When I shared this setting last year, people gasped, “How could you take all that glass outside!” and “Oh, I would never do that with kids because they would break everything!”
Well, let me tell you, all the tableware, including the clear pieces are ALL plastic, and it all fits in a few tough tubs so you can throw it in the car and set it up anywhere!
Christmas in Australia is very much an outdoor affair and I adore eating outside. I’ve listed below how I put this setting together and other general tips I’ve gleaned from eating outdoors on many camping trips.
Throw everything in tuff tubs to transport anywhere
- Plastic tableware
- Pine cones
- Battery operated LED Lights
- Battery operated tea light
- Rubber tubs
- Picnic mat (one for the ground and one used as a table cloth)
- Wood Rounds
- Strand of garland
- Plastic tumbler (for decoration)
- Small Christmas tree
- Small baubles
A regular tablecloth works well, but I like the idea of using a picnic mat or rug as a tablecloth outdoors. A traditional tartan picnic mat looks fabulously Christmassy in this setting. For the table covering here, I used a red and white picnic mat.
As a general rule, I pick two main colours then a third (and sometimes fourth) as highlights. So the main theme here is the red and white, and then bottle green as a highlight.
I found someone to cut untreated logs to size for a rustic look (found the person on Gumtree). The beauty of this is it’s heavy so the table covering won’t budge. They weren’t expensive either! This is probably the hardest thing to transport, however, I simply put it at the base of the tubs and put everything else on top.
Tip: Other items that can be used to layer the table if wood rounds are hard to secure: placemats, table runner, long piece of wood that runs the length of the table.
I added a strand of holly garland and finished off with a scatter of collected pine cones.
For the centrepiece I went for something simple, easy and outdoor friendly.
Plastic Wine Centrepiece
3 Plastic Wine Glasses
Small baubles (colour of choice)
3 battery-operated candles (use blu-tack to attach)
To add to the glass look-a-like theme, I added an upside down tumbler with two battery-operated candles to give more light. Although never as good as the real thing, these candles can give off a surprisingly decent amount of light.
Battery operated tea light
- Use the tumbler upright with one tea light inside
- Place a Christmas decoration or mini-tree underneath the plastic up instead of the light for a different look
No outdoor Christmas setting is truly complete without the sparkle of lights. If you have access to electricity, a heap of outdoor lights hung around a patio or in a nearby tree creates a lovely atmosphere.
Battery-operated LED lights are portable. Just pop a few batteries in and hang from wherever you like. (I used the same lights in some of the table setting here)
This small Christmas Tree costs $5 and can be set up anywhere. Gifts can be placed under the tree or inside a dedicated tub or box (to keep them from accidently being kicked around the place).
Tip: this size tree works as a table centrepiece too.
We camp as a family so have learned many tips and tricks for eating outside, some of which I’m sharing below.
1. Outdoor friendly tableware
Plastic plates and cups go a long way in aiding a stress-free experience, especially if there are a lot of people and family around. This really helps with pack up too: throw everything in a big tub and cart it to where you need it when finished.
2. Create spaces
Think in spaces, even when it comes to food and drink. For example:
- a large mat on the ground for lounging
- fold-up chairs for sitting
- drinks in an esky or tubs filled with ice
- a table for food and another for sitting if you can (fold-up tables are brilliant for this type of thing)
- Have a bin available: line a large rubber tub with a plastic bag
3. Food & drink tips
- While a little more expensive, drinks in serving size — cans, poppers and bottles — make things easy when outside. Place in an esky or container filled with ice and guests can help themselves without the need for cups. This saves having bottles clogging up the table too.
- A large container with water sitting on the edge of a table is ideal
- Think of food in categories. This makes it easy when allocating who brings what at Christmastime.
a) meat or protein
b) side items: salad or vegetables
c) carbohydrates: bread rolls, potato, rice
e) condiments: butter, tomato sauce, salt & pepper
Ice or Scrap Bucket for table
Make your own table bucket (ideal for seafood scraps) to go with a colour chosen theme. Use a hot glue gun to attach a ribbon around the top of a small metal bucket.
Rubber tubs are fantastic for all kids of outdoor use, including drinks.
I set up this space in a matter of minutes. Hooray for Christmas picnics is all I have to say at the end.
Other ideas for outdoor Christmas decorating
- Citronella candle
- Jars with tea lights to line the driveway
- Outdoor lights
- Pots filled with holly and pine cones
- Decorate an outdoor tree with baubles
- Hang pine cones from ribbon along the windows
- Make a nature garland
- Include a fun tub for kids with items like bubble blowing, balloons, chalk