One of the best things about living in Australia is that Christmas falls at a time when the weather is balmy, summer fruits are in abundance and the vast majority of us have a week or so off work. And for a long time now this has meant celebrating Christmas Day out of doors, whether it’s having a BBQ or picnic in a park, or gathering family and friends on your patio or deck. So, here’s how to make your outdoor Christmas Day one to remember by following a few simple steps and sticking to a plan.
1. Check the weather forecast
While not 100% reliable, the long-range forecast can give you a pretty good idea what the weather is going to be like on Christmas Day, which will have a determining effect on what you have planned. If it’s going to be hot & humid, for example, and you’re planning a Christmas Day lunch around a big table on the deck, think about ways you can maximise everyone’s comfort levels without too much effort. Fans are the best and most efficient way to keep the air moving around the table, whether it’s a couple of strategically placed standard fans or your patio’s ceiling fans. And don’t forget about the BBQ chef – it’s a hot job at the best of times, and BBQ-ing on Christmas Day can be extra stressful. So keep the chef plied with lots of cold drinks, and make sure the BBQ area is well-ventilated and preferably in the shade.
2. Plan the meal well ahead
We all know the weeks leading up to Christmas are hectic so, around a month ahead of time, sit down with those involved and plan the meal, taking the predicted weather into account of course! Divvy up the jobs between your guests, so it’s not all falling on you to serve up everything. If you’re planning on having seafood, order it now so you’re not caught out fighting over an under-sized crayfish at the market, or picking through slightly less than fresh looking prawns. And, once you’ve planned your meal, write a comprehensive list of all the things you’ll need to get your hands on before Christmas. Slowly build up the ingredients you need for your dishes, rather than leaving it all to the last minute. Christmas Eve is hectic enough without having to run around from shop to shop trying to find some decent glacé cherries!
3. Source extra furniture
Some of us might already have a beautifully set-up outdoor room on our patio or deck, however many are probably a bit short on chairs or a table that’s long enough to accommodate the whole extended family. To avoid finding yourself one chair down on Christmas morning, do a count of what’s on hand and sketch out your seating arrangements on a piece of paper. Once you know what you need to source, set about doing so at least by the weekend before Christmas, whether it’s borrowing from friends or family, or purchasing a few outdoor chairs from your local hardware store. And, most importantly, make sure they’re comfortable, as forcing people to sit through a long hot lunch on plastic or hard timber can really impact on their enjoyment. Add a few cushions for extra comfort, particularly thinking about the older members of the family.
4. Clean up your patio or deck
A couple of weekends before Christmas Day, assess the state of your deck or patio. Does it need a thorough clean or just a sweep and a dust? Or perhaps the pot plants need a prune and a mulch, so they’re looking extra happy on Christmas Day. Whatever the case, spend some time cleaning and clearing so you know that when the day arrives, you don’t have to be sweating over a broom or hosing down the cobwebs. Put all the excess outdoor stuff away in the shed, such as tools and toys, so you can see what you have to work with. This simple step will ensure that you’re approaching the oncoming rush with as clear a head and outdoor space as possible, making everything just that little bit less stressful.
5. Keep decorations simple
Decorating your outdoor space for Christmas is lots of fun and looks great, but don’t go overboard, as this can add a whole other dimension of expense and stress to your day. Utilise things that you have on hand – solar fairy lights and tinsel for example – and don’t spend too much time worrying about how things look; after all, it’s the company and food that makes a Christmas Day special, not the decorations. And this goes for your table setting as well – keep it as simple as possible, so people have lots of elbow room and there’s plenty of space for the plates of food. Check out our post on holiday season decorating for some great ideas that are not only easy but won’t break the bank.
Making and sticking to a plan is one of the best ways to ensure your Christmas Day goes off without a hitch, which then means you’ll actually get a chance to relax and enjoy yourself!
Wishing you a peaceful & safe Christmas and a very Happy New Year from everyone at Lifestyle Patios.