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How We’re Celebrating the Winter Solstice

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For me, the hardest part of this time of year is the darkness. With walks, for example, I can slip on boots and my long, toasty-warm coat to protect against the chill, but there’s nothing I can do to prevent the sun from slipping away well before 5:00.

I’ve mentioned I’m embracing hygge and bringing light into our home in whatever cozy ways I can, and it’s definitely helping. Still, I’m excited the shortest day of the year, i.e. the winter solstice, is nearly here and that from there we’ll be on the upswing. It’s a long time yet before I can resume evening walks, but knowing we’re tacking on a little sliver of light to each passing day is worth celebrating.

And so let’s celebrate! I thought about putting this post up next Tuesday, which is the actual day of the solstice, but opted for today so that you have time to plan ahead. As with just about any special day, you can go all out–DIY lanterns, a yule log, and a handmade evergreen wreath are three ideas I came across–or you can keep it simple. With the phase of life I’m in, i.e. three kids age 7 and under, and in the spirit of this blog, I’m going the latter route.

I have a few different celebration ideas, but haven’t decided exactly what we’ll do. It will honestly depend how the day’s going. We’ll be on Day 4 of 16 of winter break, which means we might be getting along just fine or we might be driving each other completely nuts. Thus, I present three levels of celebration, 1 being the simplest and 3 the most ambitious, with some fun little extras thrown in for Level 2.

Level 1: One-song dance party. Listen to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles and dance around. Easy peasy, one and done.

Here’s the direct link if the embedded one above is loading slowly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKdl-GCsNJ0

Level 2: Full-on dance party! Listen and dance our hearts out to ten songs featuring December 21st’s guest of honor, the sun. Where exactly will we find such a compilation? I’m glad you asked! I had so much fun putting this list together last December.

Here’s the direct link if the embedded one above is loading slowly:

If you can’t make it though the whole playlist, be sure to skip to the last song. “Where is the Light?” is an anomaly in that it doesn’t have some form of the word “sun” in the title, but it’s my very favorite. Besides an irresistible rhythm and a fun call-and-response format, the song features lyrics that encourage us to go out and be a source of light and goodness in the world. Here’s an excerpt:

Where is the light?
Where is the light?
Where is the light?

Oh, the light’s inside of me

It’s in my skin and in my bones
In my heart and in my soul
That light of life, so bright and golden
Like a summer day
When the sun goes missing in the sky
It is rising in my eyes
Chasing all that winter gloom away

Fun extras for the dance party:

  • Drink lemonade as a tribute to sunny summer days; if we do this, I’ll keep it super simple by just buying pre-made stuff or a frozen mix.
  • Light a bunch of candles and turn off all the lights–we’ll obviously wait til after dark to have our dance-a-thon if we go with this option. We’ll probably also plug in the Christmas tree and our front window lights for a little extra party ambiance (and because the kids already insist on having them on pretty much 24/7).
  • Make a super big dance floor–one of my semi-genius discoveries when the boys were littler was that I could get them to do a whole lot of straightening up if it meant a bigger dance floor. I’m sure as heck going to try to get Nate to clean up some construction paper chaos by talking up the stellar moves he could do if he *just* had that extra bit of dance space.

Level 3: Add a picture book. I found a great list of books (along with other ideas for celebrating the winter solstice) here. The one we own is The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer. I don’t remember anything about it except that I bought a copy last year after looking at reviews for a whole bunch of different solstice books. It didn’t arrive in time for us to read on December 21st, and then it got tucked away with the other seasonal titles. Looking forward to discovering this book’s contents on Tuesday if we’re able to.

That’s it! You’ll notice that even if I achieve Level 3 of the celebration plan, there is no cooking or crafting involved. This is intentional. We’re in December, people. As I mentioned in my last post, my capacity for magic-making is getting tapped out. So while I fully intend to have a blast celebrating the solstice with my boys, I’m approaching it in a low-key way that doesn’t involve extra time in the kitchen, glue sticks, or the absolute worst, glitter.

The sun will soon make its comeback! Hope you and your loved ones feel inspired to stage your own celebration.

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  1. Loved reading this Katie and great ideas! I had recently sent Colleen a blog posted by Chanda Parkinson of Minneapolis. She takes a more spiritual/astrological perspective but all the same reminding us how important light really is. How can I follow your blog?

    1. Thanks, Stacy! Yes, light definitely has a spiritual element worth exploring. You can follow the blog by scrolling to the bottom of the page and entering your email address in the form.

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