7 Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

This tradition can help you bring back the light in your soul.

Enjoying the sunlight on the darkest day of the year.

 (Sergey Zaykov / Shutterstock.com) 

The day “the sun stands still,” occurs when the North Pole is the furthest away from the sun and heralds the official start of winter, according to the Sparks blog. The solstice falls on December 22 in 2023.

While many people might want to huddle inside where it is warm, the solstice is a time to celebrate nature and the rebirth of the light, as days will begin to get longer.  Some people choose to bring in their own light with candles or bonfires. Other people see it as the time to start counting down to Christmas. If you are looking to start a winter tradition, here are seven ways to celebrate the winter solstice

Watch the Sunrise and Sunset

Honoring the sun is an ancient tradition. So whether you live by the shore, in the country, or in a city, go outside in a green space to watch the sunrise in the morning and the sunset in the evening, suggests The New York Post. Being out in nature is good for you, so breathe in the scents, collect beautiful leaves and pine cones and take it home with you.

Friends watching the sunrise.

(Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com)

Burn a Yule Log

The Yule log is a Nordic tradition dating from medieval times, according to Sparks. During this longest night of the year, people would bring a large log into their homes to feed the fire through Christmas. This was believed to bring good luck into the new year. If you don’t have a fire place, you can have a bonfire at the beach or simply watch a relaxing video of a yule log banishing the dark.

Burning the yule log to bring the light in.

(Amelia Martin./ Shutterstock.com)

Preparing a Feast

Enjoy a festive meal with friends and family. Since the solstice comes after the last harvest, enjoy a feast of in season foods like a root vegetable stew, pumpkin pie, and wassail, a warming drink made from hot mulled apple cider. This recipe from The Pioneer Woman can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Homemade wassail.

(Slavica Stajic / Shutterstock.com)

Virtually Visit Stonehenge

Stonehenge, an ancient monument in England, was created to align with the sun on both the winter and summer solstices, according to Mother Magazine. But you do not have to travel to experience this amazing phenomena. The sunrise on December 22, 2023 will be live streamed on the English Heritage YouTube channel.

The winter solstice at Stonehenge.

(1000 Words / Shutterstock.com)

Make a Wreath

While wreaths have their roots in ancient Celtic traditions, they are still a big part of the winter holidays. Wreaths are meant to symbolize life, protection, and prosperity, according to Sparks. You can make your own by going out in nature and collecting pine cones,  holly, ivy, and evergreen boughs. Wreaths can be hung indoors and out.

Creating a holiday wreath.

(Media_Photos / Shutterstock.com)

 Holiday Lights Tour

You can celebrate the holiday lights by walking or driving around your neighborhood to see the best displays. Some wintery places have sleigh rides to tour neighborhoods that go all out with lights. Embracing the light can help you feel festive and bring you joy on this darkest day of the year.

Embrace the holiday lights.

(Hannamariah / Shutterstock.com)

Reflect and Set Your Intentions

Since the winter solstice is the spiritual time to honor both the light and the darkness that is within everyone, it is the perfect time to set new intentions and let go of limitations and insecurities. Write down anything you need to let go of and throw it into the yule log or bonfire. After letting go, speak your new intentions, your new goals, or habits you want to obtain in the new year.

It's time to set goals for the new year.

(fiz_zero / Shutterstock.com)