Winter Solstice: light, a new start, and traditions
I love Christmas. I love the magic of Santa, the Christmas lights, Christmas movies, giving gifts- all of it. I've been so excited to share those things with my kids too! However, now that my kids are getting to the point of really understanding Christmas, I don't want it to be all about gifts. I mean, we all love getting presents, but I want to make sure that this time is about more than that.
Along the same lines, we've been working on our connection with nature and the earth. I heard about some Winter Solstice traditions and felt really drawn to it. For those unfamiliar, Winter Solstice is the shortest day in the year (it happens on the 21st this year). It has been celebrated for thousands of years as a way to welcome the new solar year, longer days coming, and the return of the sun. Many celebrations focus on celebrating light: light within us to get through long winter nights and light of the sun returning.
I love the idea of celebrating with the earth. Celebrating its cycles which influence our life rhythms. I hope to instill in my kids a connection with nature, and focusing on the Winter Solstice seemed like a perfect fit. The past few days I've spent a bit of time talking about what the Solstice is and why people celebrate it. We've also talked about how winter can mean a lot of darkness, which is hard on the animals and hard on us. This means that we need to focus this time of year on doing kind things for others and animals to help get them through this time.
Solstice also is the beginning of the new solar year. Think of this as a fresh start, a beginning, and a time to set new intentions. While many use New Years as a time to do this, I love doing it in tune with the Sun and Earth.
We are doing a countdown to the Solstice. There are many beautiful wooden countdown spirals available to buy, but I love this one the kids made. They rolled out play-doh and poked holes in it. Each day we move the candle one spot closer to the middle hole which is Solstice. I've also created a little jar with nature and kindness related activities for us to do. Some of these include:
-creating a birdhouse
-seeing the Super Moon
-make paper snowflakes
-make popcorn garland for the outdoor trees
-start an herb garden (watching something grow in the middle of winter is wonderful!)
-plant bulbs for the coming spring
-make holiday cards for friends
-make and deliver cookies to neighbors
On winter solstice we will be having a celebration with friends. A Waldorf tradition is an evergreen spiral. Evergreens are a symbol of Solstice because they survive and are still green through Winter. Creating a spiral (a symbol of the sun) and allowing kids to walk through it and light a candle is a great way to symbolize the light through winter. We will be inviting friends over, having a wonderful dinner with everyone, listening to music, setting intentions for the new solar year, and creating light with each other. I hope this is a tradition we can continue each year.
I will be posting some of our countdown activities so check back in! <3