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I threw an outdoor winter party… Here’s how I did it.

So it’s December. And cooooold.

But because I can’t make things easy on myself I decided I wanted to host a party – outside. At night.

I was hosting, cooking, and setting everything up. It was madness, and I want to do it again.

I don’t think it’s normal to throw a party outside during winter, but if that’s your thing, here’s how I did it. Hopefully it’ll give you some ideas for your own winter party:

The Plan

First and foremost, I knew if I was going to lure friends and family outside, at night, in December, I had to keep them warm. To do that I loaded up on blankets, rugs (I’ll tell you why in a sec), faux fur seat covers, had 2 firepits going, and had a tall outdoor heater setup. I also served hot food and drinks.

For the faux fur seat covers and heaps of blankets, I shopped around at thrift and discount stores, and got a few yards of faux fur fabric from the fabric store. I got the faux fur to cut into smaller pieces for chair covers so they were a little warmer when people sat on them. Some of them ended up being used for blankets too.

Faux fur blankets for winter party

Walmart has a bunch of cheap ($5-$8 for me) felt-ish blankets that come rolled up for easy stacking in a basket for guests.

I also bought cheap blankets and rugs from discount and thrift stores. Why? Not actually for people to wrap up in, but because I decided I wanted to create an open tent sorta thing for people to sit under.

To add an extra cozy vibe I got some battery-powered flickering candles with decorative paper bags to set around the edges of the party.

Tent kinda Thing

Like most things in my life, the tent setup was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

Ah, Pinterest, the place where perfect people make pretty things… somehow. So I was inspired by a pic I found there, but just did my own setup, trying to keep the cost lower.

I ordered up a couple painting drop cloths and rigged them up next to my house and a tree so they were at a pretty steep angle with one side open, the bottom held in place by rocks.

Then I placed a bunch of those cheap rugs, blankets, and pillows on the ground in the tent so people could sit there.

I setup one of the firepits next to (but not under – can you say FIRE HAZARD) the “tent” so the heat got somewhat trapped under the cloth which made it pretty warm. You could also use a normal portable heater if you had a place to plug it in.

Outdoor Seating

I had some metal seats but ended up finding these wooden ones online and ordering them so there was more seating, but also so the seats weren’t so cold.

They took a little putting together but guys, now that they’re there, I totally love them. Like, I don’t mean to fangirl at you, and yes, the pics are affiliate links, but I put them next to one of the firepits, draped a bunch of blankets over them and they are so cozyomg. I’m so happy with them.

fireside seating ideas for winter

I also have a picnic table setup under my front porch roof and these metal chairs, so for an eating area I just had to get a tablecloth and cover the chairs with the faux fur I mentioned before.

Food Stuffs

The menu of the night was

  1. chili
  2. corn pudding (not to be confused with corn bread)
  3. Jalapeño poppers
  4. pulled pork with buns for sandwiches
  5. and stovetop cinnamon apples

And s’mores. You can’t do a firepit without s’mores.

I got a couple carafes for hot cider and hot chocolate. A couple guests brought rum for the cider and peppermint schnapps for the hot chocolate.

I also filled a tin tub with a little water and floating tea lights to put beers and cold hard ciders in there out on the porch. No ice needed, thanks winter.

winter party drink tub idea

The pièce de résistance was the cheap white sheet I got from a thrift store, strung up like a screen, and a projector playing some cool, long Christmas and snow scenes from Youtube.

By the time it was all over I was dead tired. But it was fantastically cozy and I’m definitely going to set something like it up again for a Christmas party.

I’ve had gelato in Italy, pizza in Egypt, crepes in Paris, and gruyere in Gruyere.
I’ve rafted rivers, climbed canyons, been lost in foreign cities – and foreign museums :P – and road trip whenever I get the chance.
I bring my camera and dog wherever I can, always looking for the next adventure, then I write about it here.
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