6 Wonderfully Simple Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Celebrate the winter solstice.
istock/Borut Trdina

We have all heard that proverb “it’s always darkest before the dawn,” and that is never truer than on the Winter Solstice. Celebrate the Solstice and the return of sun’s light with these simple ideas.

The Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon resulting from the Earth’s tilt away from the sun that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st each year.

While during this time of year many of us are caught up in the preparations for the various winter holidays, it’s important to remember that the celebration of the Winter Solstice is the original winter holiday. Many of the world’s cultural and religious traditions incorporated the marking of the Winter Solstice in one way or another into their celebration. To humans, both past and present, it’s been only natural to mark the day on which things seem the bleakest and darkest and to herald a return of the light. The Winter Solstice is a reminder of the awesome power of the natural world and a chance for us all to feel awed in the face of that power.

No matter your current status–whether secular, religious, or culturally religious–the Solstice is a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. It is a time to unwind, de-stress, be joyful, and to appreciate the remarkable beauty that the natural world has to offer.

While some cultural and religious traditions do celebrate the Solstice in a more official capacity, you can do whatever the hell you want to mark the occasion. We offer up some suggestions, though, in case you are overwhelmed by the busy demands of the season.

6 Perfectly Lovely Ideas for Celebrating the Winter Solstice

1. Make a point to catch the Solstice sunrise and/or sunset. Not only is the rising and setting sun a stunning sight to behold during December, but watching the setting and rising sun is wonderful way to reconnect with nature.

2. Plan a bonfire. Whether you can pull off a massive bonfire or just a small backyard chiminea fire, it makes no matter. Communing with family and friends around a fire in the middle of winter is an ideal way to relax and to mark the long Solstice night.

3. Take a hike in the woods. Honor the Solstice and yourself by taking a walk in the woods. Walking in nature is the perfect time and place to reflect back on your year and to plan for the future.

4. Drink mulled wine. There is no explanation needed for this suggestion. Mulled wine is just a good idea on any cold winter’s night. It’s as simple as that. On the other hand, if you are avoiding alcohol, hot spiced cider will also do the trick.

5. Throw a dinner party–by candlelight. Honor the longest night of the year by having friends over for a meal by candlelight. Candlelight provides for an enjoyable atmosphere by which to mingle with friends and it also helps to draw attention to the darkness and lightness theme for the day.

6. Make a big pot of soup. Nourish yourself and loved ones by making a hearty pot of soup. Making and eating soup with friends is a great way to feed yourself both inside and out. And what a wonderful way to honor the day!

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Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life at Indie Fixx where she writes about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, loving, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy. She’s also a freelance writer who writes about everything from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.