What are your Winter Solstice traditions?
Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, and I have read a few of your comments this month about your winter solstice traditions -- just enough for my appetite to be whetted, and not enough for any actual knowledge. You say they're simple and magical and lovely, but what are they?
At Hip Mountain Mama Blog, she talks of gifts and breakfast burritos (maybe I'll have those for day-after-solstice!). According to a great Chronicle post, gift-giving, bringing a tree indoors and decorating it, kissing under the mistletoe, jingle bells and reindeer are all connected to solstice traditions that only in the 18th or 19th centuries became adopted by Christianity. Helping those in need in the community does go back to the original St. Nicholas and early Christmas celebrations, but the concept surely didn't begin with him; in no time like the winter are the needy more in need. In pre-industrial societies, the poor would be the ones who hadn't stored up enough food for the winter. In that way, feeding others might be a very pagan thing to do. (Toy drives probably wouldn't have the same resonance.)
For all those who celebrated the season yesterday, either as an addition to or instead of a religious celebration, please let us know how you celebrated! I'd love to take a peak at your magical, simple ways.