There’s nothing quite like enjoying a family meal on warm summer evenings. And here in South Africa, we get to enjoy the festive season in full summer sun. If you’re planning to dine under the stars on Christmas, follow our essential guide to ensuring it goes off without a hitch.

If you’re lucky to live in an area that enjoys a warm or tepid climate during the festive season, consider a rustic outdoor dinner. Dining al fresco is a perfect way to make the best of long summer evenings.

alfresco dining

A secure wooden table will be the focal point for your dining experience, so it is worth investing time into finding the perfect one. Browse secondhand stores or online classifieds such as Gumtree and Bidorbuy for old tables that require refurbishing. Then invest in one-of-a-kind chairs to place around it. Mix old and new, plastic and wood, for a truly eclectic feel. Place potted flowers or herbs in the same area to introduce natural fragrances from your garden to the area.

alfresco dining

Entice your guests with a simple cheese platter, hummus and pitas, with a selection of light zesty wines. Then treat your guests to an outdoor barbecue, or braai, as we know it in South Africa.

alfresco dining

Select a simple menu, that is easy to prepare, with limited clean-up required. As a starter, grill fish or chicken kebabs, as well as steaks, and serve it with light salads and bread. Serve ice cream or a light fruit salad for dessert.

Then organise fun and games the whole family can enjoy – for a magical evening under the stars that you will always treasure.

alfresco dining

Key tips

1. Invest in gorgeous pillows which will add a dash of colour to your patio, as well as provide additional seating to your guests in a pinch.

2. Experiment with creative lighting ideas. Paper lanterns, floating tea light candles and torches in mason jars all create a soft ambience, perfect for your dining experience.

3. Have fun with décor. Select a colour scheme for your patio and table setting and add unpredictable elegant touches to engage and surprise your guests.

4. Light blankets, throws or flip flops make excellent party favours if you’re entertaining outside, and they also ensure your guests’ comfort well after the sun has set.

Will you be dining outdoors this festive season? Tell us in the comments below.

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