15 Fun & Easy Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice and Give Back
We love celebrating the winter solstice because it is literally a celebration of the sun’s imminent return–meaning a little more light in the world every day.We think giving, generosity and compassion is just like winter solstice –it’s adding a little light and love to the world every day. The greatest thing, though? No need to go shopping.
What is winter solstice?
Winter solstice occurs twice a year at the precise time when one of the Earth’s poles is tilted the most. As a result, the sun follows its shortest journey across the sky on the day of the winter solstice. And for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it will occur this year on Tuesday, December 21st. On the other hand, since their side of the world is inclined toward the sun, the Southern Hemisphere will be celebrating the summer solstice at the exact same time. The winter solstice, which astronomically signifies the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, inspired the creation of solstice customs to commemorate the “birth of the sun.” Making mulled cider, lighting lanterns, and making intentions for the coming season are just a few of the charming customs to celebrate the winter solstice.
15 Ways to Give Back for Winter Solstice That Are Fun and Easy
We’ve gathered some of our favourite ways to give back and celebrate the winter solstice so you can make this year’s shortest day filled with light to share with the world.
1. An Outdoor Edible Tree for Birds and Animals
A festive activity with kids is to decorate a live outdoor tree with edible, biodegradable decorations for nearby birds and other animals. You can include citrus bird feeders, peanut butter pinecones, seed ornaments, and traditional popcorn and cranberry garlands. Trim the tree while keeping an eye out for nearby animals to enjoy their treats!
2. Prepare a Solstice Feast
The practice of hosting a winter feast to celebrate the winter solstice is one custom that crosses cultural boundaries. Families have historically celebrated the winter solstice with an abundance of foods that are in season since it occurs at the end of the harvest season. Allowing kids to assist in food preparation will get them interested in the kitchen – a double benefit! Your meals may inspire new family customs all on their own. Maybe it’s Aunt Rachel’s flawless pumpkin pie or Grandma’s mashed potatoes. There is nothing like sharing a meal with family and friends that gives from your heart.
3. Make A Wreath
Some holiday customs, like hanging mistletoe and wreaths, have their origins in pagan and winter solstice rites. You can have a relationship with nature even if you don’t practice religion. Gather holly, ivy, evergreen branches, and pinecones outdoors. These are intended to stand for protection, wealth, and eternal life. They may be used to construct a wreath, adorn a mantel or table, etc. Best of all making one from scratch is better for the planet and a beautiful way to give to a neighbour!
4. Make Lanterns for the Winter Solstice
Finding a DIY lantern project that fits with the items you already have at home is really the key since there are many of them available. This can be made with items you have around the house to recycle and reuse! Check out the video and use your imagination to make your own unique lanterns. Make enough to surprise neighbours with one on their doorstep or decorate a local senior center or firehouse! A simple way to give that will remind others to light the world with love.
5. Make Orange Pomanders
With kids, it’s simple to make this project, and you’ll want to keep it around the home after you’re done. A jar of whole cloves and crisp oranges is a good place to start. Use a citrus zester to draw patterns in the fruit peel, then cut holes for the cloves using a tiny toothpick or narrow nail (the pre-poked holes make it easier for kids to stick in the cloves). Put the cloves into the fruit, and you’re good to go. Organize a few in a bowl as a fragrant centerpiece or use the tiny fruit as tree decorations. This is a simple gift that is good for the planet and saves money to make a donation to a charity of your choice instead!
6. Light Up a Yule Log
Long winter evenings may be brightened by lighting a Yule log. This custom was developed by druids to dispel evil spirits, vanquish the darkness, and bring good fortune for the next year. Gather close friends and family around an outdoor fire to celebrate and ask everyone to bring a small donation for a food drive or donations for a local animal shelter.
7. Candlelight for the Night
The long, dark night becomes more genuine by turning off all the electric lights and doing everyday tasks like supper, schoolwork, bath time, story time, and more under the soft glow of flickering candles and comforting lanterns. Make turning off lights your way to give back and help protect the planet!
8. Make a Little Wassail and Song
Drinking this customary warming beverage while celebrating the solstice is a wonderful idea (and it makes the house smell incredible). Two quarts of apple cider, one and a half cups of orange juice, one and a half cups of pineapple juice, one tablespoon of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of lemon juice, two cinnamon sticks, a dash of cinnamon powder, and a dash of clove powder should be combined in a pot and brought to a boil. For 20 to 30 minutes, simmer on lower heat. Pour into cups, remove the cinnamon sticks, and serve. Get some friends together and walk the neighbourhood singing Christmas Carols for everyone! Bring holiday cheer to everyone around you.
9. Use A Spiral Candle Ceremony To Symbolize The Path Of The Returning Light
Releasing stress, anxiety and holiday pressure is one of the best ways to help everyone around you. This is a wonderful way to take a few moments to connect to your breath and start mindful practice. Light your candle and take 5 or ten minutes to just sit and breathe. Set a purpose for the next year. As an alternative, you may make lists of things you want to let go of and resolutions for the new year, burn the lists in the fire and then send the intentions out into the world. Our positive intentions are a beautiful way to give back to ourselves so we are the best for everyone around us.
10. Donate to SolarAid
By contributing as little as $1 to support SolarAid‘s vital work, you can assist them. The work of SolarAid enables entrepreneurs to launch local enterprises, lengthens the time that children spend in school, and lessens the environmental harm caused by burning kerosene lamps. They have great expectations that by the end of the decade, they will achieve their goal of leaving no African house, school, or clinic in the dark.
11. Bake a Bûche de Nol, a Yule Log Cake
The Yule log custom originated during the Iron Age in Europe when households would burn a festive log to rid the air of the previous year’s events and welcome spring. This custom has evolved over time, and now we prepare Yule log cakes instead. Share one with friends and family as you celebrate this winter solstice.
12. Get Organized and Clean Up
A fresh start is possible on the first day of winter. Spend some time organizing and cleaning up your home. Describe your objectives and ambitions for the forthcoming year. Get rid of anything old that you don’t need any more and donate it to charity.
13. Wraps Presents for Donation
We’ve all come across someone who can wrap a gift flawlessly with only three pieces of tape, as shown in a Martha Stewart magazine. Unfortunately, some of us lack the gift-wrapping skills of others. Create a present wrapping station in collaboration with a neighbourhood establishment, such as a bookshop or gift shop. In return for contributions, recruit volunteers to staff the station in hourly shifts and wrap gifts and ask for donations for local charities.
14. Donate to a Local Charity
The winter solstice is a time for reflection and anticipation of the next year. Why not begin the new solar year by helping individuals in need by giving to a local charity or donating to 365Give and double the holiday joy?
15. Set Goals For The Next Season – Reflect, Let Go and Release
Winter solstice is regarded as the soul’s darkest night of the year. Spiritually, this is the moment to celebrate both the brightness and the darkness that each of us carries. Write down the items you want to let go of on little pieces of paper. Throw them onto the yule log fire after everyone has done to turn darkness into light. After “letting go,” make plans for the next season by stating out loud one item, notion, routine, or practice that you want to include in your life.
From all of us at 365give, we wish you a lovely Winter Solstice, a very Merry Christmas, and a healthy, happy new year. May we all shine brightly for the world!