Winter is coming. It’s nearly a month away, but here in New England it is starting to feel like it began last week. We are season celebrators, so this one is a little tricky. For spring, summer, and autumn, it’s very real that we are celebrating something that is coming. Something that we’ve seen glimpses of, but isn’t quite here yet. Maybe we just have a poor idea of what autumn should be, but to us, the last month of autumn always feels like winter. It’s cold. Sometimes it snows. We wear mittens and hats and puffy jackets.
This will be our third year celebrating the winter solstice with Roozle. The first year of her tiny little life, we celebrated Christmas. This will be the first year that she realizes that other families celebrate something different. So far it’s going well. She has many Jewish friends and a few Christian friends so there’s already the conversation among the children and between Roozle and I about different families having different celebrations. She is excited to see snowman decorations everywhere and declared, “A SNOWMAN SOCK!” at CVS this morning upon seeing a snowman Christmas stocking.
We will get our solstice tree next weekend (by bike!) as is our little tradition and will decorate it on solstice eve with friends. We may put lights on it when we get it this year, but nothing else until our celebration. The tree will stay up until New Years as we did last year. By then I will hate it and it’s needles.
For us, the solstice is a celebration of light, darkness, color, the weather changing, and the start of something new. With a questioning 3.5 year old around, we are feeling more confident than ever that celebrating the seasons with Riley was the right decision. She loves it and it makes so much sense for all of us. Now that we are a few years into it, I love being able to go through our memories of the various years and celebrations. A summer picnic with friends for the summer solstice this year, the children swimming naked in the pond as we drank wine on one of the hottest nights of the year. A trip to the farm for the spring equinox before Roozle’s first birthday, wearing her sheep crown and then a picnic. Our winter feast two years ago and trying to decorate the tree with miles of felted wool garland. Each season has been welcomed with a simple picnic or small feast with friends.
We are making our own traditions, as all families do in their own ways, and it rules.
How is your winter tradition different than what you celebrated as a child?