I know that I mentioned Winter Solstice yesterday but I decided to write more in depth about it today because I am seriously so excited to get rid of Christmas and start a lifetime of celebrating Solstice. I think that we might even start celebrating Midsummer as well.
Since I decided so late in the game to celebrate Winter Solstice and not Christmas, both P and I had to work yesterday and today. We were ok with it but *hopefully* by some miracle he will be home on R&R for Winter Solstice next year because I am already planning what I want to do. More on that later, back to this year. We cooked dinner together, ate together and spent time with each other. We added 2 more strands of lights to the tree to symbolize the days getting longer and light coming back to the earth. We are horrible at keeping gifts from each other so P only had one gift to open. Again, that was ok with us because we pretty much buy whatever we want throughout the year. Also, our anniversary gifts mean more to us than what we buy for other holidays….we’re weird like that
We “adopted” a polar bear (part of our giving back) by giving money to an organization that fights to preserve the Arctic and decrease the greenhouse effect. We also “adopted” a penguin for P’s son from the same organization. Part of Winter Solstice, for us, is giving back to the environment/nature in some way so this is how we chose to do it this year. The focus on on nature and our relationship to it is something that drew me to celebrate Winter Solstice. I am Christian and grew up in a very conservative Christian environment. The focus was never on the physical world/home but our eternal spiritual home. Even now much of what I hear from very conservative Christians is the attitude of “We don’t need to worry about this world” regarding environmental issues, recycling, carbon footprint, etc. I never understood nor do I currently understand that thinking. My belief is and always has been that God made this earth for us and we should take of it. We should try to make it better place both physically-less pollution, recycle, lower carbon footprint-as well as morally-human rights, ending world hunger, stopping genocide-because God entrusted this world to us. To me, I see the Earth as a gift from God and therefore I need to take care of it to the best of my ability. I’ve always felt more spiritually touched when seeing a beautiful sunset; climbing a mountain; walking through a beautiful forest; or sitting on a beach listening to the ocean, rather than sitting in a church listening to someone speak. I see God in nature all the time, so to me celebrating the Solstices make sense. Spending time to appreciate my family, friends and Earth makes complete sense to me. In the future I want to spend time outdoors, appreciating nature on Winter Solstice (this year we did it 2 days before).
I also love the accepting, open thinking that surrounds the celebrations. This will be my guide for celebrating in the future. I love the idea of learning about how it was celebrated in old Ireland (P is half Irish) and teaching our children about their ancestry. It’s even made me think about tracing my own ancestry so that I can teach my children about that half of their ancestry. P and I have even discussed not having Santa Claus in our home at all when we have children. We obviously have a bit of time to decide what to do with that, though. I know that for us, I think that I want to do the gift giving differently next year. Maybe focus on natural gifts, gifts related to learning/science, crafts from local artists, etc. I also know that if our parents want us to celebrate Christmas with them as a family when we are there, we will do it. Our parents have waited a long time to be grandparents, they deserve to celebrate whatever holiday they want when they have their grandchildren with them.
For me, the most important part of Winter Solstice is that it’s not Christmas. I don’t mean that in a bitchy way at all and I don’t think that those who celebrate Christmas are wrong. I feel at peace and non-conflicted now about the holiday that I am celebrating. It has also made me think more deeply about what I need to do to make the world a better place, both physically and morally. It has made me remember that we are connected to nature and can have a positive or negative effect on it. It reminded me to stay in the present and focus on having P with me this year, rather than focusing on the fact that I won’t have him here next year.
To some it might be weird that a Catholic guy and a Protestant gal are celebrating a Pagan holiday but it fits us perfectly