The longest night of the year -- and the return of the sun -- is worthy of a simple but significant celebration. Hygge and all that. It also provides a respite from the holiday frenzy, an opportunity to pause and reflect on the wonderful world around us.
Luckily, it requires almost no planning and zero dollars to celebrate the solstice and usher in the winter with a little yuletide cheer. Check out some of our favorite ideas.
1) Take a lantern walk through the woods.
We did this last year with friends and it was perfect. All you have to do is bundle up, grab a lantern or flashlight and head outdoors. Honestly, it's better with snow on the ground but let's not complain about that, right?
2) Make a solstice tree.
Carrots, homemade birdseed ornaments, berries, nuts and other critter-friendly treats can be threaded with twine to be hung or simply set on branches to feed animals scrounging for their cold-weather meals.
3) Create orange "sun" ornaments.
Slice oranges into thin discs, lay them on a baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees F until dried out (about 2-3 hours). Hang with twine as a garland or add to your solstice tree.
4) Gather up treasures to make a nature solstice crown.
Evergreen branches, leaves, small pinecones and berries are just some of the materials the kids can collect and use to make a gorgeous crown. Tie them together with floral wire or use hot glue for heavier items.
5) Drink hot chocolate.
After spending some time outdoors, nothing warms bellies faster than a mug of hot cocoa. Grab the whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup and sprinkles and let the littles DIY their own concoction.
6) Light the candles.
We use our candles all too infrequently since having kids (and curious cats), but they create such a cozy atmosphere. Light some candles for dinner, or bring a few into the bathroom for a candlelit bubble bath.
7) Read about the solstice.
Swing by the library and pick up a couple books on the solstice, or do some internet sleuthing together to learn more about this time of year. There are lots of great, kid-friendly videos out there, and PBS Kids even has a little bit about the holiday.
8) Burn a yule log.
Did you know that yule logs originated as a winter solstice tradition? I did not. I also never thought to have one. ThoughtCo. has a really lovely way to incorporate the yule log custom in your home, including writing out your wishes on paper and attaching them to the log before burning it.
9) Let things go.
Similar to the wishes above, the solstice offers the perfect time for a little reflection of the year gone by. Grab a piece of paper, write down anything you would like to release and slip it onto the fire. The dark burden transforms with the flame into light.
10) Stargaze. One of the quickest, most surefire ways to connect with nature is to look up at the stars. Grab a warm blanket or two and head outside if the skies are clear. Bring the
A couple more fabulous resources for solstice information and activities are here and here. Have a warm, happy solstice <3