DO AND EVENT Find a Light
Solstice morning falls on a Saturday this year, which makes it easier for many families to mark (we have ideas here) . The winter solstice, is the darkest day of the year, and a time to celebrate reaching the middle of winter, a chance to reflect on the beauty and magic of the season before the chaos of Christmas. Join the people of Brighton as they parade through the city’s streets carrying lanterns at the Burning the Clocks parade, then spill onto the beach to watch fireworks and see a spectacular fire. Entry to Stonehenge is free on the morning of the 22nd, and is a rare chance to get close to the stones, as people of all stripes gather to watch the sun rise, while a slightly quieter event takes place at Avebury, and more reflective still at Glastonbury’s Chalice Well. Or join the Cairn Illumination Hike and visit the passage tomb at the summit of Northern Ireland’s Slieve Gullion – the setting winter sun illuminates the chamber inside for a few short days. Alternatively, simply head to your favourite high spot to watch the sun rise. In related solstice news, we’ve been enjoying these amazing pictures of folk costumes from around the world – why not try making your own versions? Read on for more Solstice celebration ideas.
DO Spooky Tales
Take the opportunity of nights together around the hearth to fire up your storytelling skills. Sharing tales on a dark afternoon or evening is a lovely way to bond with your family, and encouraging children to create fantastical sagas is rewarding. Find some tips here, here, and here. Older kids and teenagers might need something a little more spicy. We love a good, old-fashioned ghost story at Christmas – our favourites include those by MR James while there are some ideas you could build on for your own stories here, and some brilliant pointers for telling even more terrifying tales here and here.
RECIPE Gifts from The Kitchen
Aaaaargh! It’s nearly Christmas, and you still have a few last-minute presents to get. Why not give some quick-and-easy edible gifts that are simple enough for kids to help make? These peppermint creams and chocolate truffles are our go-to sweets, while Gingerbread Syrup is unusual but delicious – try it on your morning porridge. Or go savoury – a jar of home-pickled onions or chutney is always welcome, while a slighty more fancy baked camembert kit makes an oozy, easy lunch for a friend.
DO Reindeer Games
Christmas isn’t Christmas without some crazy party game action, but is it time to shake up your selection box this year? We have some ideas here (we like the Beard game). Our all-time favourite family game is Musical Hats, which always ends in us all collapsed in heaps of laughter – find the instructions, along with a whole lot of others here. The Guardian also has guides to many other games – we particularly love their ‘blind’ selection, after dinner games and team games (Mummies is an old favourite of ours!)
DO Give it Forward
This year, more than ever, feels like a tough one for many families. It’s tricky to know where you should give. Money Saving Expert has an excellent, clear guide to charity gifts which helps you to make the right decision. Or if you want to be more direct, there are guides to what the Trussell Trust food banks need here, what’s appropriate to donate to refugees here and about Beauty Banks here. Alternatively, perhaps now might be the time to think about giving more on a permanent basis – find out about Giving What We Can, a pledge to donate 10% of your income here.
Happy Christmas to you from all at The Green Parent! We wish you a peaceful, happy, and blissful family time this festive season.