Many of us get tired of winter: the dark, cold days, the gray landscape, and the feeling of being cooped up. Here’s a fun idea to help you get out of winter. Organize a barbecue! Here are some ideas to help you. BBQ and picnic traditions vary from family to family and region to region, so adapt these ideas to appeal to its crew.

  • Serve meals on the grill (duh!). in reality they can BBQ outside in the winter, even in the coldest climates, but you may not want to. First, someone will have to stand out in the cold to grill, and second, the food will get cold on the way from the grill to the house. Instead, consider using your indoor rotisserie or grill for a “barbecue.” Or buy ready-made grilled foods at your grocery store, discount store, or local restaurant. If your group is small, you can even grill sausages on sticks in the fireplace.
  • Decorate for a picnic. Use a checkered tablecloth and place some random seashells on the table. You can buy shells at craft stores if you don’t have any lying around. Use casual dinnerware or paper plates, and don’t forget extra napkins!
  • Serve side dishes that you usually have only in the summer, or that you normally serve with picnics. This varies widely from place to place and from group to group. In the Northeast, you can include potato or macaroni salad, baked beans, corn on the cob (available in the frozen food section), and lemonade.
  • For dessert, think s’mores (graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, and candy bar), ice cream, fruitcakes, or whatever tells you “summer.”
  • For drinks, beer always goes well with barbecue, but serve whatever appeals to you and your guests.
  • Turn up the thermostat, just for this couple of hours, and invite your guests to wear short sleeves. Kids in particular will love being able to wear shorts or a sundress in the dead of winter.
  • Play summer party music. Go retro with The Beach Boys – nothing says summer like “Surfin’ Safari.”
  • Fix photos of summer scenes, beaches and sun. Or have the kids make suns out of yellow construction paper and place them all over the party area.
  • Most adults will feel more comfortable at a table, but have blankets laid out for the kids to picnic “on the floor.”
  • Invite guests to bring a favorite picnic recipe to share, or steer the conversation to your guests’ favorite memories of a summer picnic or barbecue.
  • Keep it simple and easy. Remember that the atmosphere you are looking for is “relaxed and carefree”. Consider asking your guests to bring side dishes, drinks or desserts, just like they would at a family picnic in the summer.
  • Enjoy this little piece of summer while you wait for spring to arrive!

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