How to Throw an Outdoor Winter Party

Your backyard doesn’t have to go into hibernation in the winter months. Whether you want to throw a casual wintertime get-together or a cold-weather hang with cocktails, you can host an affair to remember no matter where you live. So grab a hot toddy and let’s start planning an epic outdoor winter party.

Stay Warm and Cozy

Braxton 5-Piece Deep Seating Conversation Set with Fire Pit Table
Braxton 5-Piece Deep Seating Conversation Set with Fire Pit Table

Warmth is the most essential element of any cold weather party, so make sure you have plenty of heat sources. Here are a few outdoor winter party ideas to keep your guests warm:

  • Bonfire — There’s nothing like a roaring fire to keep everyone comfortable while providing a welcoming ambiance. Before you host a winter bonfire party, check your community’s laws to see if you’re allowed to light a fire in your backyard.
  • Fire Pit Table — If you don’t want to deal with the maintenance of building a winter bonfire, a fire pit table is a terrific alternative. It’s safe, easy to maintain, and built to withstand the elements. Plus, it makes a perfect setting for your outdoor winter party since there’s plenty of table space for trays of hot cocoa with roasted marshmallows.
  • Heat Lamps — If you want to hold your outdoor winter party festival on your patio or deck, consider getting a few heat lamps. They’re adjustable and easy to maintain, just like fire pit tables. Set up your outdoor furniture around these heat lamps so everyone can always stay warm while socializing. 

Radiant heater on the ceiling of a terrace roofing

Set Up Your Party Space

Once you figure out your heat situation, it’s time to make your outdoor space comfortable. 

  • Avoid using metal chairs. They pull heat away from the body, meaning you and your guests would be sitting on cold chairs the entire time. Instead, choose all-weather outdoor furniture that doesn’t conduct heat, allowing everyone to sit comfortably.
  • Supply plenty of blankets and outdoor pillows. When everyone is facing the fire, their backs are exposed. Letting guests snuggle into blankets and pillows will keep them warm from head to toe.
  • String up extra lights. Winter days are short, so you’ll need additional outdoor lighting to ensure your area isn’t too dark. 
  • Hang outdoor curtains or screens as windbreaks. This keeps heat in and prevents smoke from being blown in your guests’ faces if you have a fire going.
  • Cover your outdoor area with an awning or tent. It’s added protection from the elements.
Vineyard Deep Seating Settee
Vineyard Deep Seating Settee

Put Together a Self-Serve Bar

Take one thing off your plate and set up a self-serve bar. Fill crockpots with classic winter drinks like apple cider, hot chocolate, and coffee. Then place bottles of vodka, Irish cream, and bourbon nearby. That way, guests can make their own boozy beverage or stick to a mocktail.

hot tea in a white enamel mug on tangerine orange adirondack chair arm

Choose a Theme for Your Winter Party

While having a theme for your party isn’t required, it makes things a lot more fun. It also gives you a solid foundation for selecting decorations, food and drink options, etc. Here are some winter theme party ideas to consider for your upcoming get-together:

  • Winter Wonderland Costume Party — Guests can dress as popular winter characters like Jack Frost or Elsa or general winter-themed costumes like penguins or snowflake.
  • Outdoor Movie Night — Set up your outdoor home theater and play wintery movies like “Happy Feet” or “Fargo.”
  • Wine O’Clock — Hire a sommelier to host a winter wine tasting by the fire pit table — don’t forget the charcuterie board.
  • Hot Tub Party — Have a hot tub? Invite some friends over to warm up and relax. 
  • Tropical Party — If cold weather isn’t your thing, host a South Beach-inspired hang. Serve café con leche spiked with rum, pull up your Gloria Estefan playlist, drape colorful blankets over your Adirondacks, and turn your outdoor living room into a tropical paradise. 
Vineyard 5-Piece Oversized Adirondack Set
Vineyard 5-Piece Oversized Adirondack Set

Winter Family Party Activity Ideas

If you’re still looking for party ideas to keep guests entertained, these family activities will help bring fun to your get-together:

  • Backyard Scavenger Hunt — The first person (or team) to follow the clues and find the prize wins.
  • Get CraftySet up a picnic table with winter-themed supplies and let your guests make fun crafts. You can put them on display as added party decorations when they’re complete, then guests can take them home as souvenirs.
  • S’mores Party — If you’re going to have a fire going outside, serve up a platter of s’mores and all their fixings along with a couple of creative additions like peanut butter cups and chocolate chip cookies. Compete against the kids or other families to see who makes the ultimate s’mores treat.

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