‘Tis the season to be jolly, yet in the (not so festive) spirit of being jolly safe, many people are having to rethink their festive gatherings. With most of the country going straight into tier 2, it means that the rule of six is back – as it was at the end of Lockdown v1: groups of up to six can meet outside.
That rule didn’t seem so tricky to handle in the summer of ’20, but come the winter months and entertaining outside is a fairly chilling prospect (literally). Here are some ideas to make your outside space work for you – and up to five other people.
Light it up
It may be getting dark early, but don’t see this as a limitation; see it as an opportunity to fill your garden, decking or terrace with beautiful lights. Festoon plants, bushes and fences with fairy lights to give a magical, festive feel.
TIP – save the planet and money by binning the battery-powered fairy lights. There is a time and a place for them, and it’s not in your garden. Invest in solar powered lights or get in touch with your local electrician to safely install an exterior power point.
Few things are cosier than sitting around a firepit with a glass of something warming and a big pile of marshmallows. Sitting around a firepit naturally enforces social distancing and is much more relaxing in these stressful times than sitting watching TV.
TIP – don’t have a firepit? Pop to your local recycling centre; washing machine drums can be converted to firepits cheaply and easily.
The days of everyone budging up next to each other on a bench or chair are long gone. These days, instead of a “sit where you like” arrangement, it is important that you think about seating so people can maintain their social distance. If you are lucky enough to have a long table, make sure that households sit together with at least 1 metre between them.
TIP – if you have been meaning to invest in new outdoor furniture, now is the time! Check out local carpenters – many will have some beautiful handmade pieces that are built to last for generations.
Say “no” to nibbles
Unless you are planning on doing a sharing platter per household, nibbles are a no-no. Stick to hot plates of food that are designated per person.
TIP - Even better, make a big pan of chilli, stick it on the fire outside, and let people help themselves.
Build a wall
A little bit of windbreak can make a surprising amount of difference on a breezy night. If you have a decking or patio with rails, consider adding a temporary wall – Perspex sheets or even tarpaulin stapled or taped to the rails will take the edge off the wind.
TIP – if creating an outdoor shelter or fitting a glass or Perspex decking rail has been on your to-do list, now is the time to get it done. Get in touch with your local builder or handyman for a quote.
This year hasn’t gone according to plan – for anyone. But by coming together with our communities and supporting each other, we can make the best of it. For more inspiration, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.