With the winter solstice approaching on December 21st or 22nd (depending on you location), most people think of it as the longest night of the year. While this is true, it also symbolizes the turning point and is traditionally celebrated with Yule festivities that welcome back the light. It is the point at which the days begin to grow longer, rather than shorter.
Celebrate the return of the light by filling your home with natural candles and making beautiful lanterns. Use plastic containers in your home to create beautiful ice candle holders. Add cedar and berries for botanical ice lanterns. Here’s a tutorial.
Get yourself some natural candles and enjoy dinner by candlelight. Have a bath surrounded by candles or build a fort (you’re never too old for this) and curl up in it with a book and a flashlight.
The ancient Roman Saturnalia festival sometimes went on for a week, so don’t feel you have to confine your merriment to a single night. One of the traditions of Saturnalia was bringing in boughs of evergreens. This was done as a symbolic protection of the plant’s life force until the spring. Boughs of holly, pine and fir as well as red berries can really add a lovely fragrance to your home while lifting spirits during the darker months.
One of the central tenants of Saturnalia is giving. Volunteer at a warming station or soup kitchen, give to your local food banks, donate extra blankets and clothing. Leave Winter love packages of cookies or sweets on your neighbor’s doorsteps and make sure your elderly neighbors aren’t isolated.
By know I am sure you are all familiar with this amazing Danish tradition of making the most of the colder months. Hygge (hoo-gah) is described as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Instead of lamenting your indoor winter months, see them as a kind of mini holiday and fill them with comfort. Cozy wool sweaters, comfy slippers, pastry, wine, good books, fireplaces and relaxing are what make this down time special.
Try to get out often for walks and coffee in cozy coffee shops with friends. Host dinner parties and share meals whenever possible.
Happy winter solstice to you all. May you have a restful season filled with good company and fond memories.