Cozy Up to a Relaxing, Roaring Outdoor Fire


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One of the joys of living in the Upper East Side of Texas this time of year is the magic of a backyard campfire in full view of a glorious night sky filled with sparkling stars. Whether these special evenings are enjoyed by invited guests or are a regular occurrence for a household, it’s a favorite pastime for many. Here are a few tips for creating lasting good memories.

Health and Safety First

• Whether you dig a hole in the ground or have a nice, rock-lined pit, make sure  the area is away from buildings, wooded areas, or overhanging electrical wires.

• Save the lint from the clothes dryer -- it comes in handy for starting a fire.

• Make sure there’s some light on any dark paths getting to and from the fire so people don’t trip over straying logs or an uneven terrain.

• Stringing white lights around the area can help with safety and also can contribute to a party atmosphere. Candles or lanterns on tables are also a nice touch.

• Make sure there’s plenty of safe seating for everyone and keep plastic away from the fire.

• Make sure your county is not under a burn ban.

• Be sure to put the fire out completely before calling it a night — the wind can send sparks flying or blow chairs or other objects into hot coals, creating a fire hazard. Keep a water hose handy for stray sparks and to help put out the fire when done.

• Smoke is a harmful irritant to people with asthma and allergies. People with these conditions need to sit further away and out of the smoke. Make sure the wind is blowing it away not towards you so it does not irritate the lungs. Some may find it helpful to wear masks. Be sure to wash your clothes and shower after sitting near the fire.

Activity Ideas

• Try traditional activities for fun around the fire like roasting marshmallows, making s’mores, telling ghost stories, and playing games like Truth or Dare.

• Invite some musical friends and savor the group singing, rhythm, and sounds joining in harmony with nature.

• Bring out the sparklers for a New Year’s Eve gathering around the fire.

• Add bubbles. Whether blowing them one at a time, or using a bubble shooter, or a large wand, the effects of the bubbles floating above the fire is fun. Try sending up a large one and quickly blow a few small bubbles to get the feel of a sea creature under the ocean.

First, and foremost for a memorable time, is just enjoying the outdoors, relaxing, and “fire talk.” As the stresses of the day begin to melt away around the mesmerizing flickers and flames of an outdoor fire, it seems to bring out the most delightful conversations.

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