How to Host an Outdoor Winter Party: 3 Unique Ideas for a Cold Weather Gathering

By Laurie Fanelli in Thinking Sustainably

Everyone knows that winter weather is perfect for enjoying outdoor fun with your family—sledding and snowmen and skating, oh my! But it also provides a beautiful setting for outdoor parties, cookouts, and game nights. Hosting an outdoor winter party can be just as much fun as a summer get-together with thoughtful planning to ensure guests stay warm and the elements are used to their best advantage.

Below are a few winter party ideas for adults that celebrate the season and promote sustainability by avoiding single-use items.

1. Bonfire Bash

As the temperatures turn cold, nothing is cozier than warming up by a fire. If you have the space, a bonfire is the perfect centerpiece to an outdoor winter party. Fire pits—available at most home improvement stores—are a safe and affordable alternative for warming a backyard bash. If you live in an apartment or condo and want to enjoy an outdoor fire, rent a space at your local forest preserve or campground (just be sure to follow their fire rules and regulations).

You can serve warm drinks such as hot cocoa, tea, and coffee to keep your guests warm. Plus, this is the perfect opportunity to break out your favorite mugs! (We all have a random assortment tucked away, right?)

Roasting marshmallows and making s'mores can add to the fun, and many health food stores sell vegan options of both marshmallows and chocolate. Create less waste by using a stick to roast your marshmallows—just remember to whittle the stick into a point and give it a pre-burn to reduce germs and other outdoor elements. Sharing campfire tales, ghost stories, or songs can make it a memorable event that taps into everyone's inner child.Roasting marshmallow over fire

2. Active Game Night

Rather than moving indoors for a board game night, invite your friends over for an active winter event. By keeping things moving, everyone will generate their own heat to combat cooler temps. Who says volleyball has to be played on the beach? Put up a backyard net and play—no matter what the weather may bring. Outdoor volleyball is even more fun in the winter, as players can dive into the snow as if it were sand. Use a colorful volleyball to prevent a traditional white ball from getting lost in the elements. Cornhole is also fun anytime of year, or you can set up a series of winter-related relays.

Break out the grill and cook up warm food such as veggie burgers and shish kebabs. Mulled wine or hot toddies are festive beverages for a grown-up get-together, and hot apple cider is a delicious nonalcoholic option.

If you want to invite the whole family to your winter party, a snowman building contest is fun for everyone. Ask guests to bring over old scarves and other accessories to use in the contest. Neighbors can vote on their favorite creations. When the contest concludes, you can wash and donate these items to a local nonprofit.

Making Snowmen at an Outdoor Winter Party

3. Patio Heater Donation Drive and Potluck

Have fun and do good with a potluck patio party and donation drive. Patio heaters—like what you find at restaurants—are available to rent or buy, and they are an easy way to keep guests warm while you enjoy everyone's favorite soups at an outdoor winter party. Ask your friends and family members to bring their favorite Crock-Pot creations for all to enjoy, as well as a few cans of soup to donate to a local food pantry. Serve the soups in your favorite everyday bowls—or even fine china—to avoid creating trash with single-use options.

This type of party is also a great chance for everyone to clean out their closet and bring gently used sweaters, coats, and hats to be donated. The heaters and soup will help fight the cold, but it's the power of giving that will truly warm everyone's hearts and spirits.

Rather than lamenting falling temperatures, embrace winter weather—and create lasting memories—by hosting a fun outdoor gathering for your family and friends.

Looking for more ideas on fun-filled activities to enjoy with your family and community? Check out the Natural Inspiration board by @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!

Image Source: Pxhere | Wikimedia Commons | Pixabay

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Why It's Good

Hosting an outdoor winter party is an ideal way to connect with family and friends as you all celebrate the season. While heating up by a fire or drinking hot cocoa, you can also warm your soul by making the event a donation drive, promoting sustainability, and creating lasting memories with loved ones.