Winter picnics. They ring rather like strawberries and cream in January, or mince pies in June. Something that’s not meant to be, out of season. But a winter picnic is something quite different to a summer picnic. Winter picnics are lined with luxury, fueled with festivity. They’re a kind of novel celebration, marked with prosecco in plastic glasses and mini Christmas crackers hiding in the hamper. They’re a chance to get out of the stuffy indoors and feel the fresh air pinch your cheeks like a fond grandparent. So don’t get cold feet about midwinter picnicking; go all out and go for it. And wear warm socks.
With a delicious potato soup, rotisserie chicken, a steaming cup of tea, hot water bottles, thick woolen blankets, and a little bottle of prosecco, this picnic was set to warm both body and soul, even at the chilly temperature of 5 degrees.
So, what’s needed for a truly wintry picnic?
1. Bring lots of layers
Number 1, and most importantly, LAYER UP!! Even if it’s a mild winter, like the one we’re experiencing right now, sitting still for a long time (even if you are drinking prosecco) will make you feel cold. Like my fellow picnic-potty friend below, Phoebe, bring many, many warm layers. That means:
- Long-sleeved shirt
- A polo-neck perhaps
- Wool jumper (really, wool does keep you warm)
- A wool cardigan
- Wool scarf (or two)
- Puffer jacket
Not only will you fight out the cold, but you’ll feel really quite warm and cosy.
2. Pack warm food
Whether it’s a soup, a rotisserie chicken, or a thermos of tea, make sure your picnic is mainly made up of hot things. There’s nothing more comforting than feeling the fresh air on your cheeks whilst sipping on a hot potato soup. Make sure you pack hot food/drink into thermos’s, insulated bags and tin foil.
3. Warm woolen blankets
4. Hot water bottles!
And just a little tip with these essentials, wrap the hot water bottles in the woolen blankets so the blankets can warm up. Not only that, the hot water bottle is a great surprise for your picnickers!
You’ll need chairs for your winter picnic, as the ground is likely to be cold and damp. Plus, chairs make for a very civilized outing.
Make a winter wonderland of your picnic with battery operated lights, Christmas crackers, flowers, or any other sparkly decorations you can find. They all help to turn a picnic into a truly festive picnic.
When you’ve chatted about everything from love life, to family life, to work life, there’s only one thing left to do. Play a game! A great idea for a great winter picnic is to bring a game, whether that’s a board game, a card game, or charades, (the latter being how my picnicking companion Sarah and I amused ourselves at this picnic).
A little bottle of prosecco will lift your winter picnic up from a plain picnic to a festive one, but if you want to really push the boat out, make some mulled wine and put that in a thermos. In fact, scrap everything else, just bring the mulled wine.
9. Good company
But what’s a picnic, let alone a festive picnic, without excellent company?
And did I mention Christmas crackers?
In fact, we ended up staying until it was pitch black, and probably little more than a few degrees above freezing, adamant that we were going to get the storm kettle to work so we could have our cup of tea.
We succeeded in the end. (Not quite boiling, but a warm cup of tea nonetheless. Enough to warm the cockles).