winter bits :: making merry, part three- solstice and christmas cheer

One of my favorite traditions during the holidays is our solstice evening candlelit dinner followed by a fire.  A few years ago it included dear friends who were visiting from out of town and we morphed Claire's birthday ring into a menorah so as to celebrate Hannukah with them and we had the merriest and most joyous of dinners. It was fun and silly and included spontaneous guitar accompaniment to Claire's dance moves around the table, as well as plenty of food and drink and good cheer.  Last year our solstice dinner included dear friends here in town who have become family to us- I feel like we are aunts and uncles to each other's children, and siblings to one another.  At the start of the meal the kids joined hands and we big folk circled hands around them and we said our little meal time blessing: "thank you for the wind and rain, the sun and pleasant weather, thank you for this, our food, and that we are together".  Something about our two circles and the sparkly candlelit magic of the night moved me to tears.  We had all come together to share a traditional holiday meal (as in turkey and cranberry sauce and stuffing and the like) and to celebrate the birthday of one of the kiddos and we decided to combine all to do it on solstice.  So much goodness, there.  So much to celebrate.

This year, it was just the three of us and that was sweet, too.  We enjoyed our meal by candlelight and then moved outside for a fire.  The next day we got together with friends to make treats for the birds and then the day after that we hiked together and added some of the suet and seed pinecones to a little perpetually-decorated hemlock in the woods off one of our local trails.

Following solstice, we decided it was past time to get some holiday baking on, so we made some gingerbread cookies and some almond flour-tahini cookies.  Yum, yum.  Christmas music, sparkly lights, the sweetness of receiving cards from friends and family....... and a whole lot of hunkering down and doing nothing but drinking tea and reading books by the fire.

We visited with my mom several days before Christmas and then had a sweet Christmas Eve visit with my brother and his girlfriend, watched lots of movies, and played lots of Clue.  There was the annual Christmas Eve reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' where we are skyped in with loved ones afar and all enjoy the hilarity of technical glitches and time-lapsed reading and such.  Truly, I love it.  My mother-in-law read this story every Christmas Eve to my husband and his siblings when they were growing up and has continued to do so through their adulthood and now she reads it to them (us) and to their (our) children as well.   Claire opted to leave cookies and such out for Santa.  Sometimes she does, sometimes not.  We don't really 'do' Santa, but we play along with whatever she wants to do.  I dutifully crunched the carrot and drank the coconut milk and nibbles the cookies and then scratched a thank you in charcoal on her little note.  Unlike when she asked me point blank about the tooth fairy (she asked if I did it, I asked what she thought, and she said, pointedly, "I think I don't want to be tricked by grownups"- well, that was that and I said yes, it was me. she still sometimes keeps her teeth and sometimes leaves them out- but she doesn't ask me anymore.  it's more fun playing at it sometimes, you know?) she didn't really bring up the cookie tray the following morning.

We enjoyed a slow and easy Christmas morning, pulling goodies out of stockings (or, rain boots for papa and I since our stockings got wet and moldy following a snow globe bust sometime while they were stored in a bin), opening a few gifts each and snacking and drinking hot drinks.  We visited my dad in the afternoon and then came home for a lovely and simple dinner.  Watched movies.  And then had friends (the same friends who joined in our solstice/holiday/birthday celebration dinner last year) over for drinks and snacks and fun.  The kids all played, the piano was plinked and plonked, the birthday girl snapped photos of the evening with her new camera.  The brother, brother's girlfriend, and father of one of our friends was in town and they came along too and it was all so merry and good.

cheers to you and yours~


  1. Have loved the recent posts......
    Thank you!

    Looks like you had a wonderful holiday. It is such a nice time of year, isn't it?!?!

    1. thank you! yes, it really is. the older I get the more I appreciate that wintry call to hunker down, stay warm, get close to loved ones, and focus on smaller tasks.

  2. Replies
    1. yes, it is!

      and it has been SO COLD here lately- highs below freezing, lows in the single digits, wind chill even lower....... brrrrrr!


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