Monday, December 21, 2009

12/21 winter solstice -- let there be light for celebrations

Here are some ideas to celebrate the winter solstice tonight, suggested by Caitlin Murray Giles, a freelance writer in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.  In this month’s “Mindful Metropolis,” she writes:

Amidst all of the shopping, baking and merrymaking, the holiday season is sometimes short on opportunities to simply gather with loved ones in a spirit of reflection and appreciation.

This year, take a break from the December hustle and bustle to celebrate the winter solstice. Make this day a time for your family to reflect on the year gone by and look toward the promise of brighter days ahead.
  • Craft your own celebration. If you are thinking of observing the winter solstice this year, use these ideas as inspiration to create traditions and rituals that are right for your family.
  • Light a Yule log. Light plays an important role in any solstice celebration. Turn off the lights and burn a Yule log in the fireplace. As an alternative, gather around a “Yule candle.” Use this time to talk about the return of light and your plans for the coming year.
  • Solstice stockings. Introducing a new tradition this year—solstice stockings. Borrowing from the idea of a traditional Christmas stocking, The Witch puts small presents into your stocking on the solstice. This tradition highlights the idea of a positive female power while also limiting our seasonal buying to those things that fit into a stocking.
  • Make a pomander. Pay homage to the power of sun and light with this simple seasonal craft based around a fragrant citrus fruit. Gather together an orange and a bowl of cloves. Push the stem of the cloves into the skin of the fruit. Experiment with spirals, stripes, or any kind of patterns you like. Hang your pomander from a ribbon and enjoy the natural seasonal scent.
  • Celebrate outdoors. Although we often associate the winter solstice with cozy fireside celebrations, be sure to take a moment to actually observe the changes taking place in nature. Plan an outdoor family outing like ice-skating. Or head out to the yard to trim a tree with natural items like nuts, berries or apples that the birds and animals can enjoy.
For more ideas on how to celebrate the winter solstice, go to Candlegrove or School of the Seasons.

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