13 must-haves for hosting Thanksgiving outside
Bundle up for a cozy outdoor Thanksgiving.
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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Since many COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, you might consider heading outdoors for dinner to keep your loved ones safe.
If you’ve already bought yourself a set of outdoor furniture to socialize with friends and family and maintain social distance, you’re halfway there. Here are some other products you may want to check out before hosting Thanksgiving dinner outside so you can enjoy a good meal while following safety guidelines.
1. String lights for the perfect outdoor vibe
Make a plan for how you want to decorate your backyard or patio space for your guests. String lights not only provide some essential lighting at night but also can help elevate your dinner experience by adding a touch of warmth and intimacy. Decorate your deck with colorful mums or other seasonal flowers to add pops of color.
2. Festive flowers for a decorative table
Whether you’re a guest or a host this Thanksgiving, you may want to think about the flower arrangements for the table. If you’re going to someone’s Thanksgiving party, check with the host and see if they’ve got a particular theme or color scheme in mind. Our editor tried this flower delivery service that has a variety of flower arrangements to pick from.
3. A patio heater to weatherproof your dinner plans
Depending on which region of the country you live in, the November weather conditions can vary. We think it’s best to plan for a little chill just in case—go ahead and weather-proof your Thanksgiving celebration so you and your guests can enjoy a warm and cozy dinner together. Patio heaters are one of this year’s biggest hits, but you may also want to get a pop-up canopy in case of rain.
4. A fire pit for warmth and ambiance
A fire pit will add warmth and entertainment to your Thanksgiving celebration. We tested two fire pits this year, and they’re both great for what they do. The BioLite uses technology to burn firewood more efficiently and can be monitored from your phone through app connection. The Solo Stove is a great solution for people who travel all the time.
5. A robotic bartender for cocktail hour
Though beer and wine may be the easiest beverage options, offering cocktails can make your Thanksgiving celebration feel ever more special. This pod cocktail machine is like a robot bartender, which can shake up any well-known cocktail within minutes at the touch of a button. We tested one and we were impressed with the quality of the margaritas it made.
6. An outdoor grill for cooking the bird
If you’re tired of roasting your turkey, you may consider smoking or grilling outdoors. If your backyard has limited space or you’re new to grilling, check out these portable grills as a start. Our top pick for gas grills, the Weber Q 1200, has cast-iron grilling grates and two side tables to hold food and condiments. It’s spacious enough for a spatchcocked bird, if you’re feeling adventurous.
7. A chafing dish for keeping food warm
Whether you’re getting meal kits delivered or cooking everything from scratch, serving food outside could be challenging when it’s cold out. Chafing dishes, those shiny metal contraptions you’ve likely seen at buffet restaurants, can help solve this problem. Don’t forget to grab some chafing fuel to heat things up.
8. Décor to help you set the table
Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you should skimp on décor. A table runner and napkins in complementary shades can help tie your table together. We love these from Goldune because they’re made using sustainable materials. And since you’re outdoors, it’s totally safe to throw some candles into the mix!
- Get the Candy Stripe Table Runner at Goldune for $72
- Get the Rainbow Burlap Napkin Set at Goldune for $66
- Get the Totem Candles from Parachute for starting at $12
9. Compostable plates for eco-friendly dining
Some people may opt for single-use plastic plates to spare themselves from washing dishes, which is understandable. But there are better ways to conveniently host dinner parties—these compostable plates are a more eco-friendly option and can offer the same level of ease as the plastic ones.
10. An insulated food tote for traveling
If you’re traveling to a bring-your-own-food style Thanksgiving party, you’ll need an insulated food tote to keep your food hot and your drinks cold. These lightweight cooler bags are made with supernatural paper (yes, it’s a real thing), which has a low carbon footprint compared to cotton and plastic.
11. Hand warmers to keep you comfortable
In 2020, hand and toe warmers are no longer items reserved for winter sports. As I’ve had a few hang-out sessions with my friends outside this year, I find these warming pads truly useful in case the temperature drops after sunset. Your guests (and your extremities!) will thank you.
12. An entertainment system for watching the game
For many Americans, Thanksgiving isn’t complete without football. And the good news is, you can easily stream the games outdoors with the help of a projector. We tested the best portable projectors and found the Anker Nebula Mars II to be worth buying. Not only does it pack up like a lunchbox, but it also provides top-notch quality screenings.
13. Blankets for relaxing
Nothing is better than sitting by the fireplace and hiding under a blanket while gazing at the stars after a delicious meal. A soft, fleece outdoor blanket will make your Thanksgiving party the coziest ever.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.