I don’t know about you, friends, but I think Winter Solstice (or Yule) might be my new favorite Waldorf celebration. It was an easy, relaxed day for us. This is such a stressful time of year that it was nice to slow down and enjoy some quiet time as a family. It also pleased me that this year, Solstice happened to occur on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the day in the Waldorf world that marks the week to honor humankind. My favorite humans, of course, are my husband and son, so I loved spending this special holiday together.
We started the day by making yet more bird feeders. I’m happy to report that the native bird population devoured all eight of the birdseed ornaments we made last week. I have a confession: I’m not much of a nature person. I don’t like being overly hot or cold; I don’t like bugs or being outside. My house and its central air make me very, very happy. Yes, I know this goes directly against the value Waldorf places on the natural world–I’m working on it! Anyway, being the nature-adverse person I am, I was surprised by how delighted I was to see birds on our tree pecking away at the feeders we made for them. We got some beautiful birds, too! There were the usual little brown sparrows and robins that we always see, but we also spotted cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers throughout the week. Solstice seemed like a great opportunity to prolong the joy. This time, we made a cranberry garland and peanut butter/apple/birdseed ornaments. We initially meant to include popcorn on the garland as well, and we really enjoyed popping corn straight from a cob. When I went to thread the popcorn, though, I was surprised at how difficult it was. I decided the birds would be just as happy if I threw popcorn on the ground and went with a cranberry-only garland. This was supposed to be a low- stress holiday, after all! We also cored a few apples, cut them into thick slices, and looped some twine through each hole. We coated each side of each slice with peanut butter and then dipped them into the birdseed. Sadly, all the bird treats are still on my counter because it’s raining. I don’t want the popcorn to get soggy or the peanut butter to slide off the apples. Someday…
Next, we let the kiddo open one of his Christmas presents early. This part of the festivities wasn’t planned, but we’re going to make it a tradition. In all honestly, our decision to let him open a present was fueled by the fact that he is a very busy twenty-month-old and he was going a little stir crazy on this cold day. He was thrilled with his Wheely Bug, and spent a large chunk of the afternoon getting on and off it, playing with its antennae, and turning it over and making the wheels spin. While the toddler explored his new toy, my husband and I prepared the meal. He made an easy carrot soup and I made a sun cake. Now, about this sun cake: it seems to be a reasonably common dessert in the Waldorf world. It’s a simple white cake covered with lemon pudding. I found lots of pictures online, and they all looked quite pretty. Not mine, though! The pudding slid in glops off the side and onto the counter. I couldn’t decide whether I should keep adding more pudding to evenly cover the top or if I should just cut my losses. And yes, the cake was plenty cool. I’m just incompetent, I guess! On the bright side, it tasted just fine.
Once the carrot soup and ugly cake were ready, we turned off all the lights except for those on our Christmas tree. I lit several candles and we sat down to enjoy a delicious, simple meal. The thing I love about Winter Solstice is that it is sort of contradictory. On one hand, it is the first day of winter. On the other, it also celebrates the fact that from now on, the days will be growing longer. So even though winter has just begun, it has also begun to end. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to make stand,” that is, a time when the sun stands still. Our evening together reflected the meaning of the word. The simplicity of our meal and the darkness around us seemed to cause everything to slow down. Next week might be crazy, but tonight was peaceful and beautiful.