Written by McCadden/Honey Sweet Harmony
As we in the Northern Hemisphere experience the shortening of days leading up to this year’s longest night on December 21, 2022, we may notice ourselves and the children in our programs naturally expressing less active outward focused energy, instead shifting towards a more diffuse, inward focus. Last year we offered a post with some wonderful ideas for weaving your own Winter Solstice traditions, including crafts and stories. Below are some additional suggestions for ways you can honor the Solstice and cold season’s energetic qualities in your activities at this time of year.
Upcycled Tissue Paper Lanterns
Before your Solstice Celebration begins, preparations could include this light-inspired “upcycle” craft project. Gather clean empty small jars (baby food, jam, etc.). Tear or cut tissue paper of various colors into small irregular or geometric shaped pieces. Using small watercolor type paint brushes and watered-down white glue, glue 1 piece of tissue paper at a time onto the jar’s exterior, slightly overlapping them so that they give a kind of mosaic look to the jar. Tea lights illuminate the beautiful multicolored jars. Here are some examples.
These can serve as part of your Winter Solstice celebration, light the way for a center-wide or family lantern walk, offerings for a Trade Blanket, a Lantern Swap (see notes on the song Bless the Turning), or as gifts for the children to offer their family.
The Trade Blanket is an age-old tradition in which people gather together to trade homemade goods or found nature objects. It is a wonderful opportunity to see the children’s talents, and it inspires all of us to grow in our skill and craft. The items to trade can either be handmade (not necessarily by the child, but by someone), or could be something special they’ve found outside (antler, skulls, cool rocks). In either case, it should have a natural essence to it. Each voluntary participant puts their item(s) on the blanket at the beginning, then within the group each takes a turn to select something else. It can work well for each child to bring a couple different things, as they might want to trade for more than one item.
Here is a songbook with a few sweet songs you might enjoy introducing to your winter/solstice traditions.
Depending on the ages and capacity of the children you work with, these could be sung to them, with them, some can be sung as rounds or simply as single harmonies together, and some can go well with craft making or dancing. Many community songleaders tell the origin story of the song, and/or how the song came into their own life, before teaching the song. With this in mind, we’ve included something of each song’s “roots” as we know them. You’ll notice that several of the “song catchers” went into nature for inspiration. If YOU have any winter songs you have “caught” from nature, or songs you love for the cold season, please email us!
Winter Online with ERAFANS
The annual ERAFANS Winter Solstice Ceremony will be online on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 7 p.m. EST. The ceremony will be recorded and available here.