Scottish Xmas Garden Party in the Cold !

taylorc_geoNovember 12, 2006

Who ever heard of it...!! we are having a xmas party in our garden in Scotland. It will be very cold. We live in the country, so it is very dark (ie. no glare from street lights) and we plan to have a big bonfire (one of the reasons we are having this party in the first place as we have a load of wood to burn)along with putting up a gazibo. We want to create a warm, sparkling, magical environment, using loads of candles, lanterns, fairly lights, anything glittery, or that glows (on a low budget!). Any ideas would be most welcome. Many thanks. Taylor

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I think your party sounds fantastic! Everyone will enjoy gathering around the fire. If it's clear, maybe you will be able to see some stars that night! Do you know the local astronomer? :-) For lighting, we've used dozens of glass jars (inexpensive by the case), put sand at the bottom, and dropped in tealights - very pretty scattered around the garden. But you'll have the bonfire, so I recommend using more electric lights because you don't have to light them, and relight them...

Make sure to have some warm drinks: mulled wine, maybe some soups, and lots of big mugs, insulated ones if possible. Tell everyone to dress warmly on the invitations.

This is my kind of party... I want to go to the Ice Hotel but my husband won't even consider it.

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 11:40PM
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I saw a "designer garden" once that was lit to look like dusk ( even though we were viewing it at noon!) that used CD's punched with a hole and strung on monofilament....and all lights from all directions reflected in them as they moved in the breeze...
If you have trees and bushes, used ( or new...they are so chaep) cd's would reflect the fire light from the periphery of the garden.
Sounds lovely...will you be serving haggis?
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 10:40AM
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Well, hello...
I like theme parties. Since you live in Scotland, I don't guess wearing kilts and playing bagpipes would be very different or exciting. This probably sounds crazy, but I think a Texas-style party could be fun. (It can get really cold in Texas, especially in the panhandle area.) Anyway, a campfire would be perfect. I have attended Halloween parties where the main dish was chili (vegetarian, beef is traditional, chicken, etc.) You can make it as spicy hot (or not) as you like with the seasonings. It is fun to cook and simmer the chili in a huge, huge big ol' black kettle or cauldron over an open fire. Think Macbeth. If you don't have any cowboy cooks there, anyone good with their hands could rig a way to hang the cooking pot over the fire at the correct height. You can find a gillion recipes for chili on the Internet. I like beans in mine, but authentic Texas chili is beef only. I think it must have been those crazy Californians who orginiated the *chicken* chili. The condiments can make or break chili. Grated cheese, chopped onions, tostados (fried corn tortillas), salsa, black olives, hot-hot jalapeno peppers, and one of my favorites - avocado. Hot cheese dip is good with tortilla chips. Hot strong Mexican-style coffee sweetened and also seasoned with cinnamon is good after and to warm up with. You could go wild and make Mexican caramel flan (sort of like creme brulee)for dessert and/or Mexican wedding cookies. I'm trying to think of hot things as it will be so cold outside. Beer is typically served with chili and soft drinks for those who don't imbibe.
Couldn't the temperature get down to freezing? People may have to run inside to warm up and use the facilities every now and then. (Do you say loo in Scotland?)
To light the way from where the cars are parked to the campfire, you can make luminaries. Simple and cheap. We automatically get these brown paper sacks at the store that they put our groceries in. To makes the lights, you roll the sacks down to a height of about 10-12" depending on the wind. You fill the sack with sand to a depth of about four inches or so for weight. You stick a candle in the center of the sand. At night it provides light and is very pretty. In hurricane gale winds, the candles might blow out; relight. Over here we usually line the driveway or walkway on one or both sides. Colorful, cotton, cowboy kerchiefs would be cute for napkins. If necessary I could send you some...saw them on sale for 63 cents each last week. Regular price is under a dollar. (We could arrange some sort of doesn't travel or exchange well.) I could go on, but in case this isn't your cup of tea, just two more ideas. Have a roping contest with a contrived cow or bull of sorts. If you're lucky enough to result in any music from the beans, you could accompany with a rousing version of "Home on the Range."
More ideas if you want. Anyway, good luck whatever you do. Oh, if you are anti-Texas, make it a Mexican could whack at a pinata!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 3:45PM
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I love seeing ice sculptures with candles. I don't mean professional ice scuptures, but create bowls out of ice. Freeze a bowl of water with a smaller empty bowl inside it. This creates a bowl of ice. You can use any shape and size you have, and put sprigs of greenery or cranberries in the ice. (maybe spray the bowls with Pam). Freeze them outdoors if you can, or in the freezer. But the BEST I've seen was an igloo about 4-5' tall with a window, small door, and some candles inside. It just glowed.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 4:17PM
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Also a large can....the kind that holds 40 oz of juice or fruit can make a great candle holder. You collect and clean them, fill with water and freeze them....then using a nail and perhaps a premade pattern on paper which you tape to the side, you punch holes in the can. A star is good...or a bell or a snow flake. Then you let the water melt and put a votive candle inside and light. They will eventually get rusty but I think they are attractive that way. They last for years....and are free...but for the candles, and look lovely lined up along a walk or drive.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 6:16PM
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A star design punched in a can in which a candle is placed is *perfect* for a Texas/Hispanic party!!! The Lone Star State!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 7:20PM
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