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?
We are going to have a huge bonfire, weather permitting, and light all the ice candles I made. Happy solstice!
Ice candles?! That sounds awesome. I’m using that next year. Happy solstice!
Happy Solstice! :)
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.
I’m so in awe of how beautiful this is.
Make the summer and winter solstices your own. Great ways to Mark the year, teach the kids, honor nature’s hold over us.
What a great tradition. I always give a shout-out to the solstice b/c I’m so happy the days will start to get longer. I like your celebration.
The promise of slightly longer days makes solstice one of my favorite celebrations. Greeting the sun is just magical.
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.
Oh, that sounds heavenly. I’d love candlelit yoga for any time, but winter needs it the most. Consider it added for next year. And New Year’s Eve.
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.
That sounds lovely. I have to look into the Persian celebration. I’m a big fan of Nowruz and should have guessed the bread basket does all the equinox/solstices up right.