Christmas at the beach

For the surf-crazy Raeburn family, Christmas Day is all about catching some early waves and celebrating with a festive beach brunch.

Words Justine Hewitt. Photography Toby Murphy and Warren Heath. Styling Tara Sloggett

Tip: Put your pavlova out with the rest of the food so the cream has a chance to settle into the pavlova a little – delicious!

Summertime festive fare

It’s easy to make an extra special beach brunch with a little planning – and cheating! Easy help-yourself food limits wastage and mess, leaving everyone more time to chill and enjoy the perfect beach setting.

  • To avoid your picnic being invaded by sand, a table of sorts is a must – an old wooden board is easy to carry and creates a perfectly flat surface for setting up your feast. 
  • Savoury spoils that look and taste amazing and that can be prepared with minimal fuss ahead of time (and served cold) make sense for Christmas in the sun. Here, salmon-en-croûte is an undeniable spoil (you’ll want to pack a pot of dill mayonnaise) while grilled lamb skewers are ideal for carnivores, especially after an energy-sapping surf or swim.
  • And for a jewel coloured side salad, simply pick up a pillow pack of leaves, plus pre-shredded carrots and beetroot on your way to the beach and you’ll be good to go. 
  • For something sweet, a beautiful berry pavlova is the perfect Christmas pudding and is so easy to assemble. Simply make (or buy) a pavlova and pop whipped cream and fresh berries in separate containers – your masterpiece will take a few minutes to assemble and will look amazing. 

Summery season’s greetings

The Raeburns brought comfort and good cheer to the beach with them with cushions for their picnic, eco-friendly raffia garlands to decorate their beach hut for the day and even a guitar for an impromptu carol singing session. Plus, what would Christmas be without a few gifts to open? Keep things sustainable and on the stylish side by wrapping gifts with simple brown paper – adding a colourful ribbon for detail. 

Self-adhesive vinyl cutouts transform an old-school style wooden board into the merriest Instagram prop you could hope for! A surfboard makes a great impromptu picnic table on the
sand too.

Festive fizz

What would Christmas be without a signature cocktail? For a fresh and juicy summertime mix, combine club soda, elderflower cordial and plenty of fresh fruit. Or go without the soda and add prosecco or cava to the fresh fruit mix. Chop the fruit before you leave for the beach and don’t forget to save our seas – reusable bamboo straws are a perfect sipping solution. 

Natural nativity scene 

Dress your beach picnic table in textures and tones that reflect the natural surrounds. Natural jute is perfect to use for napkins and as coasters while sprigs of dune flowers and little potted succulents are a cute and eco-friendly touch. Wooden cutlery is an essential (throw them in the fire if you have a beach bonfire later) and don’t forget easy-on-the-eye servingware in shades of the sea. 

Beachcomber bliss

Christmas on the beach is the perfect opportunity to get back to nature and keep things on the simple side – leaving you to enjoy the surrounds and the opportunity to really connect with family and friends.

Family sun and fun

Families that surf together, celebrate together. For Lee and Ella Raeburn, Christmas on the beach in South Africa is something they and their whole family can enjoy. It’s a relaxed opportunity to enjoy a special day with special festive trimmings and minimal fuss. A day spent together in the water leaves hearts and minds full with the spirit of Christmas. The timeworn clapboard of the St James beach huts in Cape Town are the perfect inspiration for a nostalgic Christmas picnic on the beach. 

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