Our family loves celebrating the winter solstice. As we live in the Canadian mountains, embracing the darkening days and then return of the light is definitely something to celebrate! Although winter still has a long way to go, the Winter solstice marks the days lengthening again.
What is Winter Solstice?
The winter solstice marks the first day of winter, which is also the shortest day of the year. It falls on a different day each December, but in general, it tends to be between December 21st-23rd. The winter solstice for 2018 is December 21st. Days grow shorter every day until the winter solstice, then after, the days start to get longer again.
The shortest day of the year means night (darkness) is longer than the day (light)
However this depends on what hemisphere you live on.
In the northern hemisphere it’s the winter solstice, if you live in the southern hemisphere, it’s actually summer and is called the summer solstice!
Winter Solstice Traditions
- Candle making. With our younger kids we like to roll up candles. Now that they’re older, we enjoy candle making. Our candles don’t always turn out perfectly, but it’s part of the fun.
- Turn off the lights. Enjoy only candlelight on the day of the solstice. This brings awareness to that darkness and returning light.
- Make an outdoor solstice spiral.
- Host a winter solstice party! Invite friends over for some mulled wine or hot cocoa and enjoy an outdoor fire.
- Give handmade gifts. We give our children’s gifts on the winter solstice and save Christmas day for Santa 😉
- Enjoy handmade crafts like an orange pomanders, or using nature to create tree ornaments.
- Get a live Christmas tree from the forest.
- Have a sledding party before dark.
- Go for a sleigh ride.
- Bake a yule log dessert.
- Find a local celebration. Many towns offer winter activities and celebrations.
- Ice skating outdoors is super fun!
- Build a snow fort or snowman.
- Help the birds by putting feeders outside (you’ll have to do it the whole winter).
- Create a large feast to enjoy with family and friends.
- Write down new years intentions and goals. Because the solstice is the start of longer days, I like to use this time to create new goals to rebirth my life.
- Make ice luminaries or snowball lanterns for the driveway.
Do you have a favorite way to celebrate the first day of winter?