How to celebrate the winter solstice

In the midst of all of the holiday hoopla, most people don’t even notice the winter solstice. This night, the longest and darkest of the year, is historically a time for reflection on the year gone by and anticipation of the brighter days ahead. The winter solstice is a great opportunity to help children connect to the changes taking place around them in the natural world.

This year, the winter solstice will take place on Dec. 21, marking the official start of winter.

If you are thinking of observing the winter solstice this year, use these ideas as inspiration to create traditions and rituals that suit your family.

Light a yule log

Light plays an important role in any solstice celebration. Turn off the lights and burn a yule log in the fireplace. As an alternative, gather around a “yule candle.” Use this time to talk about your plans for the coming year.

Make a pomander

Pay homage to the power of sun and light with this simple seasonal craft based around a fragrant citrus fruit. Gather together an orange and a bowl of cloves. Push the stem of the cloves into the skin of the fruit. Hang your pomander from a ribbon and enjoy the natural seasonal scent.

Celebrate outdoors

On Dec. 16, from 6-9 p.m., the North Park Nature Center will host its annual Winter Solstice Festival. Highlights include roasted chestnuts, crafts and a trail walk along a path lit with luminaries. Visit for details.

Study the science behind the solstice

If the sun is shining on Dec. 21, you can conduct an informal science experiment. Around noon, stand in a sunny spot and measure your shadow. Record this information and repeat the measurement in the same spot around March 21, June 21 and Sept. 21 and note the differences. With a little advance planning, kids could also chart the time of sunrises and sunsets for the month leading up to the winter solstice to observe the changes over time.

- Advertisement -


Best Family Shows and Movies to Stream in March

Cozy up on the couch with these kid-friendly picks!

How Single-Parent Household Finances Have Changed in the Last 30 Years

Single-parent households as a whole have seen broad financial improvements.

Where to Find the Most Scrumptious Donuts Near Naperville

These delectable, mouth-watering donuts promise a sweet adventure in every bite.

Jurassic Quest Returns to Navy Pier with Larger-Than-Life Dinosaurs

Go digging for fossils, meet baby dinos and more at the world’s largest traveling dinosaur event.

- Advertisement -