UU Mormon

Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

sunrise Butterfly asked if we could celebrate the winter solstice this year.  It’s just the kind of thing that speaks to her on a spiritual level — that sense of being part of the cycle of the natural world.  We didn’t quite know how to celebrate it, so we spent some time surfing the web reading pagan/Wiccan websites and being very entertained.  I always knew that a lot of Christmas traditions and symbols were left over from pagan solstice observances, but I didn’t realize how pervasive it is.  It makes sense that efforts to focus on Christ at Christmas have never really caught on — there just isn’t much about it that’s truly Christian in origin.

For our little celebration we turned off all the lights in the house during the afternoon, then once the sun had set, we lit some candles (following the example of the solstice service at church last week, we had four candles, one for each compass direction), read “The Shortest Day” by Susan Cooper, sang “Deck the Halls”, and each opened one of our presents.  That was more than enough for NinjaBoy, who opened his new iPod Touch and hasn’t wanted to talk about anything else since. Butterfly and I made some garlands of popcorn and cranberries, and I frosted the Yule log cake, but Horatio had choir practice and didn’t get home until nearly 11 and I was asleep by then, so we had it for breakfast instead.

garland

In the morning we took a walk in the woods at sunrise and put out nuts for the squirrels, NinjaBoy playing with his iPod all the while, and hung our cranberry/popcorn garlands on a bush in the backyard for the squirrels and chipmunks and birds.  There is evidence the critters have found them — I put some extra popcorn bits and cranberries on the top rail of the fence and it’s all cleaned off now.  Hopefully there won’t be any repercussions of attracting vermin — uh, woodland creatures — to our yard.

Breakfast was a sugar overload.  Not only did we have Yule log cake (with cream cheese frosting), but I couldn’t resist trying out a recipe for Nutella bread pudding. So good! And easy.  My kind of recipe.

Yule log

I’m fairly certain we will celebrate the solstice again next year.  Everybody enjoyed it, even NinjaBoy, and not only because he got to open a present early.  He especially liked the sunrise walk and asked if we could do it again.  I expected it to feel fake or forced — “real” holidays are the ones that you’ve grown up with and that are kind of organic.  Traditions just happen, you can’t manufacture them. But this felt like a real holiday, a cross between Christmas and New Year’s. And actually, it felt much more like an authentic holiday than New Year’s, because it was based in something real occurring in the physical world.  

After spending the morning in the quiet (and swampiness) of the woods and eating sweets with my family, it was interesting to scan through all the posts in my Facebook feed about the horrors of the traffic around the malls and the “Air Jordan” riots and think about how stressed out people are getting ready for the holidays, when I was feeling like it was a holiday.  A day for sitting around “playing with our electronics”, as NinjaBoy said. Christmas almost seems like an afterthought.  Not that the kids would agree with me on that. I hope we have enough presents…

I was moving even slower this morning than last week (still with that headache, three weeks now).  Didn’t make it at all.

NinjaBoy was deeply disappointed.  I had to apologize several times and promise to do better next week. He really wanted to go. “Now what am I going to do today if we’re not going to church?!”  It threatened to become a whiny tantrum.  How cool is that?!?

Butterfly said it was fine, but she looked disappointed too.

We’re going to be having a late Thanksgiving due to Horatio’s work schedule, so there’s a question about what to do on Thanksgiving day.  NinjaBoy wants to have a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving — pretzel sticks, jellybeans, popcorn, and toast.  He is a finicky vegetarian who eats no Thanksgiving food.

The church sponsors a Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter; you’re supposed to make a dish and drop it off at the church first thing in the morning to be taken to the shelter.   So I’m thinking we’ll cook some real Thanksgiving food to take to that and then eat toast.