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Outdoor dining table set for fall holiday entertaining in an outdoor kitchen with grill

Take Your Thanksgiving Gathering Outdoors

Published Date: Nov 13, 2023

Make your Thanksgiving more memorable with an idea that’s literally a breath of fresh air – take the party outside! Dining alfresco can be a wonderful way to take advantage of crisp fall days while giving everyone plenty of room to mix and mingle. (Weather permitting, of course.)

If you live in an area that tends to have stellar weather in November, we’ve got ideas for creating an unforgettable Thanksgiving get-together that will have everyone feeling thankful for you – the host with the most.

Set the Table for Fun

Central to any Thanksgiving gathering is a table with plenty of room for friends and family. This is where a beautiful level paver patio gets a chance to shine. If you don’t have an outdoor table large enough for your feast, don’t despair. For those feeling ambitious, you can temporarily take your indoor dining outdoors. However, you may want to use a folding card table for more room and max portability. By adding a centerpiece (flowers are a great pick for an outdoor party!) and tablecloth, you can make even the least expensive table look fancy. Consider having multiple places to set down casseroles, sides, and desserts so that everyone has space for their plates, glasses, and silverware.

Outdoor dining table set for holiday gathering with fall flowers centerpiece

Don’t Skimp on the Details

Accents such as pretty place cards crafted from natural materials add an elegant touch that’s right on brand for hosting an outdoor Thanksgiving gathering. You can write guests names on large leaves or prop a name card up with a dainty pinecone or two. Pumpkins and gourds are always great choices for fall festivities and can be placed all around your yard for pops of color throughout your space. If you’re sticking with a certain color scheme for your outdoor décor, feel free to spray paint those pumpkins and gourds to match! It’s your party, your rules.

Get Fired Up

Nothing gets people talking more than the coziness of an outdoor fire. Illuminate your gathering with a fire pit or tabletop bowl. Don’t have a fire pit? You can create a similar effect by placing lit candles or lanterns throughout your space as well. The flickering lights and warm glow will draw people together while adding loads of ambiance to your event. Be sure to have s’mores supplies on hand to maximize the good times.

making smores

Craft Some Seasonal Sips

Looking for libation ideas? Here’s one our top fall cocktail favs that can just as easily be made non-alcoholic version for teetotalers and your underage crew. Warming, sweet, rich, buttery, and delicious; this hot buttered cider recipe serves 6.

Hot Buttered Cider

5 Cups Apple Cider

¼ Cup Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pinch of Kosher Salt

6 Naval Orange Peel Strips

6 Cinnamon Sticks

10 Ounces Spiced Gold Rum (Optional)

Bring cider, butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt to boil over high, whisking often. Remove from heat, add rum if desired and whisk to combine. Pour into 6 coffee mugs. Garnish with an orange peel wrapped cinnamon stick. Serve warm and voila! The taste of fall.

Festive fall hot apple cider buttered rum cocktail recipe

Let the Games Begin

One of the best things about being outside for Thanksgiving is there’s plenty of space to burn off those extra holiday calories. This is where outdoor games are a must. Fun for kids and grownups alike, get competitive juices flowing with classics like cornhole, washer toss, and lawn bowling. Find a curated assortment of top-quality games and more entertainment essentials in our System Pavers Outdoor Store.

Pro tip: Even if you do a traditional Thanksgiving dinner inside, it's always a good idea to have some crowd-pleasing outdoor activities planned. This’ll help keep younger houseguests from bouncing off the walls and possibly reduce a mess in your house.

Illuminate Every Corner

Lastly, don’t let the sun set on your fun! You can keep the party going with outdoor lighting that allows you to keep conversations flowing into the wee hours of the night. Whether it’s professionally-installed outdoor lighting you can enjoy all year or strands of lights you string up only on special occasions, nothing says let the good times roll like a backyard full of twinkling lights.

people on a paver patio with lighting

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