The word “solstice” comes from the Latin sol, meaning sun, and sistere, meaning to stand. At Solstice the sun appears to stand still, to pause, before continuing on its path. We’ve been celebrating Solstice as a family for over a decade. No matter where we have found ourselves over years, on a tropical island, out west, up north, in the city or in the forest, no matter what has been happening in our lives, this time of year reminds us to pause, and to reflect. Our celebrations have been simple (especially when it was just the two of us) and some have been elaborate gatherings full of family and friends. Decorations are natural and are designed to end up in the compost heap rather than in storage or the landfill. The greenery reminding us of the coming spring. The candles reminding us of the returning light.
When we first started celebrating Solstice we were met with many questions and confused looks and some people were even dismissive. It was a little isolating. And so starting nine years ago we began sending out what we called our “Cool Yule Cards”. They were conversation starters for sure, just look at our first one:
Yes, I put a dress on my dog. Mad Men was not a show back then either…we were just before our time I suppose : ).
In the beginning we always tried to inject a little bit of humour to try to keep it light-hearted.
This is one of my favourites…Sostice in the forest with a wood stove inside…so dreamy.
This one did look more “Christmas-y” but Cool Yule wishes remained the same…
I think last year’s card was my favourite so far. Such a great vintage photo of J’s great-grandmother!
Our 2013 Cool Yule greeting card will be revealed to family and friends tomorrow (that is if I can get a great shot of the girls on their lantern walk). Today, I’m wrapping our handmade solstice gifts to put under the tree and finishing up the preparations for our Annual Solstice Party. Back by popular demand will be our lantern walk which the children loved a few years ago. After dinner we make our lanterns and set off to carol our way through the neighbourhood. If it is not raining we will gather around the bonfire outside to sing, drink and generally be merry and, if we remember, we mark the actual moment of Solstice. Tomorrow we’ll open our gifts, make pine cone bird feeders and decorated our outdoor tree for our animal friends. And as always we are busy reading our favourite winter and Solstice books.
I mentioned our celebrations to a neighbour a few weeks ago and they commented that more and more people seemed to be celebrating solstice. I’m so glad to hear it. Solstice also means “turning point”. Our world could use a reminder to pause and slow down, a reminder that light follows darkness, and to reestablish a relationship with Mother Earth.
This morning we woke up to find a soft blanket of snow covering the ground. The girls rushed to the windows and squealed with delight. Mrs. Iverson declared that it was Solstice magic that made it happen. I think the smile on this proud mama’s face should last all day…
Wishing you all a Cool Yule, peace and joy for the New Year!