As a celebration of thanks, this holiday happens during the beautiful season of autumn. Known for its vivid colors and spicy scents, fall has a harvest theme to it. Although people expect everything to calm down, nature is still a riot of sights and sounds that are exciting to be a part of. Instead of bringing nature indoors, a better way to appreciate the bounty from nature might be by going outdoors. If you have a gazebo or other outdoor structure, there are some ways you can make the outdoor area you enjoy all year feel more like the perfect place to host a traditional sit-down dinner.
Light it up!
Lights are used to bring out the best in a setting. The rule of thumb when putting up lights for your gazebo is: enhancement, not just function. If the lights are too bright, they’ll wash out the fall colors. This will lead to a lot of squinting, and the mood will drop a little because the warm atmosphere will become a smidge icy.
To create a warm feeling that inspires hugs and appreciation, string up white fairy lights around the supporting beams and have a few running across the roof. Add a few hanging paper lanterns and experiment until you get the proper height. Floor lamps can also be great substitutes for the lanterns. Open flame candles might not be the right choice, but lanterns or faux candles can be wonderful mood enhancers.
Channel the menu
The Thanksgiving menu is an excellent source of decorative inspiration with all the berries and apples, pastries and corn. Don’t forget the centerpiece, the turkey. You can have little bowls or baskets of apples and oranges sitting on the ledges of the gazebo and strung cranberries in loops from pillar to pillar. Hang up small sheaves of maize still in their husks from the rafters to add that fresh scent that only fresh produce brings to the table. Consider a themed-print table covering and some of the usual touches you’d place if you were hosting indoors.
Furniture and seating
Not only does the size of your gazebo matter but also the size of your dinner party. How many people are coming? Is the gazebo large enough to hold them all or is it wishful thinking? If your party isn’t large, you can have the standard table and chair dining room setup with a few more comfortable seating choices in strategic corners so as not to block movement.
A gazebo with a lot of space is great. If you’ve got electrical wiring, you may even be able to set up a television for before or after dinner, making the site serve double-duty. Retractable picnic tables and benches can also be used to maximize seating where space is limited.
Curtains and wall hangings
Lacy nets or curtains are great decorative pieces that can be fastened back to the pillars using curtain ties. They can also be unfurled in the evening to keep the wind and cold out. A patchwork quilt can also be hang up on one side of the gazebo, if you have one, as it adds a sense of family history to the dinner celebration. Have fun with the hangings, they can make a room look larger than it is when placed strategically. If you don’t have walls, you might be able to make something work with the support posts.
You can never go wrong with potted plants so place either a few small plants around or a tall plant in one corner and knick-knacks that usually sit on the mantel on a ledge. A few fire pits and lawn chairs can be set up around the gazebo to keep the celebration going into the night despite the cold temperatures. Decorative details might not be the heart of this celebration, but they add an edge that makes the event as memorable as the food and company does. Fall foliage, even in an area where trees are evergreen, certainly helps set the mood. Whatever your usual Thanksgiving meal might be, a little festive planning can help make your family and guests feel like this is a welcome addition to tradition!