Next week is the Winter Solstice, and I can feel it. It will be the longest night of the year. I’m always encouraged by the idea that after that, the nights will be shorter and the daylight hours will get longer. I’m thinking a lot about the things that bring me comfort during long nights – and between some delicious snacks, a score from my childhood memories, and some creativity, I’ve got some suggestions to share.
Eat: In observation of the Winter Solstice, eat some traditional foods from around the world. Make some wassail in the Pagan tradition of Yule. or Drink hot tea and eat some nuts and fruits, like folks in Iran do to observe the traditional Persian festival of Shab-e Yalda. Many Persians believed that eating summer fruits will help prevent sickness. I’m not promising snake oil cures, but some vitamin c from citrus fruits couldn’t hurt!
See: While the plot of The Nutcracker seems like something out of a fever dream, it’s a winter classic for many to watch. If you’ve never seen it, there are a lot of different versions to go through. A 1993 version of The Nutcracker featuring the NYC Ballet, Kevin Kline as the narrator, and Macaulay Culkin can be streamed on Hulu. You can catch the 2018 movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms on Disney+. A new version Hip Hop Nutcracker, will also be hitting Disney+ on December 25th. Whether you like your version with more traditional ballet or something more contemporary, there’s a version of this story for just about everyone.
Do: While garlands are traditionally thought of as Christmas tree decorations this time of year, they can make any place seem a bit more special: a table, a mantle, or a doorframe. One of my favorites is using dried orange slices, which will make your entire home smell like a dream as you make it. Use oddly sized cuts of wrapping paper to create shapes on a string of twine. You can also string some pinecones on a strand of ribbon to make your home feel cozy. If you have a bunch of woolen socks or mittens without a match, string those up too for a warm feeling.
May you have a worldly, agile, decorative weekend.