The Winter Solstice is one of my favorite times of the year. Although it is the shortest day and the longest night, once this night passes I begin to see the day’s getting longer. This always excites me. Many traditions around the world have a celebration in regards to light; darkness into light, good overcomes evil, or the new moon (darkness) and the full moon (light). Each religion celebrates this occasion in their own way. I for one have a tradition that I started when I lived in Colorado. On Christmas day, my stepson would have to split the day between his mom and her husband and his dad and me. I remembered how much I loved Christmas as a child and could not imagine splitting the day. So, I suggested that his Mom take either Christmas or the Winter Solstice – she could choose. So, when she decided on Christmas I had to come up with a plan. The more I learned about the Winter Solstice and how it was just before Christmas, the more I engaged in this time of year.
So, for 13 years we did all our shopping before December 21. We would cook a wonderful feast of all our favorite Christmas time foods. We would have Lobster Bisque, grilled asparagus, creamy mashed potatoes, a salad of as many different colors of vegetables as I could find, some delicious fresh bread and a chocolate dessert. Once supper was cooked, we would place candles all around the house. This was our light to welcome in the shortest night of the year. Then we would get dressed up in some warm fancy clothes. Once we had gotten everything ready, we would then turn off all the lights in the house with the exception of our Christmas tree and candles. The first thing we did was have an appetizer. When my stepson was a little boy we would have sparkling cider in fancy glasses. We opened all our gifts on the Solstice and had the time to enjoy each gift. (We saved our stockings for Christmas day.) We would talk about the gift we had just opened and took our time. There was no pressure to rush to the next gift as if we had to be somewhere later. There was just the quiet of the night, the light of the candles and if we were lucky, the light of the moon. Once we had opened our gifts, we sat down to a fabulous meal. We talked about what the Winter Solstice meant and how we looked forward to the coming months and the days getting longer. We talked about skiing or snowshoeing with the dogs. We talked about bicycle racing as this was big in my family then. We would talk into the night.
Celebrating the Winter Solstice helped us enjoy the Christmas season even more since we had no pressures on Christmas Day. It made this time of year whole for me again. I no longer had to divide Christmas day in half. Once more it became my most favorite time of the year.
This year at Stepping Stone Montessori School the infant, toddler and primary rooms will be having a door decorating contest with the Winter Solstice theme. Parents will vote on the best door and the classroom that wins will get a pizza party. We can’t wait to see the creative doors!