Tips for outdoor entertaining during the winter

Fire pits can keep hosts and their guests warm during outdoor parties in late fall and early winter.
Fire pits can keep hosts and their guests warm during outdoor parties in late fall and early winter.

FALLBROOK – Outdoor entertaining has never been more popular. As more and more homeowners turn their homes into their own personal oases, extending the party outdoors has become a bigger priority.

According to the American Home Furnishings Alliance’s (AHFA) 2015 Outdoor Furniture Trend Report, out-of-doors areas on a property are the favored venues for celebrations with family and friends.

While outdoor entertaining was once relegated to the warm weather seasons, advancements in technology have now made it more comfortable and enjoyable to entertain outdoors for much of the year. But hosts who want to extend the outdoor party after summer has come and gone should consider a few important entertaining tips.

  • Start the party early. Summertime backyard barbecues and pool parties benefit from late-evening sunsets that illuminate patios and pool areas well into the evening. In addition, many hosts prefer to start such parties later in the day to avoid the sun during the early afternoon when it is at its most blazing. However, start the party earlier in the day when hosting in fall or early winter. Temperatures can drop considerably once the sun begins to set, so starting early can save hosts and their guests from cold air.
  • Heat things up. Summertime hosts might employ canopies to protect themselves and their guests from the heat, and it’s important for hosts to take similar steps when the weather is chillier. The AHFA report found that 38 percent of homeowners intended to purchase fire pits for their outdoor entertaining areas, and such fire pits can keep guests warm as the sun goes down and the night air gets chilly. Fire pits have become must-have items for outdoor entertaining areas, and hosts can surely find one that suits their needs.
  • Change the menu. Grilling hot dogs and hamburgers might still work when entertaining outdoors in fall and winter, but hosts may want to stray from other summertime fare like watermelon or pasta salad. Embrace the cold weather by roasting some nuts and making s’mores over an open fire. In lieu of summertime beverages like lemonade and beer, serve hot chocolate or wine to keep guests warm.
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting. Mother Nature won’t offer much lighting when you host a party outdoors in late fall and early winter, so make sure your patios and sidewalks are well lit. Guests will want to see one another and what they’re eating, and well-lit walkways will reduce the risk that guests take a tumble or turn their ankles when walking to and from the house.

Outdoor entertaining need not end because summer has come and gone. But hosts must take a different approach to hosting when throwing outdoor gatherings in late fall and early winter.

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