As winter arrives, the days get darker and the weather gets colder. Many find themselves cooped up inside, waiting for spring to arrive. It doesn’t have to be this way. Creating a backyard winter wonderland can be just what we need to allow more time outside. We can only benefit from some much-needed self-care this 2020 holiday season. Creating a relaxing space outside is a great way to enjoy some fresh air while truly enjoying the winter season and all of the holidays that come with it.
Last month we gave you our Fall Outdoor Decoration Ideas, and winter is no different. A cozy winter wonderland decor outside can elevate your yard as well as your mood. Finding those winter decoration ideas doesn’t have to be hard. We curated a list of ideas to create a perfect winter outdoor living space.
1. Color palette
One crucial aspect of achieving cozy vibes is ambiance and mood. A simple yet effective way of attaining this atmosphere is having the right color palette to match the season.
While the typical Christmas colors will work just fine, we like to think that colors of the main color wheel bring the cozy winter ambiance to the next level.
Here are some simple and elegant color palettes that will add personality to any space.
“Holiday Hygge” palette – Hygge is the Nordic word for the quality of coziness and comfortable well-being. This palette includes natural colors associated with the winter season.
Colors include: Evergreen, repose gray, beige, dull orange, beaver brown, and café noir.
“Bringing the forest to you” Palette – This winter harvest color palette is similar to the natural colors in the holiday hygge palette, but they include more vibrant colors compared to the subdued and muted nature of the previous palette.
Colors include: Eden green, moss green, sangria red, charcoal blue, latte brown, and umber.
“Soft Christmas” colors palette
If you love Christmas colors but don’t like how flagrantly they ambush your eyeballs with the color prism, this palette is for you. As with the other palettes, this one involves colors that are naturally occurring in the season with an emphasis on subdued traditional Christmas colors.
Colors include Old burgundy, gingerbread, pearl, Firebrick red, Brunswick green, fern green.
The winter brings long dark nights that often keep you inside. Creating that winter wonderland outdoor space will need to include lights. Using regular lights as well as fairy lights and Christmas lights will elevate your space. Lights can be more than functional; they can be festive and decorative. Lights can bring that dreamy feeling to your space, perfect for a winter wonderland.
Christmas lights are the most popular lights in the winter, Christmas trees being the most recognizable. Christmas tree lights can be traced back to using candles for lights. This became rather popular in the UK during Queen Victoria’s reign, eventually spreading to Australia and America. In 1895 Grover Cleveland brought in the first electrically lit Christmas tree to the white house. In the 1960’s decorating the outside of a house became popular.
You have options when choosing the type of lighting you want: Christmas lights, fairy lights, light up trees, lanterns, even projectors. You also have a choice in types of bulbs. While LED is the most popular, incandescent is still used. LED has taken over incandescent in popularity for its long lifespan and low maintenance. Other interesting options are bubble lights. Buble lights were popularized in the 1950s. They are sealed glass tubes that have colored bubbling water. The water is heated by the incandescent bulb attached.
4. Holiday cookies
From Christmas to comfort, cookies are a very important part of winter. While many types of cookies are popular around winter, Gingerbread is one of the most iconic and has a rich history.
The first record of a “soft gingerbread” recipe is in 1769 in American Cookery. There were a total of seven different recipes. Gingerbread traveled the world with multiple different variations. As for our current traditional gingerbread man shape, we can thank Queen Elizabeth 1. She popularized them by serving them, foreign dignitaries.
Gingerbread was taken so seriously that there were gingerbread guilds. Professionals were the only people able to make gingerbread except on Christmas and Easter. So, since it is around Christmas time, I decided to bake some!
If you read our last blog about fall, you might remember that I am not great at baking. But I am determined to make these cookies.
I used this recipe to make them.
I made sure to read the instructions all the way through this time. I had already done the first instructions before I realized I should do this, but I did do it, and that I what counts! I added all my dry ingredients and whisked them together. My whisk was in the dishwater, so I chose to use a fork instead. It does work but will get flour everywhere. Or at least I did. Time for brown sugar, butter, and an egg. Last time I attempted and failed to crack the egg with one hand. This time, I was able to do it! It really was luck, but I will take it.
Mix it all up and add the molasses. I have to admit, the molasses smelled terrible. It was at this moment that I remembered, I am not a huge fan of gingerbread. Too late, I kept going. Mixing all together was kinda a pain. The dough is very thick and a little gritty. It kept getting stuck in my whisk. I thought I might be using the wrong attachment. So I tried the flat beater and the one for dough. Neither did any better. So I went back to the whisk, stopping every few moments, pulling out the dough, and mixing again. I continued this process until I was satisfied with the consistency.
I split the dough in half and wrapped them in plastic wrap. They had to sit for at least two hours. The recipe said to simply wrap it with plastic wrap. But as an avid British Bakeoff fan, I remember bakers shaping the dough into long rectangles before wrapping. So that is what I did! After sitting, it was time to roll it out. This produced another issue. When I unwrapped my dough, it was kinda falling apart. It was still ‘piecey’. I was convinced it was over. This was the end of my baking career. But when I rolled it out, I found that it was totally fine. My baking career has been saved.
Did you know that if you wait until the Saturday before Christmas, you will have a hard time finding gingerbread men cut-outs? All normal size cut-outs left were a single llama and a ton of oddly shaped ones. I had to look at the tag to figure out the odd shapes were gnomes. Luckily I found a small tin of very small and medium cut-outs.
My first mistake actually didn’t happen until I was baking the cookies. I baked the very small and medium cookies on one sheet. I didn’t realize this will result in very crisp small cookies. My other issue was that some of the cookies were not thick enough. I was able to fix this in the last couple of batches.
Once all my cookies were baked, with no major casualties, I might add, it was time to decorate. Another thing that is hard to find right before Christmas is frosting. So I grabbed the frosting used for the cake. I threw that into a ziplock back and cut the tip-off, and decorated the cookies! There were far too many for my little patience to decorate them all, but I got a good amount. I don’t think I did a terrible job, but as the daughter of a cake decorator, I could have done better. But I did it! I make cookies. How did they taste? Ok. They tasted ok. Not bad and not great. I’ll take it. I brought them to work and offered everyone an “ok cookie.” To watch the process check out our reel on Instagram
5. Super rich hot cocoa
Not only are hot beverages a holiday staple, but they also keep you warm and cozy while you’re lounging outside! Here’s the Transblue office recipe for our favorite holiday drink.
Super rich Hot cocoa:
Ingredients list per serving:
– ½ teaspoon of instant coffee
– A sprinkle of nutmeg
– 1 cinnamon stick
– ¾ cup of milk
– ¼ cup of heavy cream
– Whipped cream
– Caramel powder for garnish
- Directions pour all contents into a deep pan. (except caramel powder and whipped cream)
- Heat stovetop on medium-high heat, stirring continuously
- Keep going until boiling
- Once boiling, keep on medium heat for 5 minutes, careful not to let contents overflow
- KEEP stirring (trust us, it’s worth it!)
- Use a sieve and pour it into your favorite mug!
6. Snow Shovel
Snow is either something you love or something you don’t particularly want to deal with. Either way, when snow arrives, we will need a way to clear it. A snow shovel can be one of the essential tools to have for winter, especially if you are in a particularly snowy region. But finding the right one is more than buying the first one you see at the store.
Snow shovels have been around for at least 6,000 years. The oldest one was found in a bog in Russia. Many shovels back then were made from elk antlers tied to wood or bone. Slightly different than what we use now. Though now, we have different lade and handle shapes and sizes for each situation.
When you choose a snow shovel, there should be a few things to think about.
- How much snow do you have
- Do you want to throw or push the snow
- What material
- The shape of blade and handle
- What feels best while using it
Would you rather push or toss the snow? This is an important question to ask yourself. The answer will dictate different factors.
Push: The shovel should have about 24” wide and a blunt blade. Snow shed, scoop, and sleigh shovels are all good for pushing a bulk amount of snow. A straight handle is easy to adjust when pushing snow, while longer handles will give you better leverage. A bent handle is great if ergonomics and better for pushing. Double handles give you even more leverage.
Lifting: These shovels are often half the size of the ones to push. They typically have shorter handles and are lighter in weight.
As for blades, sharp blades are good for chipping at ice but may also damage cement or asphalt. If you are dealing with deep, wet, or heavy snow, then a narrow blade will be much easier to use when tossing.
Ultimately there are so many options to consider when finding the right shovel for you. Pick the shovel up; does it feel good and natural in your hands? Is it too heavy? Make sure it isn’t taller than you too.
The winter doesn’t have to be spent inside. Creating a winter wonderland in your backyard encourages you to take time for yourself outside. So this winter, let your imagination run wild. Have bigger plans than you can do? Find a Transblue near you. We can help create that perfect outdoor space.