Outdoor Entertaining in Winter

DSC_0038Although winter in the Southwest is nicer than in many other parts of the country, there are still plenty of chilly days and evenings. When you want to plan an outdoor party, there are things you can do to keep your guests warm and happy even when the weather is a bit nippy. Here are a few suggestions.

Set up a windbreak. Often the cold is worse when there is a strong breeze. Most of us don’t have an indoor courtyard like this one in Fulton Home’s Basha model at Legacy, but you can use fencing, foliage or even canvas to help protect your guests from the brunt of the wind.

Build a fire: If you have an outdoor fireplace you can just add wood or turn on the gas. But even if you don’t have this option, consider building or purchasing a fire pit. The flames add immediate warmth and provide a cozy place for people to gather. To take full advantage, offer the makings for s’mores along with some toasting forks for marshmallows. People will be much less likely to mind the cold.

Serve hot beverages or soup. When people are warm inside they will feel toastier outside. Plan your menu and any appetizers accordingly. Soup or chili makes an inviting cold weather entrée and hot cocoa, tea, cider or coffee helps keep the warm feeling even after the meal is over.

Make indoors an option. Some people have a hard time dealing with cold weather. Be sure to include some indoor seating and choices for those who simply can’t get comfortable outside.

With a little planning, you don’t have to let colder weather keep everyone indoors. Take advantage of an opportunity to throw a chilly but fun party.