Here we are again, a new Covid variant knocking on the door and an uncertain Christmas hanging over us. We know infection rates are lower outdoors and it’s a safer place to gather, so let’s consider how to have a ‘Happy outdoor Christmas’ this year.
First things first, be prepared. Have you put your garden furniture away? Do you put it away in the autumn all ready to get out again for summer, or do you bundle it into the shed telling yourself you’ll ‘sort that out in the spring?’ Give it the once over and ensure if you need to get it out in the middle of winter that it is in a good state of repair.
Clean and air any warm blankets and throws you have. Christmas is a special time of year and not the moment to bring out anything moth-eaten or covered in dog hair. Short on warm blankets? order some now - you can’t beat a traditional welsh blanket for warmth and festive colours. Try the Welsh Girl in Hay on Wye - we swear by Julie’s woollen ponchos.
If you are going to be outside in winter you need to ensure both you and your guests are toasty warm. This is definitely the time to give your fire pit centre stage. There is nothing more comforting than to sit around a blazing fire, watching the flames dancing, hearing it crackle and feeling that wonderful warmth. Proven to lower your heart rate, this is also a mindful activity during a period that can be very stressful.
Ensure that you have a good supply of clean dry wood, either seasoned or kiln-dried and plenty of kindling and matches. We use and recommend Certainly Wood and if you haven’t got a local supplier you can order here. Clean out your fire pit well in advance so that the inside is clean and dry and ready to lay a fire. If you have a lid for your fire pit ensure it is clean and on properly.
If you can cook on your fire pit, think about what festive treats you can serve up. Mulled wine and mince pies are always a winner. Look up our Christmas recipes on our blog - we have some great ideas for nibbles, hot cocktails and treats and this weekend will be showing you how to cook a full Christmas turkey dinner in the fire pit. Practice cooking it all outdoors over the fire before you go live for your loved ones. It will make it less stressful for you and you’ll get a good idea of timings and exactly what is needed in terms of equipment and ingredients.
Lights are essential. This year is definitely the year to have a Christmas tree outdoors festooned with twinkling lights. With the short and dark December days, good Christmas lights will bring a sense of comfort and cheer and help set a magical scene. Practically it will also mean you don’t fall over and break your neck in the dark.
Going to be alone this Christmas? If the worst happens and you find yourself isolating or isolated, getting outside may be a chance for some distanced social interaction. Even a simple wave from a neighbour can bring a sense of joy and togetherness. It may take some effort, but wrap up warm, get outdoors, light your fire pit and be your own beacon of light and hope.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas we send our best wishes for a safe and healthy one full of fireside cheer, comfort and joy