Friday, December 23, 2011


I've been compelled to come up with a ritual to help us celebrate the Winter holidays since Dash was born. We do light the candles at Hanukkah, and we deck the halls like motherfuckers, but we don't practice any religion (we're ethnic Jews, but we don't go to temple), so the narrative of Jesus' birth doesn't really play in the Engel house. I've always known that Christmas had its roots in the Solstice, but I didn't know where to start in our celebrations.

Well, this year I took the bull by the horns & just made it up as I went along. We invited our most beloved & (over)fed them on brisket and latkes, and then we did some serious hippie shit and it was the most perfect thing ever. Testify:

The first project I came up with for the kiddos was to make bird feeders from found pine cones. I wrapped a bit of raffia around them for hanging and then let the kids at them.

I set out paper trays of peanut butter & bird seed. The kids smeared the pb on the pine cones & then rolled them in the seeds.

Voila! A Winter snack for our winged friends.

Our next project was a Solstice candle holder. We talked a little bit about the short days of winter and how lighting the candles was a symbol of hope for the coming longer days. Each small guest was invited to light a candle and make a wish.

(I made the candle holder with a slice of wood & some painted doo-dads from the craft store. I love it in a weird way.)

I also took the opportunity to tie the idea of "lights" into the Hanukkah and Christmas traditions of lighting candles. I'm hoping the more religious of our guests weren't pissed at my hippie ramblings.

Our next craft was the making of the ornaments. I bought some clear ornaments and colored glitter from the craft store. I prepped some strips of colored paper and invited the smalls to write their wishes for the coming year on them. 

We then rolled up the papers, inserted them into the ornaments and filled them with enough glitter to choke a reindeer. We can open them next year to see if our wishes came true!

Our last craft of the night was the making of bell wreaths from pipe cleaners & jingle bells. The olds from before used to ring bells to scare away the dark spirits, so we did, too!

And, finally, for part of the gifts, I settled on the idea of Solstice jammies for Dash & his besties. I got them matching Ts & bottoms & appliqued their initials on them. I love the idea of all three of them (not pictured: Ben) waking up on Christmas morning in matching jams.

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