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<p>I'm hoping this is in the right spot.  If it's not, sorry admins!  Move it to where you see fit!</p>
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<p>DH and I were talking this week, and I think both of us would like to cement some lasting winter-time traditions in our house.  My in-laws have the gaudy, stressful, present fueled Christmas covered.  And this isn't meant to be me dogging on Christmas, or asking about how to make Christmas better.</p>
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<p>But I've always loved the winter, and I think both DH and I would really like to start marking the season in a way that can be meaningful for our family.  I realize that a lot of common Christmas traditions are in fact just borrowed/reworked solstice traditions, but I am just curious, tell me what your family does to celebrate the winter solstice?  Or are there any good sites or books about celebrating the winter solstice that you can recommend?</p>
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<p>We just started celebrating solstice 2 years ago.  We have friends come over.  We use a lot of candlelight in the dining area.  We allow the kids (there's usually 8 of them here at our solstice celebration) to have electric light in the back of the house.  We don't have any food traditions yet.  We save the trunk of last year's Christmas tree, and drill candle holes in one section of it for use as a centerpiece.  We put it on a bed of evergreen boughs (maybe off this year's Christmas tree, if it's still fresh, or we just go into the woods to get some.)  We burn the rest of our old Christmas tree in our wood stove that night.  We don't really have anything hard and fast, since we're new to it, but I really love our old Christmas tree as a centerpiece. </p>
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<p>ETA:  I just realized this might be a little confusing.  We do both Solstice and Christmas, so it really is a Christmas tree that we save for next year's Solstice.</p>
 

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<p>We're pagan and celebrate Yule (Winter Solstice). We keep a flame alive over the longest night and if the weather isn't completely heinous, we have a tradition of welcoming back the sun by meeting some friends at an overlook in a park about half an hour from our house before sunrise and banging drums and making music as the sun rises. There are about 10 families who do this with us every year. People bring hot chocolate and bakery goodies to share, and sleds if there's snow. The kids love this, even when it means waking them up at 5am.</p>
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<p>We also decorate the tree with only Yule ornaments up until Yule, and the day after we'll put on the Christmas ornaments. (We celebrate both holidays, since our families celebrate a cultural Christmas.) Every year the kids make new suns and moons for the tree, using dried slices of oranges and lemons threaded on ribbon. We also make ornaments out of applesauce and cinnamon -- use a 50-50 ratio and cut the resulting dough with cookie cutters or a butter knife to make your ornament, poke a hole in it with the straw before baking on low heat until dry, then thread with ribbon and hang on tree. You can paint them with paint or glitter, but I would avoid sealing them if you want that lovely smell to permeate your house. They smell *really* good.</p>
 

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<p>our big thing (when we lived there) was the <a href="http://firebirdfestival.com/" target="_blank">Phoenixville Firebird Festival</a>. It was a huge deal for us, and so we want to bring it with us where ever we go. </p>
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<p>we were *very* low key about it this year (June, here, is winter solstice). I made a paper phoenix as a center piece and we had a little candle light meal. we told the story of the phoenix.</p>
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<p>this next year (june 2011), i would like to make origami phoenix and actually burn the little thing. i'm trying to figure out how to do it, but i'm sure i'll think of something.</p>
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<p>so, that's my thing.</p>
 

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<p>We're mostly centered around Christmas, but my dds(12 and 8) and I pause to mark the Solstice with a few traditions we've built together over the years. When dh is home he joins us too. For us it's a quiet, more spiritual family observance in the middle of the Christmas hectic-ness.</p>
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<p>Some of the things we do are:</p>
<p>Bake a sweet twisted bread wreath, with a lemon curd or almond filling and dried fruit. (we will make another one come Summer Solstice). It's a beautiful bread that looks like a little sun when it's done <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com//images/smilies/smile.gif"></p>
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<p>This is the day we make star and wreath shaped seed-suet ornaments and hang them outside for the birds.</p>
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<p>In the evening we light candles and enjoy our bread and a warm drink while we fold hundreds of tiny puffed paper stars to string and hang around the house.</p>
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<p>Our kids have a nature table too, and this is the day they change it over.</p>
 

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<p>We invented a Soup and Solstice party years ago. On Dec. 21st any of our friends left in town get soup, bread and lots of warm company. One year I had a fire juggler. One year I had a bonfire. One year, I did an all candlelight thing. No gifts and a tiny potted tree with sun ornaments. We also sing silly sun songs. Some years I have sun cookies for the littles to decorate.</p>
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<p>Here's some reading for you.</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSolstice-Tree-Jenny-Young-Readers%2Fproduct-reviews%2F1573929301" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Solstice-Tree-Jenny-Young-Readers/product-reviews/1573929301</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FReturn-Light-Twelve-Around-Solstice%2Fdp%2F1569243603%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1289536590%26sr%3D1-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Return-Light-Twelve-Around-Solstice/dp/1569243603/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289536590&sr=1-1</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWinter-Solstice-Sacred-Traditions-Christmas%2Fdp%2F0835608344%2Fref%3Dsr_1_4%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1289536478%26sr%3D1-4" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Solstice-Sacred-Traditions-Christmas/dp/0835608344/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289536478&sr=1-4</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FShortest-Day-Celebrating-Winter-Solstice%2Fdp%2F0525469680%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1289536478%26sr%3D1-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Shortest-Day-Celebrating-Winter-Solstice/dp/0525469680/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289536478&sr=1-1</a></p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Princess ConsuelaB</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1278423/tell-me-about-your-winter-solstice-traditions#post_16038348"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Some of the things we do are:</p>
<p>Bake a sweet twisted bread wreath, with a lemon curd or almond filling and dried fruit. (we will make another one come Summer Solstice). It's a beautiful bread that looks like a little sun when it's done <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com//images/smilies/smile.gif"></p>
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<br><p>Oooh, will you share the recipe?  I love this idea, and we'd like more traditions for solstice.</p>
 

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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="color:#7030a0;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">We do many of the “christmasy” Yule traditions that I believe came from northern Europe. Like decorated Yule tree, Santa clause, stockings with gifts, reindeer, mistletoe and holly. We put a solar ornament on top our tree. We open presents and stockings on Solstice morning.</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="color:#7030a0;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">We are lucky to have a large pagan community in our area so we go to 2 -3 Solstice events and parties. One “public” ritual we attend is really sweet. We sit in a circle holding a candle. We light our candle from the person next to us and say a blessing for the community. We sing songs. Then a young woman comes out dressed as Lucina (St Lucia) wearing a crown of candles. She passes out chocolates or candy ginger to the kids (and adults).</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="color:#7030a0;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">We also have friends who “drum up” the sun either by staying up all night or getting up early to greet it. BUT these folks came from other parts of the country where you could actually see the sun in the morning. Here in the NW it’s always cloudy and usually raining LOL</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="color:#7030a0;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">FYI - some of us are posting threads in the Spirituality forum about seasonal celebrations, rituals with kids, etc... look for some new threads soon!</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="color:#7030a0;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">Rhianna</span></span></span></p>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p>Thank you so much for the great ideas.  And those links are wonderful!  I've got them on my list for my next Powell's visit!</p>
 

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<p>We're going to burn a yule log this year now that we have wood stove.  Other than that just a birthday party for my daughter.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>BreakfastyMichele</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1278423/tell-me-about-your-winter-solstice-traditions#post_16038691"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p>Oooh, will you share the recipe?  I love this idea, and we'd like more traditions for solstice.</p>
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<br><br><p>I will dig it out later and post it here, right now it's buried.</p>
 

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<p>Found it! This is the original recipe we adapted for Solstice, but I left it written as is because it's yummy in cinnamon too<span><img alt="lol.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif"></span> Where it says "combine remaining ingredients" just replace replace the raisin-almond mixture(bolded ingredients) with lemon curd or almond filling(we just use jarred) and sprinkle golden raisins or dried cranberries over it.</p>
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<p>1 package yeast<br>
1/4 cup lukewarm water<br>
1/2 cup milk, scalded<br>
1/4 cup shortening<br>
1/4 cup sugar<br>
1/2 tsp salt<br>
1 slightly beaten egg<br>
1/2 tsp vanilla<br>
1 tsp grated lemon peel<br>
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour<br>
2 TB butter, melted<br><strong>1/2 cup raisins<br>
1/2 slivered almonds<br>
1/3 cup sugar<br>
1/2 tsp cinnamon</strong><br><br>
Soften yeast in water. Combine next 4 ingredients and cool to lukewarm. Add the egg. Add vanilla, lemon peel and 1 cup of the flour; beat well. Stir in softened yeast; mix well. Add remaining flour to make a smooth soft dough.<br>
Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl,turning once to coat. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.<br>
Punch down. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll to 21x7 inches, 1/4 inch thick.<br>
Brush with melted butter. <strong>Combine remaining ingredients</strong>; spread on dough. Roll from long edge, seal. Shape ring on greased cookie sheet. With scissors, snip almost to center at 1-inch intervals. Pull sections apart; twist slightly so you can see the "swirls" created with the filling. Cover, let rise until double, about 50 minutes.<br>
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Drizzle with glaze: Mix 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 4 teaspoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or lemon extract, and dash salt.</p>
 
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