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Today is the 25th of November, which means that it’s precisely one month until Christmas day. If you haven’t already starting planning for the big day, it’s high time you started!

There’s plenty to do, of course. You’ll need to sort out the food, the decorations, and – if your relatives are coming to stay – the extra sleeping space. And then there’s the shopping; people will be expecting presents on Christmas morning, and you can’t let them down!

But what about the part after the shopping - where does your family congregate when it’s time to open the presents? In the living room, perhaps? Or maybe you exchange gifts in the dining room, after you’ve polished off Christmas dinner?

How about in the garden? If you’re lucky enough to have a gazebo or some other kind of sheltered area out the back, there’s a feast of festive fun just waiting to unfold in your outdoor space!  You’ll have to wrap up warm, obviously, but spending Christmas Day in your own personal winter wonderland can be a brilliant alternative to the usual practice of lounging around in front of the TV. Christmas trees look great outdoors, and keeping it out the back is a great way to prevent those pesky pine needles from cluttering up your carpet. Put the tree up where it’s safe from the elements, arrange the presents underneath it, and add some decorations to create your very own cosy Christmas grotto!

The problem, naturally, is that traditions die hard and that goes treble for Christmas traditions. If you’ve got a big routine that you follow every time the 25th of December rolls around – wake up, open presents, have lunch, spend the rest  of the day playing with presents/watching Christmas television/getting tipsy – then you might find it hard to loosen up and squeeze some garden time into your schedule. But the beauty of this idea is that you don’t have to make time – you could open your presents in the garden, have some hot mulled wine and a mince pie outside, and then retreat indoors for  business as usual from there on out. The warm glow of TV will feel even nicer when you’ve been outside in the cold immediately beforehand.

Garden in the snow

Photo by Lee Jordan

Oh, and just to make that Yuletide scene even more picturesque, there’s a real possibility that it will come with a layer of white icing on top. There’s a 20% likelihood of snowfall this Christmas – higher if you live north of Yorkshire - which means that you’ve got a 1 in 5 chance of having some fresh white powder to shuffle through en route to your Christmas grotto. Just imagine how good your patio will look: present-pregnant Christmas tree at the centre, colourful lights and tinsel strewn about the place, and snow all around it. How idyllic does that sound?

Christmas in the living room is fine, but Christmas in the garden could be truly magical. Give it a try, see how you like it, and if it’s not for you, you can always grab the presents, scurry inside, and enjoy the sight of your gorgeous garden through a window while sat in the relative warmth of your house. That won’t happen, though; do it right, and you’ll still be out in the back yard by Boxing Day!

So break with tradition and do something different this December. Tell your family that they’ll be opening their Christmas presents in the back garden this year, and cross your fingers for some snow to frolic in afterwards.