As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, thoughts often turn to times with family and friends. The crisp days of autumn in Oklahoma. Winter nights illuminated by a vast expanse of sparkling stars.
What we sometimes overlook is the opportunity to complement the blazing colors of fall and backdrop of a winter landscape by moving the party outside. Pool and patio areas can become gracious, welcoming extensions to festivities inside the house.
Thanksgiving pumpkins, pots of mums, artificial garlands of leaves or even branches of the real thing can grace a pool area, patio or table. Christmas greenery, baskets of pinecones, baskets of ornaments and a lighted tree (Rosemary in a container, a small, fresh evergreen in a stand) spread the cheer.
Perhaps the most important ingredient of all is lighting; giving a warm, comfy glow to all who draw near. Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and chimineas. Candles in lanterns or hurricane lamps (to protect them from Oklahoma wind).
Tablecloths, runners, placemats and napkins can take on the theme you’ve established for your holiday. Just unify inside and out. Bronze, orange, yellow and red for Thanksgiving? Traditional red and green for Christmas – or how about gold and white? Silver? Blue for Hanukkah?
If a fire isn’t available or advisable, consider small electric space heaters or those of the commercial variety. Throws or fleece blankets can accentuate décor and add an element of coziness.
A traditional sit-down Thanksgiving or Christmas generally includes the expected family menu. Thinking outside the box (or for parties) celebrate the season with warm yummies like beef or chicken chili, hot soups, lasagna, crusty bread. Easy to serve outside – and delicious. Snacks can be as simple as pretzel sticks in a decorated aluminum can. Apple slices with hot caramel dipping sauce. Decorated sugar cookies.
The main thing is, don’t overlook your pool or patio area as a space for spectacular holiday gatherings or an overflow respite when all the people who love – you show up!