Reader friends, a most joyous of winter holiday celebrations to you, if you celebrate any, and good wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous new year.
This year, I celebrated the Winter Solstice/Yule for the first time with my daughter and husband. It was a simple, homespun evening baking, cooking, making mulled wine (another first), setting the table with fresh evergreens, crystals, and a beeswax candle, the reading of a David Whyte poem, and a fire in the cold, wild, and windy night. It was such a beautiful start to a new tradition.
And now, after a fleeting Advent season, we are celebrating the twelve days of Christmas, another tradition I’m building upon each year. I didn’t know till I was in my thirties that the twelve days of Christmas, now relegated to the song by the same title, is a long-forgotten but rich tradition that allowed the magic, joy, and wonder to ring out for a dozen days and nights. At the end of which is a twelfth night celebration, and then the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
I love these twelve days between the old year and then the first few of the new. We usually spend them quietly, with Christmas carols playing in the background, candles, trees, fresh greens, fairy lights, good food and drink, books, puzzles, favorite films, and creative pursuits. Yule, which predates Christmas, overlaps part of the twelve days, so as I learn more, I incorporate more delightful merriment into the season.
Whether you have children at home, adults, or you live by yourself, I encourage you to seek out beautiful traditions that are meaningful to you. They can add a depth, a richness to your daily life, to your years. They’re worth the work, the planning, and the extra-ness because you will look forward to the splendor, the enchanted, transformative quality of the traditions you choose to call your own.
I’d love to hear about your winter traditions and celebrations, wherever you are in the world.