Hosting Christmas Outdoors

Christmas Table Centrepiece outdoors

Hosting Christmas outdoors is normal in Australia.  From backyard BBQs, pool parties, and celebrations at the beach, celebrating this holiday season in the scorching sunshine is a bit different from other parts of the world.  Getting your outdoor space ready for Christmas can be a daunting task.  We have created a checklist to help you organise yourself (or start the delegation) to make your Christmas at home in the backyard the best yet.

If you are hosting Christmas outdoors this year, do yourself a favour and print this out, or save it to your phone, for future reference.

Outdoor Christmas Checklist | Green Image Lifestyle

Hosting Christmas Outdoors- Here’s your checklist and some ideas to help you out…

Backyard Clean Up

Time for that last-minute clean-up of the backyard.  Get the gernie out and time to pressure clean the pavement, decks, and patios.  Give the table a good scrub and clear the cobwebs from the ceiling and under the eaves.  Mow the yard, whipper snip the edges, and pull out some of those pesky weeds you’ve been meaning to do for a while now.  De-grease and polish the BBQ to cook the gourmet Christmas brekky, lunch, and dinner.  This will lift your outdoor space and you will have a great sense of accomplishment seeing it all sparkle.


The fun part.  Choose a theme/colour and stick with it.  Whether it be the traditional colours red, green, and gold, or something with a more modern twist like blues and pinks, it will be sure to create a festive atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Some ideas to help with the decorating if you don’t know where to start; pop some Christmas cushions on the chairs or outdoor lounge, make the outdoor Christmas tree a feature, pots and planters with greenery or Christmas plants (e.g. poinsettias for pops of colour), garlands and wreaths that will stand the elements outdoors, set the table as your focal point (see next point), Christmas lights (see point below).

Hosting Christmas Outdoors with a festive table setting

Setting the Table

The perfect way to host Christmas outdoors is with a perfectly set table.  Run with your chosen colour theme and start with the base, do you need a tablecloth or is your table a feature itself? If you need additional tables (e.g. trestle tables) then a tablecloth can hide them and make everything look uniform.  Next, put down a table runner to tie the whole table together.  Depending on your style and budget, fabric choices for this can be anything from silk, linen, hessian, or even brown butcher paper.

For stand-out place settings, there are a few things to consider.  Start with the placemat of choice.  This is a great start to adding colour and interest. Pop some outdoor-friendly plates, bowls, and glassware (unbreakable ones are usually the best for outdoor settings), top with a napkin (check this Christmas napkin folding idea from the Style Curator), and finish with a personal touch (name cards, napkin rings, small gift).

Finish off the table with the piece de resistance, the centerpiece.  This is the focal point of the whole table and reflects your theme/colours.  Potted plants and/or vases of greenery complement the outdoor lifestyle and the natural elements.  Candles, lanterns and table lights provide an ambiance and glow.  Place some Christmas ornaments along the table in a garland for an easy effective festive touch.  Use some of your fancy serving ware and platters filled with scrumptious food for people to pick at (e.g. breads, candy, fruit and nuts).


You will most likely have a few more people than your normal backyard get-together at Christmas.  It is important to ensure that you have enough seating for everyone so that people don’t feel they have to stand all day.  This may require two or more tables, set up additional trestle tables if need be, they can be easily dressed in table linen and then folded away for storage afterward.  Stock up on additional sitting options, anything from stacker chairs to store in the garage, a mix of indoor and outdoor chairs, stools, and benches is always a great option too.  Setting up a separate kids’ table will also help with the seating numbers around the table.  Outdoor lounge areas are a nice addition to sitting around a table too.


There is nothing more that brings an outdoor area to life than fresh greenery.  Use pots to liven up any space by planting an established plant and giving it that instant homely feeling.  Tidy up the garden beds and feed your plants so they are looking happy and healthy for the big day (We The Wild will do the trick in getting your plants lush again).

Outdoor Lighting Coming Soon to GIL


Considering your outdoor lighting might be something you overlook if you have the standard outdoor lighting in your house.  You can create a fun, festive ambiance with the inclusion of fairy lights, festoon lights, outdoor solar lanterns, and battery-operated table lights for a moody table setting. Your outdoor lights don’t have to be bright spotlights over the BBQ and lighting the backdoor. Opt for a more subtle lighting effect for a more inviting setting.

Christmas Tree

Put a live Christmas Tree in a pot outside (or a fake one, no judgment here) and decorate the tree for some festive flair.  This will give an area for presents to be put and people to gather round with a drink in hand and most likely (not) sing Christmas tunes.

Backyard Cricket is an Aussie Christmas Fave

Kids/Games Area

Usually set away from the eating area, the kids’ (and big kids) zone has activities and games to keep everyone entertained.  Whether it be Christmas crafts and colouring in on the deck, playing bean bag toss on the lawn, or the Aussie favourite, a game of backyard cricket, there is sure to be plenty of laughs to be had when the family and friends get together. Click Here for some Christmas Game ideas.

Food Prep

Christmas in Australia is usually quite warm and our choice of lunch and dinner varies from that of other countries.  Cold meats, salads, and BBQs are hot on the menus of many Aussie families.  This is perfect for your outdoor Christmas Celebration.  These can be made and prepped ahead of time, eliminating some of the stress in the kitchen on Christmas Day.  Check out some of my favourite salads from Thermobexta, perfect for your Christmas feast.

Christmas Favourites on Spotify

Outdoor Music

The one sound you don’t want to hear on Christmas Day is crickets.  Have the Christmas carols in the background setting the scene and inviting people to have a singalong.  Whether you have the voice of an angel or not, you’re encouraged to belt out a tune or two.  Spotify have a Christmas Playlist for every genre, but we love ‘Christmas Favourites‘ in our house. From Mariah to Wham, and rocking our to Barnesy in the backyard, is sure to tickle everyone’s fancy.

Using a portable weatherproof speaker is ideal for background music.  You can hide it in the garden, around the corner, up on a shelf, or even in the Christmas tree.  The Ultimate Ears has a selection of sizes to suit your needs and puts out excellent sound (so you can crank it up once grandma has gone home).

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