Top 4 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Thanksgiving Outdoor Dinner Party, by Sarah Rhodes

By Sarah Rhodes November 12, 2017
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Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Guest blogger Sarah Rhodes shares how you can bring friends and family together alfresco with a few simple touches and one gorgeous lawn.

<p>Thanksgiving alfresco</p>

Hi, I’m Sarah Rhodes.

My husband and I love entertaining, which is why I’m so excited that TruGreen and I have joined forces to share with you our Thanksgiving al fresco dinner party that we put together this year.

We decided to celebrate a little early with friends, as so many of our friends travel to visit family around the holidays. Some of you might be used to a snowy wonderland around Thanksgiving (brr!) so this might not be a great idea for your Thanksgiving. Check out the weather forecast to see if you’re lucky enough for a mild Thanksgiving. If you’re not, keep this idea in your pocket for your springtime or Fourth of July celebrations, and live vicariously through us as we live life outside. :)  

This was my first year preparing a Thanksgiving alfresco celebration, but I am sure it won’t be my last! It was so fun to plan something outside of tradition and even more fun to celebrate outside where the kids could run around and get all that energy out. (Seriously, how kids can still have so much energy even after eating a big turkey dinner is beyond me!) If you’re planning to try giving thanks outdoors this year, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

1. Don’t forget about your lawn.

You don’t just have to prepare the food and the table setting — be sure to consider your lawn, too! For those of you who overseed a winter grass lawn, it’s a good idea to stop watering it about two days prior to your dinner, so the ground underfoot isn’t too damp for blankets and you don’t run the risk of trampling the new grass into the mud. Although we live in Phoenix and rarely see lovely fall color, I was so excited that the lawn was graced with a few yellow leaves before our dinner. If your lawn is totally covered in leaves, I still say you can use that to your advantage by having the kids rake the leaves into piles and jumping into them while you’re getting set up. Do kids still do that? I hope so — there’s nothing like the smell of autumn leaves in a fluffy pile!

2. Create low-budget table decor.

Your table decor doesn’t have to cost more than your dinner! You may have the budget for some killer table garlands, but if not, then try what we did: Grab a bunch of greenery sprigs from your local grocery store and lay them down the center of the table. Eucalyptus is especially great as it doesn’t wilt — even if it has gone a couple of days without water! Throw some color on your table with berries in vases, some colorful napkins or a table runner, or keep it neutral if you like; both styles can look festive and inviting. And believe it or not, our silverware is plastic! I love how realistic some of those disposable silverware sets are looking these days, don’t you?  

3. Keep the kiddos entertained.

Expecting kids at your Thanksgiving dinner? Plan a few activities to keep them occupied as you get some solid grown-up conversation in! We bought extra greenery and flowers and set up a station for the kids to make their own autumn flower crowns. Depending on the ages of the children, you might need a willing adult to help get them started, but this turned out so fun for all the kids at our celebration. To be honest, this is probably not a bad idea for adults, too. Hah! I’m in my thirties and still get excited about making a flower crown. We used floral wire to make the crown and twine to secure the branches to the wire. Floral tape would work as well!

4. Prepare for sunset temperatures.

Even if it feels nice outside while the sun is out, remember your celebration could stretch into the evening when the temperatures begin to drop. Be sure to have a bunch of blankets on hand for guests who might get chilly or suggest that each guest brings their own. Plus, it’s SO cozy to be snuggled up in a blanket outside by candlelight while you all finish off that pie! I think next year, I might add some hot cider or hot cocoa to the dessert menu as well. What could be more festive than a blanket, a mug, and a piece of pie?

I’m so glad we had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving this year in an unconventional way, and I’m looking forward to a lot more Thanksgivings outside in the future! Maybe next year we’ll do an outdoor movie afterward (a Christmas movie for sure! I’m thinking Miracle on 34th Street - the old version! I love that the movie starts off on Thanksgiving Day), add a fire pit to the mix or plan more lawn games for earlier in the day. We could even end the day with sparklers and sharing what each of us is thankful for! If you can be outside, why not be? Thanks for joining us in our Thanksgiving alfresco celebration! 


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