We’ve all been through a lot over the last twenty-two months. We’ve been locked down, our freedoms restricted repeatedly, often not able to visit aging family or grandchildren, missing usual vacations, flights to foreign destinations, forced to make incongruent health decisions, masking one’s child – even the stress of losing one’s job, or wondering how you’re going to be paying the mortgage on time. It’s been horrifying for some and anxiety and depression have been rampantly rising.
So then this pagan feast comes around and we feel defeated before we even get started to decorate for what is supposed to feel like a festive season. If this is true for you, I can share some of what I did many years ago to soften the load and create a more meaningful, spiritual Holiday for my Jewish/pagan tribe on a dime. Afterall, I was raised by a small league of women who’d survived a depression and two world wars.
- Focus on giving ‘experiences’ like going on a hike to a special destination, a clay/pottery class, fort building, making keto muffins, as opposed to material gifts, dipping beeswax candles, making a nature table with pinecones and felted folk, make a beeswax village, play a sport together like street hockey, build a snow fort, play a boardgame, start on a new puzzle.
- Get together with friends/family to make Christmas Cards.
- Get together with friends/family to make Christmas Cookies/Squares and share the yield.
- Play ‘Dictionary’ where you look up an obscure word in a ‘real’ dictionary and everyone makes up an imagined definition (writing it down on a piece of paper). The person who looked up the word copied down the real definition, but does not share this with the group. Mix up all the answers, including the real definition, read them out loud and see who can guess the real answer.
- Watch movies all day in your pyjamas like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘The Bishop’s Wife.’
- Make-up 6 word stories around the fire.
- Make-up Haiku poems about the holidays.
- Dress up and put on a play with a holiday theme.
- Sing Christmas Carols with your kids.
- Make a wreath and decorate the house with boughs from nature with gold and red ribbons.
- Make apple cider with cinnamon sticks or eggnog from scratch.
- Make cedar tea with maple syrup which is high in Vitamin C and potassium https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUQiYpVnYe8&ab_channel=YazzieTheChefTV
- Find unique ways to usher Winter Solstice in with the kids that involve celebrations of the light ().
- Volunteer with the whole family at the local food bank.
- Make tallow, clarify butter, or ferment sauerkraut together with family/friends.
- Make different flavours of kombucha with ginger, jamaica flowers, or frozen fruits.
- Paint ceramic Christmas ornaments.
- Fill a water trough or old bathtub in the backyard with hot/warm water and everyone gets into the ‘spa’ with a hat on.
- Make an igloo out of frozen blocks of ice.
- Make tissue paper lanterns.
- Make maple taffy in the snow with boiled down, pure maple syrup.
- Go for a hike or cross country ski to a lodge with friends.
- Everyone contributes to a dance playlist, then host your own dance party.
- Flood your backyard with water and then host a backyard skating party.
- Turn the living room into a large fort with sheets, chairs and blankets. Get flashlights, pillows and books and sleep there with the kids that night.
- Have a fancy candlelight supper with apple cider, and ‘the good dishes’.
- Learn how to watercolour, paint with acrylics or draw as a gift to yourself.
- Start writing your memoirs about your childhood or your specific coping strategies for the lockdowns.
- Start a new on-line business like selling t-shirts with funny slogans, learn how to upcycle old clothes, or sell used clothes online, open an online store for whatever craft you perfected over the holidays.
- See if you can get the whole family to do yoga and/or meditate for 10-20 minutes. https://yogawithadriene.com/free-yoga-videos/
- Listen to a podcast like ‘The Moth’, ‘The Soundtrack Show’, ‘This American Life’ or ‘Invisibilia’.
- Make a deal with yourself to have a bath everyday with epsom salts and essential oils.
Hopefully you’ve found an idea or two that appeals to your own spiritual Holiday. If you find ones that you’ve added more elements onto or crafted your own fun event from scratch, please share them below so others can also learn from your ingenuity.
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