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The Neat Retreat: Fun Winter Themes For Outdoor Parties

Suzanne Oliver
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As a part-time party planner, I believe every shindig must have these two things — a theme and favors. It’s just not a party without them. Coordination is key, and everyone, adult and child, loves a take-home treat.

Now the words winter, outdoor and party normally don’t jive, but I’m here to prove otherwise. Your back yard doesn’t have to be off limits during the chilly months of January and February. Besides, snow matches any color scheme. Here a few themes, outfitted with suggestions on decor and favors, that celebrate the wonders of winter.

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Winter Olympics

Who says they only happen every four years? Host your own games outdoors and invite guests to come dressed representing another country. Competitions could include a snowball fight and sledding race. Decorate the table and party area with the Olympic rings and winter sporting gear such as ice skates and skis. Set it up as an Olympic Village of sorts with patriotic flags flying. Serve food from around the world such as Brie from France, egg rolls from China and spanakopita from Greece. At the awards ceremony, you can distribute medals made of chocolate coins.


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Winter White

For timeless glamor, blanket everything in crisp white and then dot special accents in silver. Use white china and crystal stemware. Dress up the table with white linens, fake snow, paper snowflakes and flickering votive candles. Arrange a centerpiece out of delicate white flowers such as camellias, paperwhites, primroses and carnations. Outfit your guests in white mittens, scarves and earmuffs. Serve white foods from creamy dips to an iced cake. Set up a white hot chocolate station with bowls of mini marshmallows, peppermint candies, chocolate shavings and cookies. Offer a candy bar (a real crowd-pleaser) by setting out glass containers and filling them with little white candies. Then send your guests home with handmade snow globes.


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Snowman Blizzard

Ideal for kiddies, this theme circles around the snowman. To make a cute snowman place setting, start with a large platter as the body. Add a smaller plate on top for the head and a square napkin for the hat. Use a knife as a brim and a fork and spoon for the arms. Found that little jewel on Pinterest! Want more? Decorate Styrofoam cups with the faces of snowmen. For dessert, serve snowman cookies, cake pops or cupcakes. With orange and black icing, you can easily turn marshmallows into cute Frosty faces. You can even paint light bulbs to look like a snowman. End the party with a snowman-building contest.

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