Celebrating Winter Solstice

Warm winter wishes to you at the start of this new season, a season of home, and comfort, and nose-nipping play. A year ago at this time, I started learning more about celebrating seasonal changes with children and using these natural markers of time to create meaningful family traditions and celebrations. The result for our family has been a much deeper understanding and appreciation of seasonal rhythms and the abundant learning opportunities inherent in each new tilt of the earth.

Celebrating the winter solstice this year has been particularly enjoyable, as we marked the time toward the shortest day and welcomed the returning light with a festive winter meal, holiday lights, winter bedtime stories by candlelight, and "solstice" muffins for breakfast.

As we sang, "Happy Solstice to you, Happy Solstice to you," I realized how much more gladly I welcome this cold and desolate season now than before. It used to fill me with dread, these long, dark, dreary indoor days of a New England winter. When my oldest was a toddler, winter felt endless. But I learned as our family grew to embrace these days more fully, to recognize them as a special time when we can gather together at home as a family to dig through piles of library books, bake yummy winter treats, and fully welcome the gifts of the season as we skate, and stomp, and snowflake-catch. I learned that the extra time and hassle of donning winter gear and apparel is just part of our daily winter life, as we move from warmth to cold to warmth again throughout each day. Mostly, I learned to see winter's magic through the eyes of my children, who welcome this season with fervor and anticipation, who greet snowstorms with glee and icicles with delight, who savor the chance to spend more time snuggled in at home rather than darting off to this place or that.

So as this new season dawns and the frosty days settle in, I will focus on the light of this season, the joy that it brings to my children, the warmth of home that welcomes us, and the promise that lies ahead.