hello, winter

hi! solstice greetings!

do you like to do anything to observe the solstice? every year in summer, we have a picnic that i like to try and make go on for as long as possible. but in the winter, it’s about turning more inward. ideally, i would go for a walk in the woods and soak up every bit of those precious sun rays that shortest day of the year (some nature element is important here – to connect with the earth), and then spend the evening indoors watching a movie lighting all the candles in the house.

one particular winter solstice (our first in europe) it happened also to be the day “the world was ending” according to the mayan calendar (remember that, in 2012?) and we watched seeking a friend for the end of the world and i halfway felt like it might actually be the end of the world – that sort of electricity in the air you only feel at a time when every person in the world is observing some event at the same time (or at least every person in your time zone, like on new year’s). low key, though, i really liked that film!

some community groups and churches do a candlelight service around this day – i think that is a beautiful tradition. not only lighting up the darkest day but celebrating the coming of the slow return back to lighter days. one of my students told me of a tradition his class has that every year, they go out to the forest and decorate a tree. one solitary tree. can you imagine walking through the forest and finding that? it would be so serendipitous. mystic mamma has a collection of some more really nice traditions, if you’re into that. 

if you’re reading this, i’ve made it through this super-charged turbo month and am officially on christmas holiday until the new year. it also means i’ll be sleeping for much of the weekend, probably because whew, this week was a doozy (three different mornings spent in government offices, two choir concerts, one holiday party and a partridge in a pear tree) the majority of people i know here in budejovice have nearly two weeks off work for christmas. can you believe it?

between running around like a crazy person, i’ve been trying to light my lil’ advent candle, take a quiet moment to sip some winter tea, and maybe cook a little bit! i made a few kinds of cookies last weekend. what are your favorite christmas cookies to make? i love peanut butter blossoms and russian tea cakes – the two we made most often back home! i’ve made gingerbread as well the past few years, but this year i invested in a few harder to find ingredients to pull together these: almond flour tahini molasses cookies – i topped with goji berries and a sprinkle of berry sea salt and i have found no other cookie that hits the spot quite as well when paired with a cup of smokey black tea. nothing better.

all in all, since i’m home (in the czech republic vs on a trip) this year, i’m looking forward to some chill days of snacking on mince pies, watching christmas movies, being lazy, candles, punches in the square, and seeing some friends this holiday. a musical performance or two couldn’t hurt! i’ve had so much fun singing with my choir in concerts this week that i would love to be in the audience next time.

as i finally have more time over the next few weeks, i’ll try to pop in with some posts i’ve been wanting to get around to for ages, so hope to see you around. happy holidays to my dear readers and hope you enjoy a slow and present christmas!

question for you: do you have any solstice traditions? what is your favorite christmas cookie?