Winter Solstice is December 21st each year and is one of the oldest celebrated holidays. It marks the first official day of winter and is the shortest day of the year. It’s also a period of time when the sun sets and rises in the same part of the sky. In it’s simplest form, it’s a great day to gather with your friends and family, enjoy each others company and celebrate starting a new winter together! Decorate with a pine tree (or Christmas Tree!), pine cones, winter berries, rosemary (was popularly used in these celebrations), etc. The idea is to keep a bit of the outside indoors since theoretically… with winter about, we will all be stuck inside with cabin fever! Historically, candles play a huge role in the celebration as well… with a focus on holding on to light.
I feel it’s such a lovely and significant way to celebrate a new season, something everyone can relate to. This inspired me to celebrate with friends for a party… a perfect way to have fun over some seasonal food, a hot drink, maybe a DIY project too… like making a wreath?! Yes!
I quickly put together these plans and called on some of my girlfriends to attend my Winter Solstice Celebration. It was so deliciously fun and the party favor was a beautiful handmade wreath we created together over some laughs, mulled wine, and tapas, on a cold but sunny day here in New York City.
With the real Winter Solstice day approaching… How will you celebrate?! Find some inspiration below with NEW recipes featuring one from Justine at Pretty in Pistachio blog. TIS THE SEASON!
Throwing a Winter Solstice celebration: party Checklist
The shortest day of the year you say? We’ll need some light… extra light! And back in the day that meant burning candles. Whip out your votives and scatter them throughout your tables for a candlelit atmosphere and ode to lighting up your winter with warmth and love with those you care about most.
2. A HOT Drink
Traditionally, a “Solstice Wassail” would be served… basically a hot ale with cinnamon, cloves, etc. If you’re drinking alcohol, this is a great option or my preferred drink of choice is a Mulled Wine. If you’re skipping alcohol… try a hot apple cider with the same spices and get yourself WARM!
Check out these Mulled Wine Recipes:
- Slow Cooker Mulled Wine from A View from Great Island blog
- Mulled Wine from Give Me Some Oven
- German Mulled Wine from Wishful Chef
3. Seasonal Small Plates
Technically the plates don’t need to be small… but my goodness do I love a good spread of tapas with appetizer plates and mini silverware. It’s also great for mingling and letting your guests make their own plates. Invite your friends to bring a dish keeping the theme in mind and use a public spreadsheet like a google doc to keep track of it. Make whatever you can ahead of time so you can spend time decorating and lighting all those candles!
from Justine at Pretty in Pistachio
Bring your guests together with a fun activity like decorating a tree, baking cookies, or create your own wreaths! We gathered: pine needles, cedar eucalyptus, winter berries, and boxwood, used wire hangers for our wreaths and everyone got to take their’s home and hang it on their doors to commemorate the season! Since we have apartments here in NYC, we made our wreaths on the smaller side which turned out beautifully! Check out our results and resources we used.
Great resources we used here:
…And if there wasn’t a photo booth, it didn’t happen.
Photo booths were likely not a part of any traditional solstice celebration (#firstworldproblems)… but it will be a part of mine! After a daring pursuit of photo booth backdrops, I found beautiful pine cone garland at Michael’s! I simply hung it on removable wall hooks which worked out perfectly. I then re-purposed the garland for my Christmas tree!
Oh, and yes, those are our wreaths on our heads.
Wishing you a warm and bright, happy and healthy