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Celebrating the First Day of Winter

The holiday season is busy enough for most of us. Why add anything else to the to-do list?

Celebrating the first day of each season offers the perfect opportunity to:

  • Note the cyclical changes in the soil, sky, trees, plants, and wildlife.

  • Reflect on the lessons each time of year imparts. Winter reminds us of the importance of quiet, rest, and dormancy.

  • Learn about different celebrations around the world.

  • Celebrate! Seasonal celebrations are affordable, nature-based, and as easy or elaborate as you want them to be.

  • Be grateful for the gifts of food, family, and friendship.

The key to celebrating the first day of winter, when most of us are busy planning other celebrations, is to keep it simple, and choose traditions that give you time to relax and reflect.

Fives Simple (and free) ways to celebrate winter

  • Observe

Watch the sunrise and sunset. You probably won’t even have to set an alarm. At our house, it will rise at 7:43 and set at 4:36 on Tuesday. (The good news is longer, brighter days are coming.) You can find out what time the sun will rise and set on your mobile devise.

  • Wander

Take a hike, go cross-country skiing, or go for a walk and look for signs of the season. Listen to winter’s music. Compare winter’s textures: dry bark, soggy leaves, spongy moss. Notice winter’s distinctive scents.

  • Give

Find gifts for each other from nature. Exchange small handmade gifts. Make homemade cookies for friends or neighbors. The key is to keep it simple.

  • Feast

Serve up your favorite winter crops: beets, winter squash, potatoes, onions, kale, cabbage, or parsnips. We’re fans of stuffed squashes and homemade sauerkraut this time of the year. Lighting candles can turn an ordinary meal into a celebration.

  • Reflect

Spend some time relaxing together in front of the fire, or the beach. Share one thing you’ve lost and one thing you’ve gained over the past year. Tell stories about your best and worst holiday memories. Make wishes for the coming year. Reflect on the lessons of winter: the importance of rest, dormancy, and stillness.


The key to seasonal celebrations is to make them simple and relaxing. The last thing most of us need is another stressful winter tradition.



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