Twas the Night Before Solstice

We generally celebrate the winter solstice in a few ways, but I’m looking for ideas to add to our list.

On the shortest day of the year, December 21, we try to focus our celebration on food and on light.

We try to wake before dawn and walk the neighborhood with flashlights to greet the faraway sun. We also do this after dinner so we can help the sun get stronger for the next day. Every bit of light helps the sun get the idea of coming closer, bigger, and warmer, right?

During the day of the solstice we make and hang pine cone feeders for the birds and squirrels (shortest day means less time for them to find food). We bring food and toys to the animals at the local shelter. And we bake throughout the day and eat our warm goodies outside. A short, cold day means we need as much vitamin D as the sun can dole out.

And because Spouse and I agree we want to spread the gifts as much as we can through December, we exchange a few gifts on Winter Solstice. The small stuff comes during Hanukkah, other small stuff in Christmas stockings. Our real gift, if there is one, comes on Solstice.

So that’s it. Walk with lights, give animals food, bake, and exchange gifts.

Feels a bit anemic, though for a day that needs some extra warmth. Do you have something special for solstice (or Christmas Eve, for we’ll willing steal from that similarly “on the verge of” December holiday)? Anything you think we should add to our Solstice traditions?

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13 thoughts on “Twas the Night Before Solstice

  1. I don’t have any suggestions, but I like the general idea. A lot. As a SAD sufferer, the solstice is a big deal to me, and as an atheist, the religious holidays don’t mean that much, although obviously they are impossible to avoid and important to a lot of people. Well, maybe I have a suggestion: what about a bonfire, or a fireplace fire? Or if you don’t have a fireplace, maybe go to a park with a firepit (if you’re not in a part of the US where the drought is so bad no one is allowed a fire). I think that’s a very traditional bring-back-the-sun ritual.

    • Yes, fire is an important part of the warming and light focus of the season. I wish I weren’t so scared of fire or we would use the fireplace. A bonfire in the snow would be incredibly spectacular.

  2. I love these ideas and may have to steal them for next year. I don’t have a family suggestion although it would be wonderful if there was a yoga studio that did offer this in family class format, but the best thing I did last night was attend a community solstice “Friday night lights” yoga class. Two yoga teachers taught in tandem, one played and sang and the other led us through a holy practice of light and transformation with scripture readings from mulitple faiths. I did a class like this one on New Year’s Eve a few years ago and it set the stage for one of the most precious and beautiful years I’ve ever had. In short. Yoga. Adding yoga to holiday rituals is a lovely choice.

  3. Our winter solstice celebration is a Persian holiday – everyone stays up late eating dried fruit and nuts and telling stories and watching movies as a family.

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