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Planning an Outdoor Holiday Gathering

Mixing up your holiday plans this year? You're not the only one. Why not look to the great outdoors this season? With a couple of accessories and plenty of space to spread out, you can throw the best outside holiday party ever.

Keep it Warm: The holidays are a season of warmth and light. Don't leave your guests outside in the cold and dark! A campfire can make an amazing centerpiece to an outdoor party. Make your own firepit (check Pinterest for ideas), or purchase a premade one. Are fires not an option where you're at? No worries. Set up portable heaters to keep the air comfortable.

Light it Up: If you're celebrating in the evening, make sure the party area is well lit. Fortunately, holiday lights are easy to get this time of year, and they're right on theme. And if you're not feeling super into the idea of climbing onto ladders to hang lights, just tell your guests you're throwing a light party. They set up lights, you provide them with treats and beverages. Just make sure the ladders are put away before the spiked eggnog makes an appearance…

Be Careful with Cups: Shards of glass from a broken cup are bad news in the best of circumstances, but outside in the cold? No good. Opt for unbreakable glasses to make sure accidents don't lead to unintended issues.

Make S'Mores: Do you have kids on your guest list? Make it the best holiday ever with a s'mores station. Light up the fire, set out the sticks, and pop open a bag of marshmallows. Of course, chocolate and graham crackers are a must, but why not get creative with it? Peanut butter, gingersnaps, and fruit slices let your guests put a personal spin on their treats. Consider making individual packs of s'mores supplies to help everyone keep their (sticky) fingers to themselves.

Get Crafty: The upside of an outdoor party is that it's okay to get a little messy. Why not lean into that and host a wreath-making party? Set out basic supplies, like wire frames, ribbon, scissors, and glue, as well as natural elements (think pine, holly, and pinecones). Give your guests plenty of table space to spread out and play. The best part is that everyone will go home with a wreath and no one will be stuck sweeping up dropped pine needles.

Drive By: Sometimes despite our best intentions an in-person gathering just isn't in the cards. Why not enjoy a drive-by party instead? Bake a batch of Christmas cookies, divvy them up, and drop them off to your loved ones at their home. Or get the kids in the car, pack a thermos of hot cocoa, and drive to look at lights. If you're feeling adventurous (and if the weather cooperates), consider hosting a drive-in holiday movie night. Project your favorite festive film outside and tell your guests to BYOP (bring your own popcorn).

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