There are all kinds of celebrations this time of year, with something for almost everyone, no matter what their traditional beliefs. I personally love anything having to do with the Winter Solstice, which is tomorrow, because I’m not a fan of short, cold, dark days, and the turning of the season always fills me with hope that these &^%$^%$ ice storms (as I type this, we’re in the middle of yet another one, and I am feeling just the tiniest bit gritchy about it) will soon be a chilly, distant memory. One year we had a big Solstice party, with an outdoor fire (it was West Texas Winter warm that year) and music and lots of food and wine. Most years, though, I just plug in all the twinkly lights (they stay up year ’round in almost every room in our house) and light a candle (I love “Fresh Balsam” from Bath & Body Works; to me, they smell like winter). Surely, though, there are lots more creative ways to celebrate a time that’s about renewal, so I asked my friends on Facebook what they’ve come up with. Here’s what they shared.
Cherie says, “Some friends of mine are hosting an evening to celebrate at their home, and because we all have creative talents to share, they’ve welcomed all to bring their instruments to play a song, perform a dance, tell a story, and other ways to entertain and express. I’ve offered to share a dance to the music of anyone there who will play music for me. So looking forward to the people, the space the energy.”
Alice says, “My celebrations for Solstice and Yule have changed over the years. I used to do a lot more in times past. Now, I spend most of my time by myself and don’t live near any other Druids. It seems silly to make a big fuss just for me. One thing I still do is decorate a tree outside with goodies for the wildlife. I try to find an unobstructed view (hard find sometimes!) of the sunrise for the morning of the Solstice. I like bringing in some evergreens and keep some candles going. Since the Solstice is about rebirth, my artistic pursuits generally revolve around that. I like to make journal pages about all the things I want to give light to in the coming year. While not technically for Christmas or Yule, I always end up making more gifts for people during the Solstice season than the others. I really miss having big bonfires and reveling with family and friends.”
Patti adds, “We have a Solstice party every year at our friends’…a pit fire and each of us brings small Solstice gift. I painted snow flakes on small smooth rocks with intention words on the back..Patience, wisdom, strength, joy.. .you get the idea. I still see them sitting around when we visit their houses.”
Jodi says, “We enjoy the fire pit more, always find a perfect Yule Log for the Christmas Eve fire during the year and save…drink ‘Pie’ (spiced warm wine with dried fruit) in a earthen jug ..passing around ….sing, tell stories and watch the stars…..”
Jen says, “I’ve had a Solstice Tree for quite a number of years now, branches cut and brought inside hung with ornaments from Solstice Swaps with artist friends.”
Raye wrote, “I like the wildlife idea, and tree (which I am pretty sure is original to the festivities). So it seems like a fun and appropriate idea to create a festive bird-feeder. Another important part of any midwinter celebration is candlelight. So creative candlesticks? Also, menus with nuts and dried fruit.”
Catarina says, “Every Solstice, I light a candle and write my new intentions on strips of paper, then in the spring I plant them in my garden to grow with the new flowers and veggies.”
Some religious communities, like the Unitarian-Universalists, have more formal Solstice celebrations. I have been to some of these, and they are quite lovely and moving. Ellen tells about the service at her church: “There are chants, and songs like “Darkness, Darkness” by Jesse Colin Young, and eventually the lights are all dimmed and we sit in the dark for about 10 minutes. Then a central candle is lit, and the people have the flame passed person to person to their own hand-held candles. And then more singing as we file out to share a potluck feast!”
Last, but definitely not least, is this suggestion from my friend Eric. I have no idea if it’s true—there’s no telling with him—but if you’re not sentimental but want a definitely memorable way to commemorate the day, this might be just the way to make sure you never forget. Eric explains, “When I was at sea, Crossing the Equator for the first time meant the crew would throw flour in your face and slap you with a dead fish. You only had to do it once and you got a certificate to prove it so you didn’t have to do it again. Do you like that idea?” Maybe not exactly a “celebration,” but something you would never forget. If *you* like the idea, maybe you could make a fish out of fabric, with fabric scales written with intentions for the coming year. Hey! There’s an idea we could all adopt, and adapt (confetti instead of flour, no dead fish), to our own Creative Solstice Celebrations!
However you celebrate the day, I hope it is joyful and inspiring, XO
For more seasonal projects, try Delight in the Seasons by Lisa M. Pace.
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