A Simple Solstice

The two words I associate with the Christmas season of this pandemic year are:




I have long disdained the commercialism and shopping associated with American Christmas, so there’s something potent to me about in person-shopping and crowded malls spreading a deadly virus this year. Avoid the mall? No. Problem.

This isn’t the first year I have tried to keep my Christmas Simple. My number one priority is that my family and loved ones are healthy and safe.

Cross-stitch is keeping me content and indoors. (Snow days are as well.)

I don’t know if I’ve posted about this but the spirit of this project is that all materials are second-hand, or shared. The denim and the embroidery floss are from thrift stores. I bought my huge wooden hoop from a garage sale I happened to walk past. The pattern is a photocopy from a library book. I will not buy new materials for this work.

Our tree, also, is second-hand (you can do that with the fake plasticy ones.) Currently, our only ornaments are ones we made. I … Really like this idea and hope it continues.

And my simple way to celebrate every day of the year is to take a long walk and pay attention. That is my ritual. These short days around the Winter Solstice remind me that daylight is precious, so I bundle up and wander outside as much as I can.

I don’t know how much you can recall from preschool—my own memories have a dreamlike, half-finished quality.

But I am pretty sure this is accurate: my first friend and I used to gather holly berries from the side of her house, secretly, and stash them in a cigar box. We knew not to eat them at least! When I think of it, I can still feel pricks on my fingertips when the pointy holly leaves got us.

Some things are alive at this time of the year, and they can be gathered and witnessed. And stored away for longer days. I am a creature of the sun, so this time is about survival and reserves of strength for me, personally.

Community is something I long for during these dark lockdown days, and I am trying to foster it in ways that are still safe.

Since community events have moved to Zoom, I can go back to attending things from the Jersey Shore, which I haven’t been able to do since I moved 90 minutes away. I am so thankful a local theater company put on a radio production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Listening and laughing (and crying!) by the fireplace checked all of my holiday boxes.

And for 15 hours this month, I masked up, temperature checked, kept my distance, and worked at a warehouse for a program that distributes toys and food to families having a tough time.

Toys for 2,000 families are a BIG deal. Let’s just say it’s a process that got me walking 6,000 or maybe 8,000 steps per shift.

I was grateful to take part in this work!

Now my volunteer time has ended and I can go back to protecting my community by staying the hell at home.

2 thoughts on “A Simple Solstice”

  1. Laura! Such comforting snapshots of how to put love into action right here and now with what we have and whose company we have the pleasure of keeping (thankfully, yours!) – simply, warmheartedly… it’s all in our grasp to bring & share light – thanks for this and yours!


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