Winter has arrived, with heaps of snow and really chilly days. The temptation to burrow under the blankets for the next three months is strong, but resist! If only for a few hours. Instead, I recommend a winter picnic – my ultimate favourite winter activity! In face, I love them so much, I threw a *very* early morning winter picnic on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning and CBC TV yesterday morning. It was early, and lordy it was cold (-20 with the windchill!), but I bundled and packed hot chocolate – spiked with coffee, but Baileys would’ve been delicious – and had the most glorious morning under a huge blue sky, the marshmallows melting just so in my mug, the gingerbread a perfect second breakfast…
TIPS FOR A WINTER PICNIC:
1) Wear all the clothes. All of them. And then more. Double your socks. Pull out the long johns AND the leg warmers. Grab your fuzziest toque. Don’t forget mittens. Wear snow pants!
2) Picnic blanket. I made one with fabric on top and waterproof vinyl on the bottom – keeps bums free from grass-damp in the summer and snow-cold in the winter. But any ol’ blanket will do. To extend the length of your picnic, may I recommend slipping a camping mattress, like a Thermarest between the snow and your picnic blanket. That tiny pocket of air will afford you HEAPS of picnicking time.
3) Hot beverages. Load up that thermos with whatever you’ve got. Hot chocolate, coffee, (Baileys optional!), mulled apple cider (rum/bourbon optional!), mulled wine (wine not optional) If you go the hot chocolate/mocha route, don’t forget the marshmallows.
4). Food. Anything you can eat without taking off your mitts, and food that doesn’t need to be warm is optimal. Gingerbread cookies, sandwiches, skewers with pickles/olives/cheese. And chips. When I was in Saskatchewan doing a residency one winter, I learned the great joy that are SUPER cold chips. So good!
5). Weather. My favourite winter picnicking days are the really clear sunny ones. The sun can be so glorious in the winter, so bright with the light bouncing off the snow! Those days that are hovering in the -5-0 range are just glorious (though I have been known to picnic in the -20s…still wonderful in a different sort of way!)
6). Location. The world is transformed in the winter. With blankets of snow and ice, the places you know so well in the warmer months are so different, it’s magical. I love picnicking by the lake, but as I mentioned on the radio, there’s a bizarre, wonderful little park called “The Dundas Dupont Traffic Island” park (or, the DunDu as we’ve named it around here) where there are trains for the toddler to look at. Head to your favourite summer picnic spot and see how different it is (and I can almost guarantee it’ll be quiet!)
And if you do venture forth, send me pics of your winter picnic! loveletteringproject at gmail.com!
And if you’re not sold on adult snow pants, you can listen to my Love Letter to Snowpants here (from last year on Metro Morning!)