Wednesday, December 21

PERSONAL | Happy Winter Solstice!

I've been wanting to do something special for Winter Solstice since I realized what an interesting holiday it was last year but was too late to plan anything special. Luckily, this year, I remembered in advance and was able to plan a few little things out! Today is the Winter Solstice, the "shortest" day of the year and the official first day of winter. Historically, this day has marked the shift in the seasons where the days switch from getting shorter and shorter to longer and longer! As you can imagine, back in times before electricity and water heaters, this was a big deal! For the people who lived off the land, this was their light at the end of the tunnel. They knew that from this point on, things were just going to get better and better each day.

I don't know about you, but for most people 2016 was a mess! So I think this is a fitting holiday to say goodbye to the darkness and welcome to some fresh new light! In fact, that's one of the main celebrations that went along with the solstice. Along the lines of New Year it was a day to reflect on the last year and release it and look forward to the new one and usher it in! Just like winter is a time of death so that in spring there can be rebirth, this was a time for the people to say goodbye to the previous year and usher in the new.

For me, I really wanted to add Winter Solstice to our December celebrations. But as a family that already celebrates Christmas I wasn't sure how (since so many of the traditions overlap). So I picked just a few that we'll incorporate this year and maybe next year we'll add in some more. To me, at the core, Winter Solstice is a time to slow down, appreciate the turning of the seasons and nature, spend time together as a family, and release the past year to usher in the new light.

Some of the solstice traditions I chose to incorporate this year were...

➳ Baking holiday baked goods to give to family and friends.
➳ Making Scotch Eggs.
➳ And once the sun goes down, lighting candles to usher in the light.
And lastly...
Making holiday bird and squirrel ornaments and decorating our backyard trees with them.

bird seed pinecones

Solstice Bird Ornaments: 
➳ Wild bird seed
➳ Creamy peanut butter
➳ Pinecones, twine, and branches

Just spread the peanut butter over the pinecones (they work best if they are more open so you can really pack it in) and then roll them in the birdseed (I poured mine in a big plate to make it easy for my 4 year old to do mess-free). Use the twine to tie them to the branches of a tree or create a hanger like we did from a larger branch. Decorate with christmas tree springs and twigs or flowers from outside. Hang it in a place the birds love and sprinkle some extra bird seed around the earth underneath so they know there's good stuff to be found! 

Who knows, maybe this will become a new family tradition and grow each year? I love that the focus is so similar to Christmas but not about presents at all. It's a fun way to switch gears and think about nature and our family as well as to reflect on the year that is ending and usher in all the excitement and positivity for the year that's ahead! Happy Solstice friends!

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