Tips for an Outdoor Christmas Celebration

Words: Katrina Rose Wind

Some of us are lucky, dare I say ‘blessed’, that Christmas falls in the summertime. There’s no snow or bad weather keeping you stuck inside, it’s the perfect time to be outdoors. The sun is shining, and if you’ve got a pool, you can take a dip. An outdoor Christmas is truly a must! We share some tips for hosting the perfect outdoor Christmas celebration.

1. Grill your mains and your veggies

Take advantage of your braai! Don’t just grill the meats, grill the vegetables on it too. It will not only have that delicious charry taste, but will also free up some time to prep the sides or make cocktails for your guests. It also means you get to socialise with your guests while you cook outdoors, instead of fussing over the hot oven inside the house.

2. Light it up!

If you’re having a Christmas dinner, lights are essential! They set a tone and mood for the evening, and an outdoor Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without them. The lights you choose can make any gathering feel more special. Use large candles as centrepieces, lanterns or hang a string of fairy/Christmas lights around or above the table to set the ambience. You can even use fairy lights on the table, depending on how big your table is; have fun decorating and arrange them in a crisscross pattern.

3. Prepare your sides at room temperature, if possible

This is especially helpful if you’re having Christmas lunch instead of dinner. It gets pretty hot in December, so you want to avoid the sides wilting in the sun. Plus, you don’t want your guests thinking you didn’t put enough effort into the sides, they should complement the mains. If you’re stuck on ideas, check out our round-up of delicious sides and salads.

4. Drinks!

Outdoor Christmas

It’s summer, so drinks sitting in the sun will inevitably get hot. Avoid this problem by making sure you have enough ice, ice buckets and coolers, so your drinks will always be chilled. You want to ensure that your guests are kept cool by their drinks, and not be bummed that their Champagne is lukewarm.

5. Take the Tree Outside

You want your outdoor Christmas lunch or dinner to feel special, and just because you’re hosting it outside that doesn’t mean you still can’t bring the Christmas tree. Why leave it inside on the most important day of its life? You can even ask the kiddies to decorate the tree as a fun distraction while the adults mingle.

6. Use the Real Stuff

Christmas is all about ambience, and using special napkins, plates, silverware and linen will make it feel like the special occasion it is. Sure, outdoor seating might have more of a casual feel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the setting beautiful. It might be more of an effort to clean up, but it will be so worth it in the end.

7. Make the Space as Comfortable As Possible

We know that overindulging and Christmas are synonymous with each other. Make sure that there’s ample room for everyone to sit back and relax after the meal. Make a little space in the corner with a bunch of pillows and blankets, take out the hammock or finally get that comfy outdoor lounge you’ve been thinking about. Point is, you want your guests to be comfortable and it’s not as hard as you think it is.

8. Flowers and Foliage

Flowers always add a lovely decorative element to table settings. Buy a bouquet of Proteas, ‘pincussions’, Peonies or your favourite flowers, they will look beautiful strewn amongst the crockery and festive lights or lanterns. Flowers can be rather expensive, and you’re not planning for a wedding, so you could get crafty and make a couple of these DIY Festive Wreaths using any foliage you find in your garden or the neighbour’s. You could even gather pine cones and spraypaint them in white, red, green and metallic silver or gold.

Hosting friends and family can be daunting, especially if you want to make a good impression, but remember to have fun and embrace the festive cheer! Check out our best tips for dealing with Christmas stress.

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