For today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.
A few years ago, I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to secede from of a certain holiday that occurs at this time of year, the commercialism and reciprocity. She invited us to participate in one of her traditions of celebrating Winter Solstice, gathering with friends to tell stories and anoint a mighty oak. Needless to say, this piqued my interest and we now have joined her in this tradition for the last three years. We quip painting ourselves blue and dancing naked in the forest but have yet to find one of us hale and hearty. Instead we eat, drink and merrily begin our quest for a mighty oak to anoint with what red wine we have remaining. Fun is had by all, in the rain or snow and every year since, the days get longer and the sun more prominent.
We stopped celebrating Christmas all together, no tree, no gifts, no shopping and went back to the basics, to truly contemplate what was important.
Friends and family still wish us a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, sending gifts and cards in the mail and all arrive without caveat. Their traditions are respected and they all acknowledge ours, and in hopes that we may adopt traditional customs again, unique rituals merit distinction.
Happy Solstice, everyone.