(Happy New Year! Here's to 2014! I started this post a few days ago and am just now finishing it up after a sparkling new year's party here at the house--we celebrated around Icelandic time.)
:: Solstice Tide:
If Christmas seasons in the past have ended in the mental equivalent of hair-pulling rush-hour traffic, this year was like floating a slow, meandering river with just a little class 2 rapid right near the apex. This was in part due to lowering my own expectations, realizing we don't have to have ALL our solstice traditions laid out RIGHT NOW, and that the whole point is to take it easy, be with family and friends, give, feast, light candles and celebrate getting over the hump of dark, winter days.
"The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas" which has made me feel so much more connected to the holiday even though I wasn't, truly, raised Christian. Turns out, pretty much every single tradition associated with Christmas has been going on for a hell of a long time before Jesus. Every. Single. One. Santa (this folklorist links to early shamans), reindeer, gift-giving, evergreen boughs, mistletoe, the 12 days, feasting, even the birth of a "Midwinter Wonder Child" is pre-christian.
:: Making Merry:
From wool felt and with the help of a certain 4-year-old, I finally stitched together a "sun-star" for our Christmas tree. We've never had one and for the last two years Juniper has wanted a star atop our tree. We hope to embellish with glitzy beads in years to come.
Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation style. Which is to say, we went into the woods, picked out a tree, cut it down, made snow-angles, and then...the back of the truck topper was frozen shut. Us girls all sat in the back seat with a subalpine fir in our laps.
:: Grandparents came and joined in the merry-making.
^Juniper and friend Q.^
:: Santa came to town and a star-struck Juniper was led down the aisle by her friend K, all the while covering her glistening eyes with a tree frog. It took her a minute, then she gave him a hug and at my prompting, talked about how she was Santa for Halloween (but then forgot to tell him what she wanted for Christmas). As for Hazel, she wanted nothing to do with him, but happily sat on my lap next to him.