Our Midwinter Traditions

As the Winter Solstice is so close I thought I would share with you some of the traditions me and my family have for this special day. Midwinter is our most important celebration in my family and it is the time we all get together so it's always a lovely time of year for me.

Preparations like buying food, drink and presents will have started quite a while ago but I'll bring it to about a week before the day. So we will be baking, finishing up any homemade alcohol that is ready, there's two barrels of apple ale and my bottle of hedgerow vodka on the go while I'm writing this. We will go out a few days before the solstice and collect holly and ivy for the decorations. We don't buy a tree, we did use to but having a full tree in our house for the sole purpose of leaving it to die seemed wrong to us especially as our celebrations focus a lot on nature. Instead my Dad made a tree for us out of felled wood so instead we bring that down from the attic and fix it up a bit. Dan and I will have started our tradition of reading one stave each night of A Christmas Carol (my favourite book) to each other so that we read the last one on the night before the solstice. 

On the day before the Solstice my Dad will be in the kitchen doing the preparations for the big lunch next day. So I will pop on some Christmas music (much to my Dad's despair but hey it's my guilty pleasure) and I will spend most of the day decorating the front room with the holly and ivy that we collected, fairy lights and candles. 

Once the decorations are all finished with and the evening comes round we will have dinner which has become a tradition of having pizza and we will watch our first Christmas movie. It will be either the Nightmare Before Christmas or A Muppet Christmas Carol (then we will watch either one as our second movie). When we put on the second film we have one of my favourite traditions of having hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. After the second film my Dad will bring out his gin punch which we all have a glass of while watching the 1971 animated version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim, if you haven't watched it you can find it on youtube here. It's a masterpiece and you should definitely watch it! Then we all go off to bed but like the child I am I am always too excited so I don't sleep well. 

We wake up very early on the morning of the solstice and go for a drive up to the woods nearby and climb up to the pulpit to watch the sun rise, well I say watch the sun rise, it seems it's tradition for it to be too cloudy to see the sun. But the walk is just as special regardless. When we arrive home we crack open the Buck's Fizz and open a few presents,when we were younger it was tradition for my brother and I to argue with my mum about having a breakfast, she always wanted us to have one but D and I would refuse point black. It was up to my Dad to point out to my mum that we would be stuffing our faces later and not to worry. 

At lunch we have the biggest roast dinner that man has ever known, we all sit around the table eating, drinking and laughing and generally having a great time. We will make toasts to anything happy that may have happened during the year, or to anyone we may have lost. We pull crackers, eat pudding, then put the table away. Afterwards we sit around full of food, opening gifts, playing cards, watching films and just being happy in each other's company. 

For the days following we generally eat too much, drink too much , play games, watch films and have a nice time. Celebrating the Solstice instead of Christmas gets me a lot of weird looks and off comments but in actually how we celebrate is not that much different. 

So no matter what you celebrate or don't celebrate I hope winter brings you all the best, happiness, love and peace and I'll see you again in the new year!! 

Merry Midwinter!! 

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