(I loved Reverb10, where I was sent a writing prompt every day of December. It was a great way to reflect on the year and set some goals. Alas, Reverb11 is not going to happen unless I do it. So, I’ve collected the prompts from last year, exchanged a few of my own, and will select one every day.)
Prompt: Holiday. If you could take a day that’s important to you and make it a holiday, which day would it be? How would you celebrate?
When I made up this prompt for my own version of Reverb, I had a particular answer in mind. I have always celebrated the anniversary of my car accident, as a way to mark how far I have come and count my blessings. (I can walk. It’s kindof a big deal.) This year my husband and I played hooky together, and at the end of the day we looked at each other and said ‘we should do this every year!’ and I was sure that was the holiday I would write about. Both of these days are worthy of being elevated to an annual holiday.
But it’s Christmas, and so my mind had turned to the more traditional holidays. So the question is, as I sit here by surrounded by noisy (but cute) nieces and loud (but funny and loving) family, I think how I’d celebrate this day if I had complete control. How would I take a holiday and twist it to suit my needs?
I think the biggest change would be to wait up all night. I’ve heard that many pagans will wait up all night on the Solstice. Some say it’s begin a midwife to the new year. Others say it’s to help you appreciate the darkness and the light. Some are loud, with an all night party, and some are quiet with silent mediation. I don’t care if its on the solstice or not. In fact it’s more practical to do it over Christmas. After all, most of America stops dead in it’s tracks for a day or two.
Imagine it. It’s Christmas eve. The tree is decorated. Cookies were made in a marathon session. The fridge is full. The stockings are hung. There is a fire in the fireplace. At sunset, candles are lit. In fact, it will only be candlelight until sunrise the next morning. Until then it is a Christmas movie marathon with popcorn, cards and games with hot cocoa, and eventually, going out in the dead cold of night to look at the stars to wake you back up. At sunrise, candles are extinguished. You wait in silence as light fills the sky. Breakfast is made. Presents are opened.
Sounds a bit like Solstice, New Year’s and Christmas all in one. Perfection.
Update: After I wrote this I talked with my mother-in-law and her mother about their favorite Christmas traditions. Turns out they way they did Christmas when my mother-in-law was a girl was pretty close to an all night thing – it started with midnight mass followed by caroling from house to house – hot cocoa there, sandwiches at the next place, popcorn balls down the street, and by the end of the night you were home (finally warm!) and it was time for presents and breakfast!