As I moved through my adult years, Christmas became something that lacked meaning. It used to be the buildup of excitement, and the joy of family, and presents, and food, and whee!
It changed for many reasons. Mostly because as you involve many adults in any event they all have their own ideas of what is the right way to handle things, and invariably it would lead to me being disappointed as the things I wanted to do or happen ended up tossed by the wayside (or, one year, tossed on the floor as an appetizer I had carefully made was taken over by unruly kids).
I tried to simply let go of expectations, but I missed the specialness of the holiday. Enter Winter Solstice.
When talking with a friend I realized that what I needed to do was create holiday traditions that were entirely my own. Nobody else, just me observing the things that were meaningful for me. I experimented with doing this as part of Christmas breakfast (too rushed) or Boxing Day (ran the risk of me being wiped from the day before).
Eventually, like a dork, I realized the ideal day was staring me in the face: Winter Solstice. Yeah, I’m slow but I get there.
Winter Solstice is ideal because what is important to me about the holiday is the time of it. It’s the darkest time before the light returns. Everyone celebrates some form of light, and love, and sharing to help get through the darkest times.
Winter is also about hibernation. We pull in to our various caves – with or without spikes – and rest and restore ourselves for when everything comes alive again.
I keep it simple. I have a special dinner of some kind, typically of foods I don’t normally eat and if I can make it from local food so much the better. If I’ve been given gifts of some kind this is when I open them. I take time to meditate on the darkness and light and appreciate the cycle of nature.
It’s a small thing, but it’s mine and it helps me with whatever Christmas turns out to be.
Happy Solstice to all of you who celebrate!