Celebrating the winter solstice is a special time for family and friends to shake off the shortest and darkest day of the year and welcome the slow return of the sun. This holiday has been observed throughout history across many different cultures.
Indeed, historians believe Stonehenge in the English countryside was built to track the sun’s yearly movements, including to celebrate this day. So is Stonehenge the ultimate winter solstice gift, then?
Here are a couple more facts about the winter solstice:
- The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” During the solstice, the angle between the sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator appears to stand still.
- On this day, the sun appears the lowest in the sky before gradually moving higher as the hours of daylight become longer. To the naked eye, it appears to stay this way for a few days.
- While people in the Northern Hemisphere are celebrating the arrival of winter, those in the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming the summer solstice.
History of Gift Giving for Winter Solstice
People across many cultures have exchanged gifts during solstice time in a variety of forms. One gift may be given, or multiple small gifts can be given each day for a period of time (similar to the 12 Days of Christmas). After exchanging gifts, one lovely tradition is to join hands in a circle and reflect on sharing love.
Since December 21st, 2021 at 10:59 a.m. Eastern Standard Time is quickly approaching, now is the time to come up with some thoughtful winter solstice gifts to make or order for those you love.
9 Traditional Winter Solstice Gifts
The number nine plays a significant role in Norse mythology and is linked to paganism. Its meaning can be considered “something that is a turning point,” which is perfect for a holiday that celebrates the “turning point” of the sun in the sky.
For this reason, we want to list nine traditional winter solstice gifts that you can buy or DIY for your loved ones:
1. Solstice Stories: This can be as simple as sharing ancestral folkways and traditions. Another option is to purchase a book of myths and legends with winter themes, the sun, or rebirth.
2. Herbal Smudge Kit: The traditional practice of burning herbs is said to heal, cleanse, and restore positive energy—all things we could benefit from in our life. To make your own smudge kit, place dried, trimmed, and tied flowers and herbs in a natural cloth bag and include a lighter or match.
3. Animal Feeder: Feeding creatures through the cold winter months is a wonderful tradition where you place grains, seeds, and nuts where our animal friends can find them. This is done with a heart full of appreciation for nature’s beauty, lifeforms, and relationships. Making or buying a feeder is fun to honor this tradition, but even a simple sack full of favorite feed will do the trick.
4. Bell: At the moment of solstice, participants ring bells to start the solstice new year while honoring the directions of north, south, east, and west. Another time bells are traditionally rung is after opening each gift. A bell of any shape, size, and sound is a thoughtful gift anyone of any age can appreciate and enjoy.
5. Candle and Matches: Another tradition of the winter solstice is what’s called a candlelight circle. Each person standing in a circle lights a candle with the intent of attuning to one another, as well as to your ancestors. When a few minutes of reflection are over, extinguish all the flames at once so the circle can stand in darkness for a few moments of contemplation. There are many variations on the tradition, so don’t hesitate to create your own. Any way you do it, candles are a wonderful gift.
6. Winter Solstice Carols: Whether you purchase an album from a local metaphysical shop or create your own inspirational music to share, a collection of carols is a fine way to bring festive joy to others this season.
7. Vegan Food Basket: Even the pickiest gourmands will appreciate a homemade (or almost homemade) plant-based, flavor-filled, heat-and-eat meal. Include soup, rolls, and cookies in your basket, and the recipient won’t be able to stop smiling at your thoughtfulness.
8. Cozy Blanket or Warm Fuzzy: Whether you make one by hand or buy one, the gift of warmth and comfort will never go unappreciated during long, cold days and nights. Plus, with a plush cover on a hot water bladder, your loved ones can soothe their common cold, sore muscles, tummy aches, and heartaches no matter the time of year.
9. Lavender Meme-Theme Holiday Package: As much as we try to ease our own burden of stress during the winter solstice season, there are times when it can become a little heavy to bear. Help soothe someone’s stress with aromatic lavender gifts from head to toe, including an eye mask, lip balm, hand lotion, and more.
More Winter Solstice Gift Ideas
There are too many winter solstice gift ideas to list here, but browse the offerings at Spoonful of Comfort to get more! Our mission is to help you deliver love, even when your loved ones are far away this December 21st. 5. 9.