The shortest day of the year, signaling the beginning of winter, has been celebrated throughout the world in any number of ways: with music, prayer, bonfires, and other festivities. In 2015, the solstice falls on December 22.
Since the solstice is on a Tuesday, which may not be ideal for kids, many places are celebrating a bit early. You can also celebrate in your own way. Why not bundle everyone up and head outside for a bonfire, take a walk in the winter night to look for animals, or make a bird feeder to hang in your yard? It’s nice to take time out from all of the commercialism the season can bring and reconnect with your kids in a natural setting.
Below are a few places you can celebrate with your family; call or check the websites for registration info.
Woodland Winter Solstice Stroll, Ravenswod Park in Gloucester, Mass. This candlelit stroll at twilight celebrates cultural diversity and the winter solstice in a woodland park setting. The stroll will be followed by a fire, hot chocolate, and s’mores. Lanterns will be provided, but bring your own if you have them. 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015.
Illumination Night, Governor Hutchinson’s Field in Milton, Mass. Mark the winter solstice with a campfire and treats, followed by a tree lighting to help illuminate the darkest days of the year. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015.
Winter Solstice Celebration at the Old Manse in Concord, Mass. Join staff members for a walk through the Old Manse, one of the nation’s most significant historic homes. Experience the house on a late winter’s afternoon and hear impressions of Concord winters recorded by the Hawthornes, Emerson, and Thoreau. Outside, on the back lawn, there will be candles, torch-lit pathways, singing, a ceremony, and light snacks. 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015.
Solstice Stones Soiree at the Ward Reservation in Andover, Mass. This candlelit solstice soiree starts with a trail walk followed by a gathering around the solstice stones with a warm fire, hot chocolate, and s’mores. 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, 2015.
Winter Solstice Tree Lighting at Francis William Bird Park in Walpole, Mass. Grab a cup of hot cider or cocoa and circle around for a tree-lighting ceremony celebrating the arrival of the winter season. 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015.