Wednesday December 28, 2016
A warm and friendly outdoor event is just the thing to ring in a happy and healthy new year.
There’s still time to welcome the New Year with style. An outdoor winter party will bring family and friends together, and spending time outside on the patio is always a good idea. Here are a few considerations to help you whip up a seasonal celebration that everyone will love.
Sitting outside in freezing temperatures can actually be fun if you have a nice, roaring fire to cozy up to. Arrange chairs around the fire pit and make sure you have enough supplies to keep it going strongly for the length of your event. Many new options for tabletop heating are on the market, too. Side note: There is such a thing as “USDA approved firewood” to use for roasting marshmallows or other foods. Never use fire-starter logs for roasting, as the chemicals used can get infused in the food and induce sickness.
Outdoor kerosene heaters are an alternative to fire pits. Search for party supply rentals in your area. Use screens for any flames, for safety. Stack blankets in a large basket for guests to grab and cuddle up under.
Foods and drinks get cold quickly outside. Heat sources or good insulation for warm food and hot drinks are an absolute must. Slow cookers are great at keeping sandwich ingredients like pulled pork or meatballs warm. Insulated coffee mugs are best to keep hot chocolate hot. (You can say the party is BYOM -Bring Your Own Mug!). Make hot chocolate in small batches if you don’t have a big urn. This will guarantee that it is served hot and will keep the chocolate from settling on the bottom. Cold drinks will be wanted, too. Have cup sleeves available for use on cold drinks too, to save little hands from getting too chilly.
Metal chairs probably aren’t the best idea for seating at an outdoor winter party, but sometimes folding chairs are the only available ones. A blanket or seat cover can help make them more comfortable. Also, there’s no rule that says you can’t move some of your indoor chairs outside for the day. If the patio is clean and dry and the weather is good, portable indoor chairs can be used outside, e,g., bar stools can line the outside of a fire pit circle, or use bean bag chairs as seating for little ones (make sure all seating is set at a safe distance from any flames).
The theme can be winter, new year, or “just because.” Winter-themed decor can include paper straws that look like birch trees, plaid tablecloths and napkins, or snowflakes and snowmen. If the party itself has a theme, like “cookie exchange” or “hot chocolate bar and fondue” use bright icing colors or soothing brown plaids. Any winter-related patterns and images will do. Your friends and family will appreciate the extra effort you put in decor, but the important part is spending time together. A warm fire and an invitation is all any outdoor party really needs.