The Lights of the Solstice

DSCN1430Joanna here, writing about the Winter Solstice.
And lights.

If you want to be picky about it, we're two days past the solstice, which was on December 21 this year, but I will just go ahead and talk about the Winter Solstice anyhow.

So. What is this Solstice I speak of?

Your ordinary woman in the Seventeenth or Eighteenth Centuries and in all the days right back to when women woke up and stretched and strolled out of the cave in Laxcaux, France, might watch the sunrise every morning.

Authorial intrusion here to say that I wake up every morning at sunrise because that is when the dog and cat wake up and they want my company. They are worried if I don't get up.
They are determined.

But, anyhow, let's say our historical woman is shuffling through the farm yard to empty the chamberpots or feed the chickens. She Before sunrise 2notices the sun does not just get out of bed any old where along the horizon. When she stands on the doorstep in July, the sun is rising from that pointy pine over there.

Every morning the sun gets out of bed a little to the left of where it got up the morning before.
Not enough so's you'd notice it from one day to the next.
But enough so's you notice it over weeks and months.

In December when she drags herself out of bed and stands shivering at the door, there's the sun waking up all the way over next to the church spire.

That extreme, leftmost sunrise she sees, on December 21 or 22, is the Winter Solstice. From then on, day by day, the sunrise heads back in the other direction. Our New Year is tied to that astronomical event, being a little inexact about it.

But did our pre-tech ancestors know about the Solstice?
And why would they care?

StonehengeSunrise1980sWe are not talking quantum mechanics here. Our actually-very-bright ancestors were well aware that the change in where the sun rose was related to length of day. The shortest day of the year is . . . ta dah! . . . the Winter Solstice. In London, that means about eight hours of daylight. Six months later, the Summer Solstice, June 21, is the longest day, with over sixteen hours of sun.
Well, folks noticed.
They lined up Stonehenge with the solstices because they noticed.

The long and the short of it is, folks used these astronomical events in practical ways — the Winter Solstice was a good time to slaughter beasts you couldn't afford to keep for the whole winter. And they celebrated.

The Solstice meant a long, cold, hungry time was still ahead, but from that date, every day was going to be a little longer. The sun had begun its journey back toward summer.

Is it any wonder folks celebrated this 'rebirth' of the sun with fire festivals? Traditional December celebrations often have a fire theme, linking to that ancient joy in the return of the sun. Lucia_in_Vienna

In Northern Europe, on Santa Lucia's Day, young girls are crowned with lighted candles. The old Iranian festival of Yalda celebrates the birth of Mithra, the God of Light and Truth, associated with the sun. One custom calls for eating red-colored fruit, perhaps to bring to mind the red of the sunrise.

Yule, the big Midwinter celebration of Germanic peoples, involved feasting, blood sacrifice, getting as drunk as possible, and lighting bonfires. Four hundred years ago the 'Yule log' was dragged in — a huge log, by preference — by the men of the house, who were rewarded with free beer for this service. It's said households competed to see who had the largest log.
Really, some things never change.

Bûche_de_Noël,_with_chocolate_moose_and_meringue_mushrooms,_2009_(2)If you make or buy a Bûche de Noël dessert, that's a modern interpretation of the Yule Log. Much easier to drag one of those into the house or whip it up in the kitchen than to bring in a Yule log.
In the spirit of author intrusion, I will say that I used to make these every year.

So, since we're celebrating the Season and enjoying the lights that remind us of the Solstice and the upbeat message it brings …

What kind of Holiday lights and candles do you have out now or are just packing carefully away?
Something beloved and traditional?
Or do you like to experiment every year?

95 thoughts on “The Lights of the Solstice”

  1. Lovely post, Joanna, In Australia we’ve just had our summer solstice, but of course it’s Christmas, nevertheless, and at Christmas we all love our lights, don’t we? One of the relatively new light features sweeping the country here are solar Christmas lights; getting plenty of sun during the day means the lights are well charged for a display all night. In fact several of my neighbours left their last year’s Christmas lights on all year round, and they kept lighting up the street every evening.
    I prefer the soft glow of candlelight myself, but it’s often too hot in the evening around Christmas to have candles adding to the heat.
    Happy Christmas.

    Reply
  2. Lovely post, Joanna, In Australia we’ve just had our summer solstice, but of course it’s Christmas, nevertheless, and at Christmas we all love our lights, don’t we? One of the relatively new light features sweeping the country here are solar Christmas lights; getting plenty of sun during the day means the lights are well charged for a display all night. In fact several of my neighbours left their last year’s Christmas lights on all year round, and they kept lighting up the street every evening.
    I prefer the soft glow of candlelight myself, but it’s often too hot in the evening around Christmas to have candles adding to the heat.
    Happy Christmas.

    Reply
  3. Lovely post, Joanna, In Australia we’ve just had our summer solstice, but of course it’s Christmas, nevertheless, and at Christmas we all love our lights, don’t we? One of the relatively new light features sweeping the country here are solar Christmas lights; getting plenty of sun during the day means the lights are well charged for a display all night. In fact several of my neighbours left their last year’s Christmas lights on all year round, and they kept lighting up the street every evening.
    I prefer the soft glow of candlelight myself, but it’s often too hot in the evening around Christmas to have candles adding to the heat.
    Happy Christmas.

    Reply
  4. Lovely post, Joanna, In Australia we’ve just had our summer solstice, but of course it’s Christmas, nevertheless, and at Christmas we all love our lights, don’t we? One of the relatively new light features sweeping the country here are solar Christmas lights; getting plenty of sun during the day means the lights are well charged for a display all night. In fact several of my neighbours left their last year’s Christmas lights on all year round, and they kept lighting up the street every evening.
    I prefer the soft glow of candlelight myself, but it’s often too hot in the evening around Christmas to have candles adding to the heat.
    Happy Christmas.

    Reply
  5. Lovely post, Joanna, In Australia we’ve just had our summer solstice, but of course it’s Christmas, nevertheless, and at Christmas we all love our lights, don’t we? One of the relatively new light features sweeping the country here are solar Christmas lights; getting plenty of sun during the day means the lights are well charged for a display all night. In fact several of my neighbours left their last year’s Christmas lights on all year round, and they kept lighting up the street every evening.
    I prefer the soft glow of candlelight myself, but it’s often too hot in the evening around Christmas to have candles adding to the heat.
    Happy Christmas.

    Reply
  6. I’m afraid my solistice “celebration” doesn’t involve candles or lights. It’s a day when I call all the “pool ladies” and we discuss Memorial Day weekend when the pool will open, what we’ll have at that party, and whether the weather will be warm enough for us to get in that first Saturday. We also agree that we hate the short days and that by January the days will seem longer.

    Reply
  7. I’m afraid my solistice “celebration” doesn’t involve candles or lights. It’s a day when I call all the “pool ladies” and we discuss Memorial Day weekend when the pool will open, what we’ll have at that party, and whether the weather will be warm enough for us to get in that first Saturday. We also agree that we hate the short days and that by January the days will seem longer.

    Reply
  8. I’m afraid my solistice “celebration” doesn’t involve candles or lights. It’s a day when I call all the “pool ladies” and we discuss Memorial Day weekend when the pool will open, what we’ll have at that party, and whether the weather will be warm enough for us to get in that first Saturday. We also agree that we hate the short days and that by January the days will seem longer.

    Reply
  9. I’m afraid my solistice “celebration” doesn’t involve candles or lights. It’s a day when I call all the “pool ladies” and we discuss Memorial Day weekend when the pool will open, what we’ll have at that party, and whether the weather will be warm enough for us to get in that first Saturday. We also agree that we hate the short days and that by January the days will seem longer.

    Reply
  10. I’m afraid my solistice “celebration” doesn’t involve candles or lights. It’s a day when I call all the “pool ladies” and we discuss Memorial Day weekend when the pool will open, what we’ll have at that party, and whether the weather will be warm enough for us to get in that first Saturday. We also agree that we hate the short days and that by January the days will seem longer.

    Reply
  11. With it being summer here in Australia, it was the summer solstice for us this month. 🙂
    Half of my family is from Ukraine, and over there Christmas is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of January (according to the older, Julian calendar – all people observe that day, not just Orthodox Christians).
    So while we have many traditions involved in celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, Christmas on the 25th of December is more about making things look nice! We have lots of blue and white fairy lights inside and out. Plenty of candles in matching-coloured glass candle holders.

    Reply
  12. With it being summer here in Australia, it was the summer solstice for us this month. 🙂
    Half of my family is from Ukraine, and over there Christmas is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of January (according to the older, Julian calendar – all people observe that day, not just Orthodox Christians).
    So while we have many traditions involved in celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, Christmas on the 25th of December is more about making things look nice! We have lots of blue and white fairy lights inside and out. Plenty of candles in matching-coloured glass candle holders.

    Reply
  13. With it being summer here in Australia, it was the summer solstice for us this month. 🙂
    Half of my family is from Ukraine, and over there Christmas is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of January (according to the older, Julian calendar – all people observe that day, not just Orthodox Christians).
    So while we have many traditions involved in celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, Christmas on the 25th of December is more about making things look nice! We have lots of blue and white fairy lights inside and out. Plenty of candles in matching-coloured glass candle holders.

    Reply
  14. With it being summer here in Australia, it was the summer solstice for us this month. 🙂
    Half of my family is from Ukraine, and over there Christmas is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of January (according to the older, Julian calendar – all people observe that day, not just Orthodox Christians).
    So while we have many traditions involved in celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, Christmas on the 25th of December is more about making things look nice! We have lots of blue and white fairy lights inside and out. Plenty of candles in matching-coloured glass candle holders.

    Reply
  15. With it being summer here in Australia, it was the summer solstice for us this month. 🙂
    Half of my family is from Ukraine, and over there Christmas is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of January (according to the older, Julian calendar – all people observe that day, not just Orthodox Christians).
    So while we have many traditions involved in celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, Christmas on the 25th of December is more about making things look nice! We have lots of blue and white fairy lights inside and out. Plenty of candles in matching-coloured glass candle holders.

    Reply
  16. I’m weaning myself away from over-decorating. The Really Big Tree is now a 6 ft’r, and there’s enough stuff in those tubs for three trees. Last year was all balls of all sizes. This year I did an Ice Tree: all white lights and every silver, gold, or crystal ornament and icicle I could find. It’s gorgeous. And people notice the hanging icicles first. — While doing the decorating I continue to prune, and two bags of ornaments, houses, and silk poinsettias went to the thrift store.

    Reply
  17. I’m weaning myself away from over-decorating. The Really Big Tree is now a 6 ft’r, and there’s enough stuff in those tubs for three trees. Last year was all balls of all sizes. This year I did an Ice Tree: all white lights and every silver, gold, or crystal ornament and icicle I could find. It’s gorgeous. And people notice the hanging icicles first. — While doing the decorating I continue to prune, and two bags of ornaments, houses, and silk poinsettias went to the thrift store.

    Reply
  18. I’m weaning myself away from over-decorating. The Really Big Tree is now a 6 ft’r, and there’s enough stuff in those tubs for three trees. Last year was all balls of all sizes. This year I did an Ice Tree: all white lights and every silver, gold, or crystal ornament and icicle I could find. It’s gorgeous. And people notice the hanging icicles first. — While doing the decorating I continue to prune, and two bags of ornaments, houses, and silk poinsettias went to the thrift store.

    Reply
  19. I’m weaning myself away from over-decorating. The Really Big Tree is now a 6 ft’r, and there’s enough stuff in those tubs for three trees. Last year was all balls of all sizes. This year I did an Ice Tree: all white lights and every silver, gold, or crystal ornament and icicle I could find. It’s gorgeous. And people notice the hanging icicles first. — While doing the decorating I continue to prune, and two bags of ornaments, houses, and silk poinsettias went to the thrift store.

    Reply
  20. I’m weaning myself away from over-decorating. The Really Big Tree is now a 6 ft’r, and there’s enough stuff in those tubs for three trees. Last year was all balls of all sizes. This year I did an Ice Tree: all white lights and every silver, gold, or crystal ornament and icicle I could find. It’s gorgeous. And people notice the hanging icicles first. — While doing the decorating I continue to prune, and two bags of ornaments, houses, and silk poinsettias went to the thrift store.

    Reply
  21. I will not make the obvious remarks about “How strange that Christmas is summer hols for you,” since you must hear that about sixty times a year.
    I remember being fairly young when I first heard the Andrews Sisters singing, ‘Did You Ever Spend Christmas on Christmas Island?’ where everyone waited up to see ‘Santa sail in with his presents in a canoe’.
    That struck me as just the most festive possibility in the world.
    Solar Christmas lights, huh? That sounds cool.
    Maybe not all year though.

    Reply
  22. I will not make the obvious remarks about “How strange that Christmas is summer hols for you,” since you must hear that about sixty times a year.
    I remember being fairly young when I first heard the Andrews Sisters singing, ‘Did You Ever Spend Christmas on Christmas Island?’ where everyone waited up to see ‘Santa sail in with his presents in a canoe’.
    That struck me as just the most festive possibility in the world.
    Solar Christmas lights, huh? That sounds cool.
    Maybe not all year though.

    Reply
  23. I will not make the obvious remarks about “How strange that Christmas is summer hols for you,” since you must hear that about sixty times a year.
    I remember being fairly young when I first heard the Andrews Sisters singing, ‘Did You Ever Spend Christmas on Christmas Island?’ where everyone waited up to see ‘Santa sail in with his presents in a canoe’.
    That struck me as just the most festive possibility in the world.
    Solar Christmas lights, huh? That sounds cool.
    Maybe not all year though.

    Reply
  24. I will not make the obvious remarks about “How strange that Christmas is summer hols for you,” since you must hear that about sixty times a year.
    I remember being fairly young when I first heard the Andrews Sisters singing, ‘Did You Ever Spend Christmas on Christmas Island?’ where everyone waited up to see ‘Santa sail in with his presents in a canoe’.
    That struck me as just the most festive possibility in the world.
    Solar Christmas lights, huh? That sounds cool.
    Maybe not all year though.

    Reply
  25. I will not make the obvious remarks about “How strange that Christmas is summer hols for you,” since you must hear that about sixty times a year.
    I remember being fairly young when I first heard the Andrews Sisters singing, ‘Did You Ever Spend Christmas on Christmas Island?’ where everyone waited up to see ‘Santa sail in with his presents in a canoe’.
    That struck me as just the most festive possibility in the world.
    Solar Christmas lights, huh? That sounds cool.
    Maybe not all year though.

    Reply
  26. I am with you on not liking these short days.
    Most of the year I can put my work away when it gets dark and relax for the rest of the evening. When it’s getting dark before six, I have to stick to my work after sundown.
    Feels so unfair.

    Reply
  27. I am with you on not liking these short days.
    Most of the year I can put my work away when it gets dark and relax for the rest of the evening. When it’s getting dark before six, I have to stick to my work after sundown.
    Feels so unfair.

    Reply
  28. I am with you on not liking these short days.
    Most of the year I can put my work away when it gets dark and relax for the rest of the evening. When it’s getting dark before six, I have to stick to my work after sundown.
    Feels so unfair.

    Reply
  29. I am with you on not liking these short days.
    Most of the year I can put my work away when it gets dark and relax for the rest of the evening. When it’s getting dark before six, I have to stick to my work after sundown.
    Feels so unfair.

    Reply
  30. I am with you on not liking these short days.
    Most of the year I can put my work away when it gets dark and relax for the rest of the evening. When it’s getting dark before six, I have to stick to my work after sundown.
    Feels so unfair.

    Reply
  31. That is so interesting, about Christmas being in early January. I hadn’t known that.
    One of the things I loved when I lived in France and Germany was that, in many places, December 25, Christmas, was wholly a religious day, spent at church or quietly with family.
    The big celebration was separate. I remember Sylvester’s Eve — New Year’s Eve — was a big public holiday with the most lovely fireworks. Just beautiful.
    I feel as though the blue holiday lights are a fairly recent trend. I don’t remember ‘blue’ so much when I was a child.

    Reply
  32. That is so interesting, about Christmas being in early January. I hadn’t known that.
    One of the things I loved when I lived in France and Germany was that, in many places, December 25, Christmas, was wholly a religious day, spent at church or quietly with family.
    The big celebration was separate. I remember Sylvester’s Eve — New Year’s Eve — was a big public holiday with the most lovely fireworks. Just beautiful.
    I feel as though the blue holiday lights are a fairly recent trend. I don’t remember ‘blue’ so much when I was a child.

    Reply
  33. That is so interesting, about Christmas being in early January. I hadn’t known that.
    One of the things I loved when I lived in France and Germany was that, in many places, December 25, Christmas, was wholly a religious day, spent at church or quietly with family.
    The big celebration was separate. I remember Sylvester’s Eve — New Year’s Eve — was a big public holiday with the most lovely fireworks. Just beautiful.
    I feel as though the blue holiday lights are a fairly recent trend. I don’t remember ‘blue’ so much when I was a child.

    Reply
  34. That is so interesting, about Christmas being in early January. I hadn’t known that.
    One of the things I loved when I lived in France and Germany was that, in many places, December 25, Christmas, was wholly a religious day, spent at church or quietly with family.
    The big celebration was separate. I remember Sylvester’s Eve — New Year’s Eve — was a big public holiday with the most lovely fireworks. Just beautiful.
    I feel as though the blue holiday lights are a fairly recent trend. I don’t remember ‘blue’ so much when I was a child.

    Reply
  35. That is so interesting, about Christmas being in early January. I hadn’t known that.
    One of the things I loved when I lived in France and Germany was that, in many places, December 25, Christmas, was wholly a religious day, spent at church or quietly with family.
    The big celebration was separate. I remember Sylvester’s Eve — New Year’s Eve — was a big public holiday with the most lovely fireworks. Just beautiful.
    I feel as though the blue holiday lights are a fairly recent trend. I don’t remember ‘blue’ so much when I was a child.

    Reply
  36. Do you feel a little fraught from decorating? I think some of us do. But it can be so beautiful.
    I know lots of folks who do new tree themes every year. I mean, sometimes it’s new right from the bark outward.
    The ice tree sounds simply lovely.
    I remember — me being very young — hanging looooong tinsel icicles on the tree, one by painful, careful one. This was before the mylar ones. These were maybe made of some kind of thin metal.
    The cats loved them. Oh my.

    Reply
  37. Do you feel a little fraught from decorating? I think some of us do. But it can be so beautiful.
    I know lots of folks who do new tree themes every year. I mean, sometimes it’s new right from the bark outward.
    The ice tree sounds simply lovely.
    I remember — me being very young — hanging looooong tinsel icicles on the tree, one by painful, careful one. This was before the mylar ones. These were maybe made of some kind of thin metal.
    The cats loved them. Oh my.

    Reply
  38. Do you feel a little fraught from decorating? I think some of us do. But it can be so beautiful.
    I know lots of folks who do new tree themes every year. I mean, sometimes it’s new right from the bark outward.
    The ice tree sounds simply lovely.
    I remember — me being very young — hanging looooong tinsel icicles on the tree, one by painful, careful one. This was before the mylar ones. These were maybe made of some kind of thin metal.
    The cats loved them. Oh my.

    Reply
  39. Do you feel a little fraught from decorating? I think some of us do. But it can be so beautiful.
    I know lots of folks who do new tree themes every year. I mean, sometimes it’s new right from the bark outward.
    The ice tree sounds simply lovely.
    I remember — me being very young — hanging looooong tinsel icicles on the tree, one by painful, careful one. This was before the mylar ones. These were maybe made of some kind of thin metal.
    The cats loved them. Oh my.

    Reply
  40. Do you feel a little fraught from decorating? I think some of us do. But it can be so beautiful.
    I know lots of folks who do new tree themes every year. I mean, sometimes it’s new right from the bark outward.
    The ice tree sounds simply lovely.
    I remember — me being very young — hanging looooong tinsel icicles on the tree, one by painful, careful one. This was before the mylar ones. These were maybe made of some kind of thin metal.
    The cats loved them. Oh my.

    Reply
  41. Not at all. I thought it was nifty beyond words to get two ‘Christmas is a hot, hot holiday’ posts.
    We have a little bit of this in the US, out in the West. Maybe not hot, but definitely Christmas in the desert.

    Reply
  42. Not at all. I thought it was nifty beyond words to get two ‘Christmas is a hot, hot holiday’ posts.
    We have a little bit of this in the US, out in the West. Maybe not hot, but definitely Christmas in the desert.

    Reply
  43. Not at all. I thought it was nifty beyond words to get two ‘Christmas is a hot, hot holiday’ posts.
    We have a little bit of this in the US, out in the West. Maybe not hot, but definitely Christmas in the desert.

    Reply
  44. Not at all. I thought it was nifty beyond words to get two ‘Christmas is a hot, hot holiday’ posts.
    We have a little bit of this in the US, out in the West. Maybe not hot, but definitely Christmas in the desert.

    Reply
  45. Not at all. I thought it was nifty beyond words to get two ‘Christmas is a hot, hot holiday’ posts.
    We have a little bit of this in the US, out in the West. Maybe not hot, but definitely Christmas in the desert.

    Reply
  46. I have half a dozen sets of Christmas ornaments, each set on a different theme. One, of course, is dogs and cats. Another is birds. Another is ornaments from my travels. Yet another is Victorian. I only use white lights on my tree in the house. But I put blue and white lights on the leyland cypress tree outside my kitchen window in memory of my deaf Great Dane, Glory. She was solid white and had blue eyes and she loved Christmas tree lights.
    Living as far out in the country as I do I have candles and hurricane lamps in every room in the house because we never know when the lights will go out. I’ve read quite a bit by candlelight and it isn’t too bad.
    I am looking forward to the longer days as I am tired of getting home from work in the dark!

    Reply
  47. I have half a dozen sets of Christmas ornaments, each set on a different theme. One, of course, is dogs and cats. Another is birds. Another is ornaments from my travels. Yet another is Victorian. I only use white lights on my tree in the house. But I put blue and white lights on the leyland cypress tree outside my kitchen window in memory of my deaf Great Dane, Glory. She was solid white and had blue eyes and she loved Christmas tree lights.
    Living as far out in the country as I do I have candles and hurricane lamps in every room in the house because we never know when the lights will go out. I’ve read quite a bit by candlelight and it isn’t too bad.
    I am looking forward to the longer days as I am tired of getting home from work in the dark!

    Reply
  48. I have half a dozen sets of Christmas ornaments, each set on a different theme. One, of course, is dogs and cats. Another is birds. Another is ornaments from my travels. Yet another is Victorian. I only use white lights on my tree in the house. But I put blue and white lights on the leyland cypress tree outside my kitchen window in memory of my deaf Great Dane, Glory. She was solid white and had blue eyes and she loved Christmas tree lights.
    Living as far out in the country as I do I have candles and hurricane lamps in every room in the house because we never know when the lights will go out. I’ve read quite a bit by candlelight and it isn’t too bad.
    I am looking forward to the longer days as I am tired of getting home from work in the dark!

    Reply
  49. I have half a dozen sets of Christmas ornaments, each set on a different theme. One, of course, is dogs and cats. Another is birds. Another is ornaments from my travels. Yet another is Victorian. I only use white lights on my tree in the house. But I put blue and white lights on the leyland cypress tree outside my kitchen window in memory of my deaf Great Dane, Glory. She was solid white and had blue eyes and she loved Christmas tree lights.
    Living as far out in the country as I do I have candles and hurricane lamps in every room in the house because we never know when the lights will go out. I’ve read quite a bit by candlelight and it isn’t too bad.
    I am looking forward to the longer days as I am tired of getting home from work in the dark!

    Reply
  50. I have half a dozen sets of Christmas ornaments, each set on a different theme. One, of course, is dogs and cats. Another is birds. Another is ornaments from my travels. Yet another is Victorian. I only use white lights on my tree in the house. But I put blue and white lights on the leyland cypress tree outside my kitchen window in memory of my deaf Great Dane, Glory. She was solid white and had blue eyes and she loved Christmas tree lights.
    Living as far out in the country as I do I have candles and hurricane lamps in every room in the house because we never know when the lights will go out. I’ve read quite a bit by candlelight and it isn’t too bad.
    I am looking forward to the longer days as I am tired of getting home from work in the dark!

    Reply
  51. We are having a more sedate Christmas this year, so not a lot of lights — only those on the tree. Most years we do more, but it’s just too much this year. We’re doing very well to have our shopping done. Keeping the cats from climbing the tree during the day is just bonus – I know better than to hope they don’t climb and play when we are asleep. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  52. We are having a more sedate Christmas this year, so not a lot of lights — only those on the tree. Most years we do more, but it’s just too much this year. We’re doing very well to have our shopping done. Keeping the cats from climbing the tree during the day is just bonus – I know better than to hope they don’t climb and play when we are asleep. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  53. We are having a more sedate Christmas this year, so not a lot of lights — only those on the tree. Most years we do more, but it’s just too much this year. We’re doing very well to have our shopping done. Keeping the cats from climbing the tree during the day is just bonus – I know better than to hope they don’t climb and play when we are asleep. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  54. We are having a more sedate Christmas this year, so not a lot of lights — only those on the tree. Most years we do more, but it’s just too much this year. We’re doing very well to have our shopping done. Keeping the cats from climbing the tree during the day is just bonus – I know better than to hope they don’t climb and play when we are asleep. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  55. We are having a more sedate Christmas this year, so not a lot of lights — only those on the tree. Most years we do more, but it’s just too much this year. We’re doing very well to have our shopping done. Keeping the cats from climbing the tree during the day is just bonus – I know better than to hope they don’t climb and play when we are asleep. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  56. Sonya, one of my oldest friends (from schooldays) is of Ukranian background — as is her husband — and their family celebrate Christmas on the 6th January, in traditional Ukranian style — apart from the heat. It’s great for her grown-up kids, as they have Christmas Day with their partners’ families on Dec 25th and then have Ukranian Christmas on the 6th Jan, and there’s no stress about trying to have two feasts on one day.
    Some of my Greek and Macedonian friends also celebrate on the 6th Jan — though some who aren’t particularly religious, have moved to Dec 25th.

    Reply
  57. Sonya, one of my oldest friends (from schooldays) is of Ukranian background — as is her husband — and their family celebrate Christmas on the 6th January, in traditional Ukranian style — apart from the heat. It’s great for her grown-up kids, as they have Christmas Day with their partners’ families on Dec 25th and then have Ukranian Christmas on the 6th Jan, and there’s no stress about trying to have two feasts on one day.
    Some of my Greek and Macedonian friends also celebrate on the 6th Jan — though some who aren’t particularly religious, have moved to Dec 25th.

    Reply
  58. Sonya, one of my oldest friends (from schooldays) is of Ukranian background — as is her husband — and their family celebrate Christmas on the 6th January, in traditional Ukranian style — apart from the heat. It’s great for her grown-up kids, as they have Christmas Day with their partners’ families on Dec 25th and then have Ukranian Christmas on the 6th Jan, and there’s no stress about trying to have two feasts on one day.
    Some of my Greek and Macedonian friends also celebrate on the 6th Jan — though some who aren’t particularly religious, have moved to Dec 25th.

    Reply
  59. Sonya, one of my oldest friends (from schooldays) is of Ukranian background — as is her husband — and their family celebrate Christmas on the 6th January, in traditional Ukranian style — apart from the heat. It’s great for her grown-up kids, as they have Christmas Day with their partners’ families on Dec 25th and then have Ukranian Christmas on the 6th Jan, and there’s no stress about trying to have two feasts on one day.
    Some of my Greek and Macedonian friends also celebrate on the 6th Jan — though some who aren’t particularly religious, have moved to Dec 25th.

    Reply
  60. Sonya, one of my oldest friends (from schooldays) is of Ukranian background — as is her husband — and their family celebrate Christmas on the 6th January, in traditional Ukranian style — apart from the heat. It’s great for her grown-up kids, as they have Christmas Day with their partners’ families on Dec 25th and then have Ukranian Christmas on the 6th Jan, and there’s no stress about trying to have two feasts on one day.
    Some of my Greek and Macedonian friends also celebrate on the 6th Jan — though some who aren’t particularly religious, have moved to Dec 25th.

    Reply
  61. I chuckled a little when you talked about getting home after work in the dark.
    I have a stone path that leads from where I park the car to the cabin. I’ve put little solar lights at intervals next to the path, but — like you — I find it VERY dark coming home after sunset.
    And I keep forgetting to turn the porch light on when I leave. There must be something about turning on lights during the day that does not sit well with my thrifty soul.
    I love the story of the blue and white lights and thinking about our old, beloved animals. A beautiful memorial.

    Reply
  62. I chuckled a little when you talked about getting home after work in the dark.
    I have a stone path that leads from where I park the car to the cabin. I’ve put little solar lights at intervals next to the path, but — like you — I find it VERY dark coming home after sunset.
    And I keep forgetting to turn the porch light on when I leave. There must be something about turning on lights during the day that does not sit well with my thrifty soul.
    I love the story of the blue and white lights and thinking about our old, beloved animals. A beautiful memorial.

    Reply
  63. I chuckled a little when you talked about getting home after work in the dark.
    I have a stone path that leads from where I park the car to the cabin. I’ve put little solar lights at intervals next to the path, but — like you — I find it VERY dark coming home after sunset.
    And I keep forgetting to turn the porch light on when I leave. There must be something about turning on lights during the day that does not sit well with my thrifty soul.
    I love the story of the blue and white lights and thinking about our old, beloved animals. A beautiful memorial.

    Reply
  64. I chuckled a little when you talked about getting home after work in the dark.
    I have a stone path that leads from where I park the car to the cabin. I’ve put little solar lights at intervals next to the path, but — like you — I find it VERY dark coming home after sunset.
    And I keep forgetting to turn the porch light on when I leave. There must be something about turning on lights during the day that does not sit well with my thrifty soul.
    I love the story of the blue and white lights and thinking about our old, beloved animals. A beautiful memorial.

    Reply
  65. I chuckled a little when you talked about getting home after work in the dark.
    I have a stone path that leads from where I park the car to the cabin. I’ve put little solar lights at intervals next to the path, but — like you — I find it VERY dark coming home after sunset.
    And I keep forgetting to turn the porch light on when I leave. There must be something about turning on lights during the day that does not sit well with my thrifty soul.
    I love the story of the blue and white lights and thinking about our old, beloved animals. A beautiful memorial.

    Reply
  66. The cats CANNOT be convinced the tree has not been brought in for their own delectation and enjoyment.
    I used to get up in the morning and there would, often as not, be one or two of the lower Christmas balls fallen on the rug, maybe broken. So I just know they tore around the place madly in the dark hours, enjoying themselves.

    Reply
  67. The cats CANNOT be convinced the tree has not been brought in for their own delectation and enjoyment.
    I used to get up in the morning and there would, often as not, be one or two of the lower Christmas balls fallen on the rug, maybe broken. So I just know they tore around the place madly in the dark hours, enjoying themselves.

    Reply
  68. The cats CANNOT be convinced the tree has not been brought in for their own delectation and enjoyment.
    I used to get up in the morning and there would, often as not, be one or two of the lower Christmas balls fallen on the rug, maybe broken. So I just know they tore around the place madly in the dark hours, enjoying themselves.

    Reply
  69. The cats CANNOT be convinced the tree has not been brought in for their own delectation and enjoyment.
    I used to get up in the morning and there would, often as not, be one or two of the lower Christmas balls fallen on the rug, maybe broken. So I just know they tore around the place madly in the dark hours, enjoying themselves.

    Reply
  70. The cats CANNOT be convinced the tree has not been brought in for their own delectation and enjoyment.
    I used to get up in the morning and there would, often as not, be one or two of the lower Christmas balls fallen on the rug, maybe broken. So I just know they tore around the place madly in the dark hours, enjoying themselves.

    Reply
  71. That sounds like what we do. While the 25th is the ‘Big Day’, the 6th has a lot more traditions. I’m a terrible cook, but even I participate in all the preparations!
    Ukrainians in America largely celebrate on the 25th, but I sort of feel sad about that. Growing up with two Christmases and Easters was great fun!

    Reply
  72. That sounds like what we do. While the 25th is the ‘Big Day’, the 6th has a lot more traditions. I’m a terrible cook, but even I participate in all the preparations!
    Ukrainians in America largely celebrate on the 25th, but I sort of feel sad about that. Growing up with two Christmases and Easters was great fun!

    Reply
  73. That sounds like what we do. While the 25th is the ‘Big Day’, the 6th has a lot more traditions. I’m a terrible cook, but even I participate in all the preparations!
    Ukrainians in America largely celebrate on the 25th, but I sort of feel sad about that. Growing up with two Christmases and Easters was great fun!

    Reply
  74. That sounds like what we do. While the 25th is the ‘Big Day’, the 6th has a lot more traditions. I’m a terrible cook, but even I participate in all the preparations!
    Ukrainians in America largely celebrate on the 25th, but I sort of feel sad about that. Growing up with two Christmases and Easters was great fun!

    Reply
  75. That sounds like what we do. While the 25th is the ‘Big Day’, the 6th has a lot more traditions. I’m a terrible cook, but even I participate in all the preparations!
    Ukrainians in America largely celebrate on the 25th, but I sort of feel sad about that. Growing up with two Christmases and Easters was great fun!

    Reply
  76. Christmas and Easter fall on different dates for a lot of Eastern and Southern Europe. It is wrongly reported in the media as being ‘Orthodox’ – what it actually is is that people in those countries follow an older calendar (I’m Ukrainian Catholic, for example, and we still celebrate then).
    That’s why I hate it how it’s tradition to pull down all the Christmas decorations on the 6th – which is Christmas Eve for many millions of us!

    Reply
  77. Christmas and Easter fall on different dates for a lot of Eastern and Southern Europe. It is wrongly reported in the media as being ‘Orthodox’ – what it actually is is that people in those countries follow an older calendar (I’m Ukrainian Catholic, for example, and we still celebrate then).
    That’s why I hate it how it’s tradition to pull down all the Christmas decorations on the 6th – which is Christmas Eve for many millions of us!

    Reply
  78. Christmas and Easter fall on different dates for a lot of Eastern and Southern Europe. It is wrongly reported in the media as being ‘Orthodox’ – what it actually is is that people in those countries follow an older calendar (I’m Ukrainian Catholic, for example, and we still celebrate then).
    That’s why I hate it how it’s tradition to pull down all the Christmas decorations on the 6th – which is Christmas Eve for many millions of us!

    Reply
  79. Christmas and Easter fall on different dates for a lot of Eastern and Southern Europe. It is wrongly reported in the media as being ‘Orthodox’ – what it actually is is that people in those countries follow an older calendar (I’m Ukrainian Catholic, for example, and we still celebrate then).
    That’s why I hate it how it’s tradition to pull down all the Christmas decorations on the 6th – which is Christmas Eve for many millions of us!

    Reply
  80. Christmas and Easter fall on different dates for a lot of Eastern and Southern Europe. It is wrongly reported in the media as being ‘Orthodox’ – what it actually is is that people in those countries follow an older calendar (I’m Ukrainian Catholic, for example, and we still celebrate then).
    That’s why I hate it how it’s tradition to pull down all the Christmas decorations on the 6th – which is Christmas Eve for many millions of us!

    Reply

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