DO Ring Out Solstice Bells
Tonight is the winter solstice, 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 tonight 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, as people gather to watch the sun rise through the stones. 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, go to your favourite high spot with your family tomorrow mornign, watch the sun rise and have a quiet celebration and pause for reflection. We have more ideas for ways to celebrate the solstice below.
MAKE and DO Holly and the Ivy
We adore bringing in red berried holly, deep green ivy and evergreen leaves to decorate our house at this time of year. Take a trudge around your garden, nearby wood or park to find bits to make your house cosy, welcoming, but with a hint of dark pagan tradition. There are some good hints for keeping your leaves fresh here. This year, we’re going to make our own Yule log, try this unusual Christmas star, and decorate our Christmas dinner table with these chic-but-simple bottle-and-fir candle holders
EVENT Cool Jul
London’s South Bank Centre’s Nordic Matters festival is drawing to a close (boo!), and to celebrate, there’s a day of Scandinavian festive fun. Join a Wintertime Craft session (free) and make a stylish, traditional decoration for your home, take part in a free group sing-a-long with Swedish jazz singer Cecilia Stalin, and listen to traditional festive tales told by Lina Jungergård of The Purple Ladies (free).
COOK Leftover Puddings
We’ve got a Christmas confession. We love Christmas pudding ice-cream even more than pudding alone. And it’s the easiest recipe in the world – mix up your leftover dessert with ice cream and freeze (it’s here in full if you need it!). Heavenly. Pssst! Got some leftover Christmas cake? Try it with cheese and apples - believe us, it’s delicious!
DO Alternative Christmas
Want to spend Christmas day doing something truly different? Why not turn off the TV, pull on your boots, head to a place that’s usually crowded and revel in the solitude. Try a World Heritage Site; Lulworth Cove, say, or the Giant’s Causeway, or Avebury. Alternatively, take a trip through a city that’s usually thronged with people, and marvel at the eerie quiet. There’s no public transport in London on the 25th, but you can hire a Santander bike (or take your own) and enjoy the traffic-free streets. If you’re near the coast, Christmas Day swims are a booming tradition; join in the fun or watch from the shore. A very, very happy Christmas to you from everyone at The Green Parent!