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Celebrate the shortest day of the year with these nature crafts, recipes, and fun ideas. They’ll bring light, warmth, and optimism to this darkest day on the calendar. Each idea shares a way to stay creative and positive and bring instant hygge into your home. Daylight hours lengthen after the winter solstice, and that’s something to celebrate!
The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, yes, but the days after it mark a gradual lengthening of daylight hours and the march toward spring. It’s no wonder the ancients built monuments like Stonehenge to capture the sun’s light on the winter solstice! We can celebrate, too, and to inspire positivity and creativity, I’ve put together this collection of winter solstice crafts and activities.
They include food recipes and traditional treats, nature crafts, ways to support wildlife, and fun ways to gather and welcome back the sun. They’ll bring the hygge right in and all the cheer and comfort that only winter can bring. Best of all, after the winter solstice, our hours of daylight increase by a cock’s crow every morning. If you suffer from SAD or enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s a day to feel a bit more optimistic.
When is the Winter Solstice
The Winter Solstice is a milestone day in the Earth’s astrological calendar — it’s the day with the shortest number of daylight hours. After the winter solstice (usually December 21st in the northern hemisphere), our daylight hours gradually increase until we hit the other end of the spectrum – the summer solstice (usually on June 21st). On that day, our daylight hours begin to shorten, all the way back to the winter solstice. It’s a cycle that is reflective of our seasons. So how does it work?
Our planet sits at a twenty-three-degree angle on its axis. Imagine the angle at which a globe sits on its stand. It’s always on that angle, even as the planet revolves around the sun. This axis means that the north pole points towards the sun in summer, and we bask in warmth in the northern hemisphere. In winter, it’s the opposite. While people in Australia face the sun, we in the north point away and towards the darkness of space. The result is fewer daylight hours. Conversely, the winter solstice in Australia and everyone in the southern hemisphere is in June, and the summer solstice is in December!
Winter Solstice Crafts for Instant Hygge
People and cultures have been celebrating the winter solstice for as long as history shows. Ancient monuments like Stonehenge and New Grange are aligned to catch the sun’s light on this darkest day of the year, and many of our modern holidays revolve around this time of the year, too.
No matter how we observe it, I think the winter solstice is a day of hope—a sign of light conquering the darkness. The humpday of winter, if you like! Here are some beautiful winter solstice crafts that bring light and warmth into your home and keep you entertained, creative, and learning new skills:
- Make simple candles
- Foraged Christmas table decoration (using a colander!)
- Pumpkin Spice Soap recipe
- Paper mache Leaf Lantern (project from A Woman’s Garden)
- Make handmade wreaths to hang on your door
- Decorate an orange pomander with cloves and ribbons.
- Frozen Ice Lantern for the Garden
Simple Winter Solstice Crafts for Kids
Some projects are more straightforward than others and better for smaller hands. Try these winter solstice crafts with your littles, and enjoy getting outside, exploring nature, and creating fun and colorful artwork. Another idea to get you in the spirit of crafting is to go on a winter scavenger hunt. Take a nature walk with your children and find beautiful pine cones, stones, leaves, and natural treasures. Collect them for a photo or to use in making winter crafts.
- Make a Simple Twig Star
- Use Scissors to cut Paper Snowflakes
- Tissue paper Jar Lanterns
- Make Swedish Snowball Lanterns
- Create a miniature Stonehenge with pebbles
Nature Projects to Support Nature
One thing that I love doing in winter is feeding wild birds. I have a window bird feeder attached to my office window, and I also make fat cakes and place them in a special cage for birds to feast on. It gives me so much pleasure to know that more garden birds could survive the winter by my placing food out for them. Not only is it helping animals, but I love watching them too! Here are a few more winter solstice crafts that are fun to make and help support wildlife in winter, especially birds.
- DIY Cookie cutter birdseed ornaments
- Make a Wildlife Den
- Make homemade Bird Fat-Balls
- Decorate an outdoor Christmas tree with edible ornaments
- Build a birdbox – birds take shelter in them in winter and nest in them in spring
- Make a DIY bird feeder
Winter Solstice Food Recipes
Nothing says warmth and hygge coziness like comfort food. Everyone has favorite winter recipes, but a few are traditional to add to your winter solstice feast. Decadent cakes and cookies, steaming soup, and treats made with foraged ingredients. Here are a few to try making yourself:
- Yule Log Christmas Cake
- 5-Minute Homemade Baileys Recipe
- Scandinavian Christmas Cookies
- Winter Solstice Soup
- Pine Needle Shortbread Cookies
- Jamie Oliver’s Mulled Wine recipe
Things to do on the Winter Solstice
Keeping busy with pursuits you love is the best cure for the winter blues. Sometimes that means doing things alone, even cuddling up in blankets and reading a good book by candlelight. It can also mean gathering together to infuse each other with warmth, laughter, and light. Here are a few more ideas for you to have a winter solstice celebration and welcome the new year!
- Burn a Yule Log from the Winter Solstice to the 12th Night.
- Take a solstice stroll to clear the mind and take in nature
- Have a bonfire party for friends and family. Roast marshmallows, sing carols, and pass around warm mugs of mulled wine.
- Hang mistletoe above a doorway and give your loved ones a smooch
- Flip through seed catalogs and plan your spring garden.
- Learn more about ancient people and the monuments they built. In Britain, you can visit Stonehenge at sunset on the winter solstice or other ancient monuments. There are even a few here on the Isle of Man.
- Discover world religions and their winter solstice festivals. It’s an important day for many world religions, including Yaldā in Iran, Sanghamitta Day in Theravada Buddhism, and Yule in Neopaganism.
- Browse even more creative ideas on Lovely Greens.