Tomorrow the days start to get longer–for today though, we celebrate the shortest day of the year. Today, we celebrate the Winter Solstice. There’s something about celebrating today that has become essential for my mental health as the days tick closer, and closer, to Christmas. Somewhere in the middle of all of the commercials, and the sugar, and the overly-lit stores, and the ridiculously competitive parking lots, and the nagging feeling of ‘I need to be doing more’, and just the noise of the season in general–we stop, and we celebrate that Winter is, officially, here.
Today we made a ‘nature Christmas tree’, complete with decorations. (My five year old said ‘nature Christmas tree’ is a dumb name because all trees are actually nature trees. He’s totally right. I’m still calling it that though.) We used the big ‘V’ shaped stick that had been floating around all yard all summer, along with pine cones that had also been in the yard for awhile. We flipped the ‘V’ and strung it with twine. Then, we peanut buttered the pine cones and sprinkled them with oatmeal and birdseed (and, a couple of random Goldfish crackers the my five year old stuck on). We hung them on the twine, added some extra boughs from our own Christmas tree, and hung our ‘nature Christmas tree’ out for the birds, and squirrels to enjoy/destroy. (I have boys. The destruction is usually the most exciting part of it all. 🙂 ) ((Also, if you do this with a one year-old–just be ready to sweep. And sweep. And, sweep again. He had a wonderful time playing in it all–so, that was good.)) *Click on the pics if you wanna see them bigger.
After we finished up that project–we kept the mess going. We chopped up some celery, shucked some corn, picked some grapes and mixed it all up with more seed, and oatmeal. We brought our creation outside and ventured around the yard looking for places that we think little critters might seek shelter in at night, and then we put little handfuls of our mix out for them. The conversations got really creative, and it was fun to explore the little places in our yard that we normally walk right by. Eventually we came in to warm up, and to enjoy our own lunch.
I love celebrating the Solstice in simple, quiet, little ways with the kids. It’s a calm day in the middle of the crazy. Maybe one day things will flip and be the opposite–lots of calm, and only a little crazy. For now though–I’ll take this; and, I’ll take the realization that the days will now be getting a bit longer, and a tad brighter, everyday.
If you didn’t celebrate today–but feel inspired to do so, just celebrate tomorrow! It will be the first time the days have started to get longer, since wayyyy back in the Spring. 🙂