Your Thanksgiving plans might look a little different this year. With COVID cases surging, the CDC has advised that large Thanksgiving gatherings be cancelled, and that people opt for intimate gatherings with no more than one or two different households. Even with smaller numbers, the risk of COVID is still present. To help mitigate additional risk, we recommend switching things up even more by hosting your Thanksgiving celebration outside! Below, we’ve rounded up some tips that’ll help you pull off a safe and successful, al fresco Thanksgiving celebration.
If you don’t have a large outdoor table, it’s a good idea to set up a few smaller tables. Opt for lightweight folding tables for the sake of ease. Arrange the tables in a square or circle to encourage the feeling that you're all at one table BIG table. If you don't have access to folding chairs, simply bring some of your indoor chairs, outside. Make sure you keep the surface your tables will sit on in mind. If you are putting the tables out in the yard, make sure the ground is level to prevent any table spills and mishaps. If you have a patio, deck or even a large driveway, we reccomend setting you're celebration up there as you know the ground is both level and sturdy- it might also be easier if you have any elderly guests attending.
Keep the Food & Beverages Warm
If you live somewhere that is likely to have a chillier Turkey Day, make sure you plan ahead to keep the food warm. You'd be surprised how quickly food can turn cold when taken outside...besides no one wants to eat cold stuffing or gravy! If you have a serving table, utilize serving trays with lids, or even better try to find buffet trays that you can keep warm with small sterno flames. If you're in a cooler climate and your guests are drinking warm beverages, make sure you bust out your insulated cups or even your travel mugs to keep drinks piping hot.
Set the Mood
If you’re celebrating at night, you’ll want to make sure the tables are well-lit so your guests can actually see. Battery operated lanterns and candles are both safe and eye-catching. If you're fortunate enough to have a fire pit, make sure it is lit and the flames are blazing (this can also serve as a pre or post-dinner warming area!).
Keep Your Guests Warm
No one likes eating or celebrating if they can't feel their fingers and toes! Pull out your washable blankets and make sure there's enough warmth to go around. If you have a few electric blankets hand this works too—but be extremely careful of spills! One or two heat lamps are also a great investment as you'll likely use them more than once.
Consider the weather
Unless you are having Thanksgiving on a covered porch or have an indoor backup plan, it’s a good idea to be prepared just incase unexpected, inclement weather strikes. Lightweight pop up tents are a smart way to protect against rain and even snow!
Rethink Your Menu—Or At Least How You Cook
The point of hosting an outdoor celebration is to keep everyone safely distanced, and reduce the amount of people within your home. Rather than everyone gathered in the kitchen cooking, or waiting for dinner to be ready, try moving as much cooking as you can outside. Consider grilling your turkey and vegetables. Set up a cooking table and bust out your extension cord, utilize your crock pots, instant pots and air fryers. Get creative with how you can cook the majority of your thanksgiving feast outside and rethink some of your food, maybe instead of baking a pie for dessert you have s'mores over the fire!