Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Christmas in the Countryside and What You Need to Know

Christmas in the countryside is a beautiful experience, with frosty fields sparkling in the Winter sun and quaint village festivities to get involved with.  Supping mulled wine in front of an open fire in a country pub and taking long, crisp walks with the pup all adds to the wonderful charm of Christmas in the countryside.  If you're thinking of spending Christmas in the countryside, here's a few tips to prepare for the season ahead.

1. You will need a 4 x 4 (or know a farmer with a tractor)

 Navigating country lanes in Winter is an experience in itself.  Especially if you're a country Mum with several excitable children squabbling in the back and at least half a dozen Spaniels and Labradors, whilst trying to successfully wind your way through mud or snow riddled lanes and avoid being squished by on coming farm machinery.

2. Stack up on the mulled wine and mince pies (homemade of course)

Christmas in the countryside is a very social affair.  There's always somebody popping round to drop off a card, a bottle of home made sloe gin (to sample of course) or to catch up on the latest gossip.  Often with a dog or two in tow, so don't be too precious about Winter sludge being dragged through the kitchen.  

This is, of course, unless your nearest human neighbour is too many miles away and you only have to be concerned with neighbours of the cattle or sheep variety escaping in to your back yard.

3. Layers, layers and more layers!

Make sure you have an abundance of knitwear and a decent Winter jacket.  Invest in a good pair of neoprene wellies to keep toes toasty and a hat to keep the rain or snow off.  Country folk are made of sterner stuff when it comes to the British weather so make sure you don't miss out on all the wonderful, and often outdoor, Christmas activities by kitting yourself out with suitable attire.  Fleece gilets are a country staple for layering, along with a robust waterproof and windproof coat. A splash of tweed wouldn't be out of place either - although, we'd recommend avoiding the head to toe tweed ensemble of plus fours, waistcoat, sports jacket and deer stalker hat look (unless you're on a shoot day).

4. The Christmas tree farm visit

Country dwellers tend to appreciate natures gifts more than most, and that includes the Christmas tree.  You won't see a plastic Christmas tree in a country house (if you do, it's a rare breed indeed!).  A trip to the local Christmas tree farm is usually a family outing due to the likely hood of Dad returning with the nearest 'that'll do' tree.  It's usually Mum who supervises the Christmas tree purchase as the dimensions, spread and species are all important things to consider, don't you know!

5. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire is actually a thing, not just a song

A crackling open fire is as common in the countryside as pigeons are to the city.  So roasting a few seasonal chestnuts on one is a rather satisfying and rewarding activity to take part in.  The sweet, nutty flavour of a roasted chestnut is sure to bring out your festive spirit and also gives the man of the house an opportunity to poke and prod the fire some more, which, of course, is the Winter equivalent of a BBQ.

6. Christmas Day down the local

There's something special about taking a stroll in the Winter cold to the local pub and being greeted by log burner warmth and a festive and jovial atmosphere.  With an abundance of waggy tails and friendly faces on Christmas Day, it's a standard tradition for villagers to gather at the local pub for a mulled wine whilst the turkey slowly roasts in the Aga. 

7. Get your walking feet at the ready

If you reside in the country, you will have a dog (or several).  And with a dog comes many miles of walking across beautiful landscapes.  We love our walks, and one of the most enjoyable is the Christmas day post lunch ramble.  Wrap up well and embrace whatever the weather throws at you.  And if you just so happen to pass a country pub on route, it would be considered rude (or mad) not to pop inside and warm up for a while before the long trek home.

Picture Credits: Pinterest