Publisher’s Letter: WINTER SOLSTICE — GIVE IT MEANING!

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

Since before recorded history, there is evidence that people in the northern hemisphere celebrated the Winter Solstice in late December.

This year falling on Sunday, December 22, the solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night. Considering the all-important growing season it’s easy to understand why in ancient times, trusted people were assigned the important task of tracking the sun to determine the best times to plant and harvest.

But dialing back to the modern day where we enjoy tropical fruit in the middle of winter it might not seem especially important to honor this time of year and establish traditions. “Establish” traditions, you might ask? Aren’t traditions something handed down from those who came before us? Well, YES and thankfully, NO!

You may have been raised with traditions you disliked. Your family may have come from a “bah humbug!” point of view. Perhaps your mom came from the “Betty Crocker” school of cooking and you were never too thrilled by what came out of her kitchen.

In seeking to imbue meaning and value to this time of year a lot of things may stand in the way. But once you are aware of what’s operating, you can make this holiday and the ones to come truly a wonderful and special time of year.

What might be working against your enjoying the Spirit of the Holiday:

1) Most of us are more privileged than we realize. A special feast doesn’t especially thrill us if we dine out so often that great food is just a part of our everyday life.

2) Some of us may go for long weekends in resort settings — pretty hard to compete with that for “thrill factor.”

3) We may not belong to a spiritual community with built-in holiday-related festivities.

But with awareness, you can choose to establish your own traditions that will have you looking forward to the holidays for years to come. And if you have small children this may be especially important so that they look forward to the holidays for more than the many presents they may receive.

To envision what you would like to create for yourself and your family you might purchase an appointment calendar with room to write in your ideas.

I know you have “an app” for your schedule — but this calendar has a different purpose. Many come with November/December 2019 added to the full 2020 calendar. Use the space for year-end to write down ideas of what you would like to include in your holidays. Pen on paper often generates far more than typing into your cell phone such as:

  • Visiting or writing people you rarely see (including family)
  • Learning to make a new holiday treat that your family growing up never enjoyed
  • Taking your family to that holiday-related event such as a Holiday Tree Lighting
  • Buying something for a child who is less fortunate than your own children

With young children new traditions are easy to establish — if they liked it last year, they’ll remind you they want to do “that” again this year.

The idea is to honor this time of year when one year ends and another begins. With some forethought and planning, going forward, you can create your holiday traditions as unique as you and your family.

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Blaine Howerton

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