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There is, perhaps, one thing that solidly defines how Southern Californians enjoy holiday entertaining throughout the winter season and that is to take things outdoors. After all, we live in one of the most beautiful and temperate areas in the United States and, well, we just love to spend time surrounded by gorgeous views while enjoying temps that are the envy of our far-flung relatives and friends. With these tips, you will be ready to host a holiday fete that will be remembered for years to come.

Start with Drinks and Appetizers

Tres Chic bar cart Hausers Patio
This Tres Chic mobile bar cart is beautifully styled and oh so practical

Of course, the best way to get any party started is with a variety of tempting beverages and delicious appetizers. When your guests arrive be sure to have an array of choices available. We recommend having a bar cart at the ready, fully stocked with all the traditional liquors as well as a good variety of red and white wines. Incorporate some of this year’s hottest alcoholic beverage trends, such as fruit-infused beers, spiked seltzers, canned wines (surprisingly good) and single barrel bourbons.

seaside casual buffet Hausers Patio
This buffet from Seaside is a great choice for a lounge area in a side yard

Trendy appetizers are also a good choice. Be sure to have a sizable outdoor buffet filled with trays of this year’s most popular food such as street tacos and sliders. No holiday party would be complete without a charcuterie board to include a nice variety of unusual cheeses (this year burrata rules), cured meats, brined olives and a scattering of fruits such as figs, berries and citrus slices. Several different types of mustards, crackers and crusty bread complete the board and allow your guests to comfortably nosh throughout the night.

Provide Comfortable Seating

Barlow Tyrie dining table and chairs Hausers Patio

While you may want your guests to roam through your luxury backyard patio and mingle with others, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have enough seating for everyone – especially when it comes to dinner time. Now may be the perfect time to invest a new outdoor dining set with chairs for 10 guests or more.

Castellano Bungalow sofa Hausers Patio

In addition to your outdoor dining set, seating arrangements sprinkled throughout the space encourage guests to form intimate groups while enjoying drinks and appetizers. An outdoor sofa or two is always a good choice for holiday entertaining; surround it with lounge chairs and end tables so everyone has a place to set their drink. Ottomans are another way to provide extra seating; many outdoor ottomans function as a table or storage space when not in use as a seat, allowing them to serve double or triple duty.

Make It Warm and Cozy

outdoor gas fireplace Hausers Patio
The American Fyre Grand Cordova fireplace provides plenty of space for gathering around the flames

Finally, ensure that your guests have access to warmth on a breezy winter night in southern California. An outdoor gas fireplace as the centerpiece of the outdoor living room is the choice of many San Diegans for holiday entertaining. There’s just something about a roaring fire that draws people with mesmerizing, dancing flames and the promise of cozy heat. Another option is outdoor heaters, standup or installed along the underside of eaves. In addition to an outdoor gas fireplace or heaters, toss knitted throws and blankets into a basket near the hearth, or drape them across outdoor sofas and chairs.

This holiday season do things San Diego style by serving trendy drinks and appetizers. For the best holiday entertaining, always include plenty of comfortable seating and a source of heat to ensure everyone is invited to stay and relax.

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