to move about while enjoying the beauty of the fall atmosphere. You can also provide some outdoor games and music to complement your setting.