Just before dawn this morning winter officially began! This happens on the winter solstice, where the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon. It is also the shortest day in terms of daylight. Here in Maryland we didn’t need to worry too much today about the daylight. Winter arrived with gray skies, brisk temperatures, sweeping winds and snow! Ok, it was just flurries but is was SNOW!! It traditionally is a day full of festivals and celebrations. One last hurrah before the long dark winter. The mid-winter celebrations always included a feast. In the Northern Hemisphere the midwinter feasts and festivals lined up with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Christmas. The Roman Winter Solstice was on December 25th using the new Julian calendar. Feasts included night-time masses, large meals, public singing, and often lasted 12 days or more! Sounds like Christmas today, right? I decided to make today a celebration of my own.
Natalie and I have both been feeling a little Christmas funk as of late, and I made the decision that it ended today. It was the last day of work before the holiday break. It has been a crazy week, but today I decided to surprise many co-workers with little tins full of home-made candy. What I love about giving out little surprise gifts today is that people can’t return the favor. I like giving things without anything in return. There was music at work today, snow in the wind, and a general glee among almost all who I spoke with today. After work Natalie had a call from our friend Danielle at the Frederick News Post. She was looking for some leads on local folks with great family CHristmas traditions. Natalie immediately thought of our friend Kara and her parents. Their family annually makes thousands of tiny, miniature Christmas cookies. Each of these little pieces of artwork is meticulously crafted and decorated. Everyone who has had the joy of receiving these treats anxiously awaits all year for them to come again. Needless to say we set Danielle to the Boehne family straight away. Kara reports that they were on the phone for 30 minutes and that her Dad talked the reporters ear off. So look to the Frederick News Post soon for some coverage of these special little cookies.
That wasn’t the end to my own personal mid-winter celebration. When I got home today I decided it was time to re-decorate my Christmas tree. That’s right, RE-decorate. You see, the tree fell over last Friday night during a holiday gathering. Not once, but twice it toppled to the ground. The tree was rest, but gravity won the battle again on Monday night. (there are many theories as to the reasons for this trees perils- all very clever, including a curse!) It is securely up-right now and fully decorated. This increased my Christmas mood about 200%. Next I checked in on Facebook and was happy to see a post from a favorite former student I keep in touch with from time to time. His band , Twin Radio, has a new holiday recording and he sent me the link- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Give a listen and I think you’ll agree, they’re pretty good! I’m going to wrap-up my midwinter feast with some Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, and A Charlie Brown Christmas before bed. Happy Winter Solstice to All and to All a Good Night!