I am very happy today, and relieved too, because I know after today, and it's gloomy 4:00 p.m. darkness and plugging in the lights on the Christmas tree at 3:30 p.m., that the days will begin to get a little longer each day. Whew! It's been a dark, overcast, gloomy, foggy (!) November and December in southeastern Wisconsin -- crazy weather! Little sunshine and even people who do not suffer from seasonal affective disorder were feeling it -- the constant gloom is wearing on the spirit. It sure wore on me this year, geez!
Above is this year's version of the Xmas tree. It has far LESS ornaments on it than I usually throw on because I was working against a time deadline to have things ready for the annual investment club gift exchange that is held at my house each year. This year it was on December 7th -- very early, but it was the date that worked best for all of us during this holiday season. I made up for the relative lack of glitz and shimmer on the tree by putting it elsewhere in my small living room. Don't worry darlings, I will not bombard you with "decorating" pictures. Next year I'll deck out the gigantic picture window behind the tree with hundreds of flashing lights and hope a jetliner doesn't mistake my house for a landing strip at Mitchell International Airport.
To me, Christmas is a festival of lights time of year. We in the western tradition who live in the northern hemisphere tend to fill our houses up with lots of lights, glitz, glamour and glow, fighting a fierce battle against the ever-encroaching darkness. We gather around our hearths (real and artificial) and wrap ourselves in layers of wool, knits, fleece and fur to keep the cold at bay. We eat more and pack on an extra layer of fat! Gold and silver colors, candlelight, firelight and lots of shine and sparkle abound as we deck our halls for the end of year celebrations. For myself, I am certain that this urge to surround ourselves with as much light and shine and glowy things as we can pack into our houses is a genetic response to the lack of sunlight we suffer through for weeks/months at a time during the winter. Darkness and cold -- the eternal enemies. For me, Winter Solstice marks a huge psychological sigh of relief and is cause for personal celebration, totally separate from any religious celebration(s) that others may be celebrating time of year.
Happy Winter Solstice!