Decorating a tree has been on the Solstice for my family has been something I've done for more than a decade now. It's late compared to everyone else, but it is my way of celebrating the longest night of the year!
Today, I'm decorating a real tree Jeremy, my 16 year old son, and his friend will chop down for me. I'll put Christmas music on and make some hot chocolate and decorate the tree. It's also "Mom" time.
Mom has passed on two years ago. But, I have a lot of "Mom" times....whenever I'm in the kitchen baking or cooking a big meal (I always got to help). As an adult, I called Mom many times to ask her how to cook or bake something in particular; ...crocheting, doing crossword puzzles, and other odd times. But, decorating a tree was something she really liked to do, and she made it special. The tunes, the hot cocoa, the oohing and aahing over ornaments and lights and the finished tree.
Well, traditions change and remain the same. As a child, we put up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. As an astrologist and one aware of cycles, I like putting mine up on Winter Solstice. Same method...tunes, hot cocoa, (real) tree and lights, etc., but not the same day.
Why they call it the first day of Winter is beyond me. Almost all of the time, winter weather has already come upon us. But, it definitely is the longest night and shortest day of the year. And, while Jeremy is growing up, I let him stay up this night as long as he wants. After decorating the tree, he has something to look at and dream upon until sleep overtakes him.
And, the best part of Winter Solstice is the "changing of the guard", so to speak. The days will now become longer; oh yes, slowly at first, but it picks up as it goes along until we reach the Summer Solstice where it changes again. Winter Solstice is dark, but it has the key to hope and longer days. I love it for that and celebrate it with lights on the tree for brighter days.
Happy Solstice, friends. May the light of days become more radiant for everyone!