Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year poses something of a challenge. State and CDC guidelines recommend that holiday dinners be limited to small gatherings of immediate family members. What’s the solution? Taking the feast outdoors.
Outdoor dining as well as wearing masks and socially distancing can reduce the risk of getting sick while still allowing families to celebrate in person. Here are some tips for staying safe while enjoying your turkey and mashed potatoes.
Keep It Small
The more people you invite to your dinner, the more risk to you and others. Keep your celebration small and stick to local family members since travel is not recommended right now. Social distancing requires six feet of distance between tables so don’t invite more people than can be comfortably accommodated in your backyard.
Remember the kids’ table? This year set up family tables. Each household that is part of your celebration should have their own table. Have them bring their own card tables or rent round catering tables. Dress them up with fall-themed fabric and centerpieces for a cohesive look.
Your guests should remain masked unless they are eating. To make it fun, find or make Thanksgiving-themed masks. Provide small bottles of hand sanitizer as part of the place settings. Buffets are out, so plan on enlisting one family member from each table to serve the food.
Decorate Your Patio
Just because you are eating outside doesn’t mean you can’t decorate as usual. Decorate with pumpkins, ears of corn and fall flowers. String lights up or place electric lanterns on the table. Use paper tablecloths and provide crayons so family members can write Thanksgiving wishes on them for a fun keepsake.
Host a Thanksgiving Lunch
Texas tends to have a more temperate climate in the fall, but no one wants to eat in the cold and dark. Instead of dinner, plan a lunch for the warmest part of the day. Have heaters on standby in case of an unexpected drop in temperature.
Make Sure Guests are Warm
In addition to heat lamps, provide lots of cozy blankets and set up a warm beverage station. The station can include hot water for tea and cocoa as well as a crockpot full of mulled wine or the makings for hot toddies. If you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, light it up.
Get Creative With the Menu
Who says the turkey has to be roasted? Fire up the grill or invest in a smoker. If your grill is big enough, why not try to make the entire meal on it? Food Network has some tasty recipes for grilled turkey and all of the fixings.
Play Music and Games
Create a Spotify playlist with everyone’s favorites to accompany your meal. Plan to play socially distanced games such as table tennis, badminton or croquet.
It’s been a difficult year for everyone, which is why it’s important for everyone to say what they are thankful for. Counting your blessings puts a positive spin on the day and prepares you for a happier new year.