This Christmas, I decided to embrace my inner crunchiness. In prepping for this special time of year, I wanted to put together something meaningful, spiritual and fun for my kids that we can do each year as a family that's not centered around a religious holiday or Santa Claus. After doing some research about how the Solstice has been celebrated by cultures all over the word for centuries, I created some simple, children-focused rituals that celebrate Yuletide, honor the natural rhythms of nature, and remind us of our connectedness to Earth and each other. I hope it becomes a tradition for us every year. Enjoy, and feel free to use and customize for your family and what rings true to you! Peace and Love, Hope
Candles, bells for each person or child, paper and pens, two bowls or boxes, and a special treat to enjoy.
Winter Solstice Celebration
Open with a reading about the Solstice and take part in bell-ringing. Ask kids to listen for the words, "Welcome, Sun!" or, "Thank you, Moon!" and ring their bells each time they hear them. Here's ours:
Today we gather to celebrate the Winter Solstice, also known as Yuletide, to welcome the return of the light and longer days!
The Solstice represents the shortest day, the longest night, and the birth of a new cosmic year. Some ancient cultures used the Solstice to celebrate the power of the Moon. Thank you Moon! (Ring bells) And, they liked to believe that on this day, the Moon gives birth to the Sun. Welcome, Sun! (Ring bells)
Today we honor the Solstice and its darkness as a time of rest and rejuvenation for Mother Earth and all of her beings as she prepares for rebirth in the spring. We celebrate that each day forward from this point, the sun lingers longer, bringing with it renewal, warmth, brightness, and the promise of new growth and love. Welcome, Sun! (Ring bells)
On this longest night, we gather within the warm shelter of our home to be merry and give thanks for this opportunity of renewal. Thank you, Moon! (ring bells)
Burning Ceremony (If kids are old enough)
Prior to the ceremony, give each person two small pieces of paper. On one piece, write down what you want to let go of. On the other piece, write an intention or personal goal for the new year. Adults can help children write theirs. Each person can hold a candle.
(Set down bells and pick-up candles). Let’s start the burning ceremony. To let go of the things that no longer serve us, we light each piece of our “let go papers” with our candles and place them in the Yule Bowl.
Next, we honor this time of renewal to set intentions for what to welcome in the coming year. Place your “intention papers” in the Yule Box.
(Set down candles and pick-up bells again). We celebrate the Solstice as a reminder of our unity with all people, places, and animals in this world, and the Earth itself, by ringing our bells toward the four directional compass points: North, East, South and West. (ring bells in each direction).
We honor our place in a connected universe by ringing our bells upward toward the cosmos; downward toward the earth; and center, toward our own inner being and our divine spirit. (ring bells in each direction).
After you do the rituals, enjoy a special meal or dessert that you make each year.
I encourage you to add or subtract rituals that you want to incorporate for yourself and your family, Have fun!