MEANING OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE
In late December, the earth’s axis is tilted furthest away from the sun, creating the winter solstice. This year, the solstice occurs on Tuesday December 21, when we will experience the shortest period of daylight and the longest period of night skies in the northern hemisphere. From here, the light of the Sun begins a new solar cycle, with each day becoming longer as the season slowly transitions to warmth from the cold and stillness.
The solstice is officially the first day of winter, when most everything in nature returns to a dormant state. This longer stretch of darkness is a cue to the natural environment to lean into more rest, inward reflection, and rebirth. With Christmas a few days away, this week is one where we can benefit from slowing down, spending time with loved ones, reflecting, shifting our focus toward renewal, and planning for what’s coming next. The solstice has been celebrated by many civilizations over thousands of years, and still holds the same significance today.
In a way, the winter solstice can also be considered the New Year of the natural world. Today, we encourage everyone to spend a moment to look inward and reflect on the past year. There are many moments to celebrate your successes, and many to reflect upon how things could have gone differently. Remember that gratitude is the ultimate source of happiness, and there is no shortage of memories with loved ones to cherish, adventures to relieve, relationships to prioritize, and blessings to count. This is also a time to identify what is not currently serving us, making the decision to cast these habits into the shorter darkness of each passing day. This reflection can lead to the prioritization of goals as we head into a New Year, offering a head start and renewed perspective in advance of January 1st. Places to visit? Life goals to accomplish? People to reconnect with? No two answers are the same for different people, and the solstice offers the perfect opportunity to ask yourself these questions.
As we finish up 2021, our team at Altamont Property Group is eternally grateful for our clients, friends, and family for trusting us as their preferred real estate advisors. We are excited for the many successes we have created for our clients! As we move into 2022, we are continually focused on learning, and continuing to provide expert real estate guidance to our clients at the highest level. We wish you and yours many blessings for the Holiday season, and we look forward to discussing how we can create positive outcomes for your family and investments.
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WINTER SOLSTICE ACTIVITIES WITH THE KIDS
Falling amidst the busiest season of the year for social gatherings and consumerism seems ironic for nature’s sleepy welcome, but it creates an opportunity to celebrate our natural world and teach our children about the importance of this chilly season. Here are a few ways to acknowledge nature’s holiday with kids:
-Make winter solstice lanterns. Repurpose glass jars and decorate the outsides of them using tissue paper and craft glue. Place a tealight inside and voila!
-Decorate an outdoor tree with edible ornaments for wildlife. Homemade suet cakes, pine cones with peanut butter and bird seed, and raisin garland are just a few ideas.
-Stand outside at noon and check out your longest shadow of the year! This happens because the sun arcs closer to the earth during this time of year.
-Set intentions for the new season. For children, this can be anything that’s age appropriate, including spending more time outside or doing a good deed every day.
-Spend the night by candlelight. A bath and bedtime story by candlelight set the mood for a long winter’s night.