One of my favorite less spoken of American traditions is a simple one – having company over to gather around a firepit at night. There’s something about gathering around a fire that brings people together in a unique way. With the warm glow of the slow flickering flames into the night, it’s a relaxing way to let the conversations and stories naturally flow.
When you go camping with friends or family, the fireplace becomes the centerpiece. Far removed from the distractions and noise of city and modern life, your mind can fully relax and let itself wander with thoughts and musings. Everything is simpler. The colors of the flames mesmerize your eyes and slow down time. Everyone is together and sharing the fire’s warmth. Stories start to emerge, which remind others in the group of stories they also want to share. The night continues on with laughter, jokes, and conversation.
It’s something we are all truly missing in our modern world. Something so simple to bring us together and take away the distractions so that we are left to enjoy the company of one another. Fires have a way of doing this that we can’t fully explain.
- Tell stories
- Have meaningful conversations
- Cook a cowboy supper and roast marshmallows
- Sing songs together
- Gaze at the stars
Make it a Tradition
Make a tradition out of your backyard firepit gathering. Plan to host a get together every Sunday night, or the second Sunday of every month. Put some beers in a cooler, some chairs around the fire, and you’ve got a neighborhood tradition! It will provide a reason to bring people together away from the distractions to hang out outdoors and have a good time, even on chilly nights.
Build Your Own Fire Pit
If you have a large patio or lawn, you can have this same campfire experience at home by purchasing a fire pit. There are many varieties from simple metal bowl-shape firepits to more intricately designed models. I’ve posted links to these in the resources below.
But if you have the open ground space, the easiest and best firepit is the Do-it-yourself brick style. Simply stack bricks in a circle about 2-feet high, fill it partially with rocks to raise the height of the fire, and add firewood. You can build more permanent seating benches around the firepit, or simply place chairs around it. You may also consider airflow and smoke direction. If you don’t want your guests choking on smoke, consider surrounding the area with a wall or semi-circle wall to prevent the wind changing the direction of the smoke. There are many tutorials online for various firepit blueprints, and most of them aren’t too complicated for the average person to build themselves in a weekend.
If bellowing firewood fires aren’t practical at your home due to limited outdoor space, you may want to instead use tiki torches for a similar atmosphere. It’s not quite the same, but it does create a relaxing night time outdoor atmosphere for friends and company. I have even made miniature torches using rolled up cardboard soaked in candle wax and stuffed into old tin cans for outdoor tabletop mini torches.
Homemade Fire Starters
If starting fires isn’t your best skill, I’ve made a tutorial video for how to make free simple firestarters. I use these firestarters every time I go camping, and they work great! I haven’t once failed to start a fire! They burn for a long time and you usually only need one to get a fire going. The video below will show you how to make your own for your next camping trip.
Next time you’re looking for a way to bring people together, consider a fire pit. You’ll be surprised at how something so simple can bring people together.
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