Preparing for holiday celebrations is extra challenging this year as many are trying to balance beloved Thanksgiving traditions with coronavirus safety recommendations. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, Utah health guidelines suggest moving gatherings outside. Luckily, Matt Dickamore from Denton House Design proves that outdoor spaces can stage beautiful, memorable Thanksgiving celebrations. Bundle up in your favorite sweater, take the turkey outside and you may discover you don’t miss the dining room table after all.

Do Up Your Deck

Outdoor Thanksgiving, Deck, Jordanelle, Lanterns, Throw pillows, Lap blankets, Sunflower centerpiece, Cider
Photo by Adam Finkle

A few simple additions can transform an outdoor sitting area from so-so to special and inviting. On a deck overlooking the Jordanelle, Dickamore sets the stage for an afternoon respite clusters of lanterns, cushy throw pillows, luxe lap blankets and a relaxed centerpiece of sunflowers. Stay warm with hot cider as you wait for the full Thanksgiving feast. “It’s all about casual and comfortable,” he says. 

Candles, Lanters, Cranberries, Branched berries, Cinnamon sticks
Photo by Adam Finkle

TIP: Surround candles with cranberries, cinnamon sticks or branched berries to give lanterns a festive touch.

Take It Outside

Outdoor Thanksgiving, Patio, Outdoor fireplace, Pillows, Blankets, Pumpkins, Candlelit lanterns,
Photo by Adam Finkle

Fashion plenty of cozy spots, indoors and out. Dickamore crafts an inviting patio setting by pulling seating around the outdoor fireplace and decorating the area with pillows, blankets and clusters of pumpkins and candlelit lanterns.

Grouped lanterns
Photo by Adam Finkle

TIP: “Grouping elements like lanterns makes a stronger impact,” Dickamore says.

Stage Some S’mores

Photo by Adam Finkle

As we upend so many traditions this year, why not try something new for dessert? Create a tray of s’mores fixings to make a fireside get-together festive and fun—plus, you won’t spend all day slaving over pie crust. 

Pull from Nature

Outdoor Thanksgiving, Pinecones, Foraged leaves, Vintage photos, Glass table
Photo by Adam Finkle

Foraged leaves and pinecones mix with vintage photos to charm a glass-topped table’s seasonal display.

Read more about holidays and celebrations here.

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Brad Mee
Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.