Keep Christmas simple by spending the day al fresco. Just add food, whanau and a few stylish decorations. Here are four looks to get you inspired
1. Create a coastal Christmas feel
Even if a holiday by the beach isn’t on the cards this year, you can still bring a relaxed, beachy vibe to your celebrations.
+ Collect shells and driftwood from the beach, and make or buy strings of wooden beads.
+ You can also buy a selection of ceramic starfish at gift shops. These can be threaded with shells onto a piece of twine and hung as a garland.
+ Natural tones, shades of blue and striped accents will bring the look of the seaside to your outdoor area.
+ Keep it light and fresh with beachy influences. To recreate the beach in your backyard you could even use sand to make a Christmas tree base.
+ Natural textures such as seagrass, raffia and cotton will work well with this setting. Twine and rope will also add a nautical touch.
+ A hammock or hanging chair will set the scene, or you can simply layer cushions and beach mats.
+ Bring the casual, coastal influence into the food you serve – think fresh fruit, seafood and tropical drinks.
2. Celebrate big with minimalist style
If you live in an apartment or a house with a small patio, you can still have a fun festive season outdoors.
+ Instead of a traditional Christmas tree, find a beautiful branch or decorate a small tree of any kind if you have one.
+ A few white decorations will look clean and classic, especially when placed against a dark wall.
+ Keep colours simple and mostly monochrome, with one or two extra hues for added interest.
+ Remember, things don’t have to look perfect – randomly placed objects will add to the setting’s charm.
+ If you don’t have an outdoor table, place a rug or some mats on the floor to make the space comfortable for picnicking.
3. Bring some woodland magic to Christmas
A rustic upcycled Christmas setting is easy and affordable to create. All you need is a small tree, a few layers of fabric and some creative flair.
+ Handmade decorations will bring an artisanal feel to your occasion.
+ Use a small log to create the round wooden decorations pictured on this tree. Saw 2cm-thick discs off the log, drill a hole in each and thread a piece of fabric through for hanging. These would make great coasters and gift tags, too.
+ Use hessian, fabric, paper and old boxes to wrap your presents. These can be reused afterwards. Natural materials and raw edges are key.
+ Use twine or torn fabric in place of ribbons and add dried or fresh flowers and foliage as a finishing touch.
+ For your table setting, use a frayed piece of fabric or a linen tablecloth and hunt for mismatched crockery and vintage furniture at your local op-shop.
4. Throw a festive fiesta
Bright and bold hues in a mix of materials will make for a fun family celebration. More is definitely merrier when it comes to this look.
+ Hang baubles from a tree, put the Christmas stockings on show, add fresh flowers to the table and mix and match colours and textures.
+ Embrace the summer season with bright colours and bold patterns on outdoor cushions, rugs and dinnerware.
+ Create a chill-out zone with a bright blanket and some cushions for afternoon lazing after the Christmas feast.
+ Presents wrapped in simple craft paper can be livened up with colourful ribbons.
+ Recycled glass jars with ribbon tied around them will make cute vases.
+ Use bright fabric or wrapping paper as trim for the table.
+ If there’s a shady spot in your garden, adorn the area with baubles as this will be a great area for present opening.
+ Don’t forget fairy lights, but make sure they are waterproof.
Words by: Fiona Ralph.