Some of my clients were intrigued to hear that we don’t celebrate Christmas per se, we celebrate the Solstice instead. This has evolved over the last decade or so, where I was finding myself more and more uncomfortable with what Christmas had become – both to us as a family and the Western world at large.
I was sensing more and more disconnect and, because integrity and authenticity are two of my core values, I knew I had to address this.
I think Christmas is a wonderful celebration, if it has meaning to you. If , for example, you’re a Christian, and honouring the birth of Christ has meaning to you, then go for it. What a blessing! But for many, Christmas has lost all meaning, and is just a festival of excess.
For me, my focus has been more on the Earth and nature, than a religion. I would say I’m Spiritual (and indeed, this is an essential part of my day to day life), but I’m not religious. I personally find more reverence in focusing on nature, the seasons, the endless giving and all the gifts from the natural world. It can be argued, that this IS God, it is all His Creation. And that’s fine. Even if we can’t agree on the name of our ‘God’, I think we can all agree we’re seeking meaning and are in search of love, connection, health and happiness. However you find these things, welcome them into your life!
This post isn’t about right and wrong, trying to persuade you or even debating religion, the aim is to share a little of what we do and why, so that you can get to know me better. The emphasis is on encouraging you to finding meaning, however you choose to celebrate this time of year. In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl suggests that the desire to find meaning in life is more essential for humans than the desire for pleasure or power. So, at the end of a very surreal year, I invite you to reflect on your celebrations and contemplate how much meaning you find in your actions and how this enriches your life.
Here’s how Winter Solstice 2020 looked for us!
Celebrate the sunrise
Watch the sunrise – preferably at Stonehenge. This year, technology was our friend with a livestream from the stones! Although the sun didn’t put in much of an appearance, the sky performed subtle shades of purple and pink as darkness gave way to day time.
It’s hungry work watching the sunrise, so breakfast for humans, rabbits, the cat and chickens is order of the day. We don’t have anything different to usual, as we like what we eat!
Celebrate nature’s cycles
In the morning, do some guerilla gardening and go and plant a tree somewhere. And we take holy, ivy and mistletoe to spend the morning decorating our home. (In case you’re wondering, it’s ok in the UK to take cuttings from non-protected plants from a public place. What you’re not allowed to do is uproot, kill the plant, take the whole plant or sell your cuttings on). While we’re outdoors, planting and cutting, this is the perfect time to celebrate the endless cycles of nature. And particularly poignant this year!
One of the quotes I remember from 2020 was from Captain Tom Moore who said “The sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away.” It’s both a literal and metaphoric quote which came in the midst of a difficult year. Here is some interesting information about some of the sacred plants of the winter solstice, including holly, ivy and mistletoe.
Like most families, this is our big meal of the day. It’s somewhat of a traditional Christmas dinner – we prefer chicken to turkey, but most of the rest of the meal is typical Christmas Fayre.
After lunch we hand out gifts. We celebrate with ‘stuff’ just like any other household this time of year. And like most gluttons at Christmas we then crash out and sleep off the excitement.
This year was special in that there was a global meditation to bring in the Aquarian age. It involved 20 minutes of connecting with people across the world to bring Love and Light to the planet.
Dinner / tea
Back to the groaning table for leftovers eaten infront of the fire. We’re fortunate enough to have a real fire so a Yule log is obligatory!
Light the fire pit
My favourite part of the day is wrapping up warm and going outside to light the firepit. Watching the flames is our opportunity to reflect on what dies with the sunset, what we mourn the loss of, what we are glad to release from our life and what we want to bring into our year ahead.
Watch the Solstice Star
Another ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity this year to watch the Solstice Star. Except the clouds came and there was nothing to see!
Bringing light to our home
The final thing we do is put an unlit candle in each room of the house, plunge the home into darkness then light one candle from the burning yule log in the fireplace and walk around the house (not the easiest thing to do when each room is in darkness!) lighting a candle in every room. It’s symbolic of the returning light to the earth.
It’s time for board games, because, ya know, it’s a must-have, right?
What about you? What parts of your winter celebrations bring meaning to your life?