The warm weather has arrived, which means moving your entertainment outside.
To make the most of your alfresco entertaining, here are four easy tips to help you and your guests enjoy your alfresco area.
1. Keeping the bugs away
Outdoor entertaining is part of the Australian culture, and battling the flies and mosquitos can sometimes be a challenge.
A great tip is to spray your tables or tablecloths or placemats with a bug repellent before setting your table.
Then, include in your table setting mix of non-scented candles and citronella candles. This adds ambiance as well as keeping those pesky mosquitoes and flies away.
Turning your glassware upside down until your guests use them is great for not ending up with any surprise beasties in your drink.
2. Prepare early and keep it simple
Alfresco entertaining is about enjoying your time with family and friends.
To make sure you minimise your time in the kitchen and maximise your time with your guests, keep your food simple and prepare as much as possible before your party.
A couple of simple (or unusual) salads with our BBQ Salmon Steaks recipe works a treat. Or go for a chilled seafood platter you can prepare beforehand and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
3. Don’t forget the drinks!
Greeting your guests with a smile and a glass of their favourite wine or beer puts everyone in a great mood.
Then, while you all relax and enjoy some nibbles, have an ice bucket in the center of your alfresco lounging area where everyone can place and easily reach their preferred wine, beer or other beverage.
If you reminisce about the bygone days of the punch, bring out your treasured punchbowl your grandmother gifted you, make a sangria and enjoy the party.
Dance the night away
You can’t beat a really good playlist.
Music makes for a memorable party. Whether it’s…
background music as you discuss the important issues of life
listening to Dave tell his “stuck in an elephant umbrella stand” story for the zillionth time
clearing the tables to dance under your disco ball…
Know your crowd and pick the appropriate music – after all, you really don’t want the baby elephant walk playing when you want to disco!
Five tips for decorating your alfresco area this Christmas
When it comes decorating your alfresco to create a festive feeling at home, you don’t have to be restricted to your Christmas tree. You can extend festivities from inside your home to your patio or deck, to your garden, and even your bathroom. Make your whole outdoor space festive for your Christmas guests to enjoy when they visit.
Here are some of our favourite alfresco Christmas decoration tips to help you share a bit of Christmas this season.
Everyone loves the traditional look and feel of Christmas. Red and green are usually the predominant colours, sometimes balanced with gold, silver or white.
An easy way to create a traditional theme for your table is to use white crockery and add red by using a red table cloth and napkins. Then add green by using a traditional wreath as a centrepiece. You may wish to add a touch of gold or silver with candles or vases used as centerpieces, alternating with the wreaths or placed inside them.
Extend your theme and hang red and green decorations throughout your alfresco, tie a combination of red, white and green ribbons onto furniture, or use coloured outdoor lighting to extend the theme beyond the table.
2. White Christmas
In reality, the chances of having a white Christmas in Australia are pretty low. However you can create your own white Christmas with a winter theme.
White tablecloths with white candles are an elegant and inexpensive option to decorate to your outdoor table. Match with white crockery, and perhaps a touch of silver to add a bit of Christmas sparkle. Decorate your tree and wrap your presents with white and silver to continue the theme.
And finally, solar powered white fairy lights strewn throughout your alfresco and garden areas create a sparkling effect.
3. Decorate a tree outside
If you have a tree that’s a focus point in your garden, or one that’s incorporated into your alfresco area – turn it into an outdoor Christmas tree.
Simply add outdoor solar powered fairy lights, coloured lanterns, tinsel and/or decorations (preferably weatherproof ones) to your favourite tree outside. Create a festive atmosphere by placing faux gifts under the tree. Simply wrap boxes (plastic outdoor tablecloths are cheap and easy to use), add ribbon and match your Christmas theme from inside the house. Make sure you weigh the boxes down with something inside, so they don’t blow away if there is a windy day.
Remember, it doesn’t need to be a fir or pine tree to create a Christmas atmosphere. Any type of tree, when decorated can transform your outdoors to a Christmas wonderland, particularly if you extend the use of solar powered fairy lights and lanterns to other garden areas and your alfresco area.
And if you don’t have a tree, consider decorating some of your pot plants.
4. Use spare Christmas tree decorations
Your Christmas tree decorations have more than one use – they can become table and outdoor decorations too.
Place baubles in vases, or on platters and place throughout your alfresco area. Wrap tinsel around any poles supporting your alfresco ceiling or hang stars from your alfresco ceiling. Match colours to your Christmas theme to create a continuation of your indoor festive feel to your outdoors.
5. Get creative with small spaces
To create a festive feel in small spaces, you can simply add a small pine branch in a vase. Or grab some pinecones and spray paint them silver and gold, and place two or three together. These are small touches, but enough to give a smaller space like your alfresco kitchen bench, or perhaps your guest bathroom, some Christmas cheer.
We hope these different Christmas decorating ideas inspire you to take your festive decorating beyond the tree and into your alfresco area.