From winter’s darkness arises a cozy spark of hope and light…
I’m nine or ten years old, dressed in my usual attire: a color-coordinated sweatsuit from Target.
It’s late December and the air is cold and winter grey.
Inside, however, the atmosphere is festive – that pre-Christmas buzz of excitement.
I’m standing in the dining room; correction, I’m dancing in the dining room.
There are candles lit casting that warm hygge glow; music is playing and – most notably perhaps – I’ve decorated myself with a number of plastic Hawaiian leis.
This is the Winter Solstice!
Seen as the official first day of winter in some climates, here in the upper Midwest we probably feel more affinity for this coming Friday, December 21 being “midwinter.”
Whatever you call it, the Winter Solstice marks the shortest period of sunlight and the longest period of darkness in the whole year.
Are you depressed yet?
Before you fall into total despair for the upcoming lack of daylight, let me provide you with a reason to give thanks:
Barrow, Alaska will celebrate the Winter Solstice by not seeing the sun rise AT ALL, hasn’t seen the sun since mid-November, and doesn’t plan on seeing the sun until late January.
There. Don’t you feel better now?
All you needed was a little perspective shift to appreciate our comparatively abundant climate.
Aside from finding a deranged way to appreciate what little daylight we experience this time of year, the solstice does provide us with a number of reasons to celebrate!
Most notably, the Winter Solstice actually marks the return of light.
Did you think the Summer Solstice was the one that was all about the light?!
It’s a tricky design and an understandable confusion – we’re all amped up on sunlight in the summer and the summer solstice creeps by reminding us that it’s all downhill from there daylight-wise and we…well we don’t care at all because…summer.
But if the Summer Solstice is tricky, the Winter Solstice is a GIFT!
And we all love gifts this time of year, AMIRIGHT?!
Oh wait, I mean…wrong message…cough cough ahem.
The GIFT of the Winter Solstice is threefold:
a) The return of daylight: yep, from here on out the days get longer and the nights get shorter. Summer is baaaasically just around the corner.
b) It REALLY highlights that whole “finding light in the darkest of times” thing I get all jazzed about. It’s a metaphor, but also not a metaphor at this time of year, so that’s just super cool!
This is helpful in reminding us that there’s always a speck of sunshine, a flicker of beauty, or some really important growth that occurs even in the things that seem the absolute crappiest, even if it takes us a really long time to see it.
c) It’s another reason to get SUPER-DUPER HYGGE (did you forget to read the last newsletter? Silly you…here it is!)
So, now you have an important choice to make:
How to celebrate this very special day!!
You have two options:
1. Focused merrymaking: spend time in the company of loved ones, conjuring up some warmth and light! (see ideas below)
2. Spend some time alone! Give yourself a much-needed break from the busyness of the season. Pull out your best hygge practices and get cozy! (see ideas below)
May you find light in the darkness today and everyday…
Happy Solstice and Happy Holidays from Moondance! See you in 2019!!
2 Perfect Ways to Celebrate the Solstice!
Winter Solstice 2018: Friday, December 21st!
Option 1: Merrymaking
- Gather with friends and loved ones!
- Make a fire in the fireplace, or get daring and make a bonfire outside!
- Dance and sing! (Hawaiian leis optional)
- As they say: eat, drink and be merry.
Option 2: Quiet and Solitude
- Hygge 101: warm socks, cozy sweater, steaming mug of coffee/tea/hot chocolate, candles!
- Whatever you do, DON’T RUSH.
- Reflect on this past year: how did you grow? What did you learn?
- Gaze into the future (and/or the fire): what do you hope to do this next year? In what ways do you wish to grow?