Surviving lockdown with kids – The Christmas edit

Hannah Turner

Hannah Turner

Hannah Turner is BASC South East’s regional officer. Despite having two small children, she loves getting out in the field shooting or cooking game.

Here we are again… We’re playing our patriotic part – protecting the NHS and saving lives by following the latest government guidance. Yet if you are anything like me, you can’t help but count up the shoot days and Christmas parties we will miss. Well read on to find out how you can follow my creative Christmas guide and bring that little bit of magic back to your home this year.

A looming reality

It’s dawning on me that in the run-up to Christmas my children’s magical childhood memories are not going to be provided by Father Christmas at the garden centre. The somewhat chaotic but always entertaining juggling act of trying to fit all the family round one table, perched on anything that vaguely resembles a chair, is hanging by a thread. This might all sound very negative, but I have some ideas that might perk you up.

Some of you may have read my previous blog surviving lockdown with kids. Well now, I’ve come up with some more countryside-themed winter fun for you to try. Let’s make the most of a bad situation using my creative Christmas guide:

Pheasant feather wreaths

Don’t these look great? They are festive and another way to celebrate the birds we eat.

Hopefully, you had chance to get out in the field before we moved into a second lockdown. If you are anything like me, you cannot resist saving those beautiful feathers just in case inspiration strikes. Well here’s an idea of something fun you can do with them.

Now I am not the most creative person, so I like to keep it simple. Especially if I am adding my kids into the mix!

With no glue or scissors needed, you can just lay it out on the table and let the kids go wild.

If it doesn’t turn out quite as classy as you had hoped, then maybe grandma gets another present this year. Grandmas seem to really appreciate that wonky “a kid made this” look, or maybe they just have more practice at pretending.

You will need

  • A rattan wreath – I went for 30cm
  • Ribbon
  • Feathers
  • And anything else you fancy!


  1. Stuff the feathers into the rattan wreath.
  2. Tie some ribbon so you can hang it up.
  3. Add a bow and any other details you like.
  4. Voila, a Christmas wreath fit for any door.

Pass the Pasty

Christmas is the time to feast. My kids and I have a really easy game pasty recipe adapted from a Taste of Game classic.

If you are dropping food to family or neighbours over lockdown, why not include some of these to lift their spirits.

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Cut some circles out of ready-made shortcrust pastry.
  2. Put a pile of cooked game meat and grated root vegetable in each circle.
  3. Add a few herbs and a knob of butter.
  4. Paint the edge with water, and as my five-year old would say, “pinch the sides together so it looks like a stegosaurus.”
  5. Paint with egg.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius and then a further 40mins at 160 degrees Celsius.

Nut Hunting

We are being encouraged to get out and exercise during lockdown and this is the perfect time of year for nut hunting.

A lot of us used the last lockdown as a chance to spend more time exploring the countryside around where we live. Did you spot any hazel while out and about?

Nut hunting is all about finding out what has been eating the hazel nuts in order to learn more about the wildlife that thrives in the classic British countryside.

Follow this link for more information on how to conduct your very own nut hunt. You might even be lucky enough to find evidence of the endangered dormouse, valuable information that could help protect the species.

My kids find this fascinating, and if I’m honest I get really into it too!

In brief, here’s what you do:

  1. Find some hazel.
  2. Look on the ground for nuts.
    1. Smashed open it’s a squirrel.
    2. Tiny holes might mean an insect.
    3. Neat round nibble marks will mean a mouse or a vole.
    4. If they are whole, you could take them home to eat!

More inspiration

If this creative Christmas guide hasn’t sparked any inspiration, there are still lots of resources in the Young Shots Activity Area on the BASC website.

Our Countryside Classrooms are available to watch back and I will be hosting a live workshop demonstrating some more creative Christmas ideas on our Facebook page on Monday 7 December. Don’t forget to join me!

Now, I’m going to dig out last year’s Christmas project – Sloe Gin! ‘Tis the season after all.

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