It’s my birthday this week which means it’s time for my annual birthday picnic!!! I am lucky enough to live in the Washington D.C. area which means I have an amazing location to host my birthday picnic every year, the National Mall. And since we are further south it is usually warm enough here to celebrate with a picnic as well. Now there have been years where it snowed during my birthday picnic forcing it to be held inside and I am hoping that this year isn’t one of them!
Now to help you all host your own Birthday or just fabulous picnic here are some ideas and tips for you:
- Have the perfect picnic location! You can hold a picnic practically anywhere! It should be flat, dry, and scenic. You want to be able to spread out your blanket without soaking it, having your apples roll down the hill, and have some beautiful views to look out while dining. When picking your location you should also consider the on-site amenities like restrooms, running water, easily accessible for all of your guests, can it accommodate your party size, is it pet friendly if you’re bringing along your pup.
- Have the perfect company. What is a picnic without good friends and family to enjoy it with! Make sure you bring along those you love to enjoy the day.
- Have fun activities to do. Be it card games, frisbee, or a kite, whatever it may be it’s always a good idea to have some fun activities to go along with your picnic! Just make sure they are audience friendly. I wouldn’t bring Cards Against Humanity if my grandma was coming but hey that’s just me your grandma may be into that sort of thing.
- Pack a blanket. You don’t want to be left without blanket to sit on and use to spread out your yummy treats to enjoy. Sure the grass is fine, so is a nice flat rock or tree stump. But beach towels, old tablecloths, woven mats, blankets and quilts are great options that help keep you and your food off the ground.
- Pick a good time of day. Time can affect where you go and what you pack. Are you grilling for lunch or dinner? Packing some yummy brunch items to snack on? Packing the sandwiches for lunch? Is it going to be to cold in the morning or evening at this time of year so you need to go at high noon so you have some sun to warm up your picnic?
- Assess any unique needs of your guests. Grandma is coming so you’ll need an accessible location that she can walk to from the car and you’ll need to pack a folding chair so she doesn’t have to get all the way down to the ground? Will there be a lot of little ones running around? Then it’s time to pack some kid-friendly food, activities and games, so they have something to do while the grown-ups are chatting. Or maybe even have the picnic near a playground so they can run around and get some of that energy out.
- Pack a basket. You don’t actually need a basket though they are cute and picturesque. Coolers are more practical though heavy. Plastic grocery sacks are inexpensive and help keep things cool. Back packs are convienient when you need to like to your picnic location or if you have a heavy load.
- Make your yummy picnic food. Simple or fancy it doesn’t matter!!! Just go with your theme in your audience. Will you be packing all of the food or will it be a potluck occasion? (My birthday picnics are always potluck). Are children in attendance? Are there any allergies you need to watch out for? Think about who is coming and where you’re going and that will help you determine what food to bring along. Why not try one of these yummy picnic treats.
- Make sure your food is kept safe! Whatever menu you chose, you’ll want to keep the food at the proper temperature to avoid food borne illness. Bring a cooler if you are serving salads with a mayonnaise, eggs, poultry, or meat in them. If you pack raw meat or poultry to cook at your picnic, remember to keep it packaged separately. Cheese fares pretty well, but you’ll also want to keep it cool if you have a long ways to go before it will be served. You’ll also want to keep any leftovers cold for the trip home.
- Pack the drinks. Individual bottles of lemonade, soda, or water means you don’t have to bring cups along. If you are bringing alcohol with you make sure you are going to a location that allows you to do so. I know that my picnics on the National Mall are alcohol free!
- Don’t forget the cutlery. You’ll want to pack some disposable and reusable utensils, plates, and cups. Don’t forget the napkins, paper is easy and cloth is elegant.
- While we are in packing mode don’t forget a couple other essentials: insect repellant, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, condiments (salt and pepper especially), extra napkins or paper towels, and possibly matches for lighting birthday candles or the grill. And maybe even a first aid kit just in case. You can also pack a tray or two they are nice for setting drinks on so they don’t tip easily. Pack a few sharp knives just in case for cutting up fruits and veggies, or maybe slicing that birthday cake. And bottle opener for the drinks is also a must. And if your picnic will take place on a table clips to hold down your table cloth is always a plus.
- Don’t forget cleaning up items. Bring along plastic bags, aluminum foil and plastic wrap for leftovers or some plastic containers. Baby wipes are handy to clean up hands. And don’t forget the garbage bags so that you can leave your picnic location as you found it.
Need to pick up some picnic essentials? Check out some of our favorites below!
Check out pictures from this years birthday picnic