Balancing a five-course meal and family bonding activities can be tricky. On the one hand, our family likes to relax and enjoy one another’s company. On the other hand, we frequently have activities planned and don’t want to miss out on them, nor do we want them to feel forced and/or unnatural.This was our solution for celebrating Summer Solstice:
Because we were celebrating on a Monday evening (the evening leading into the sunrise of the day of the solstice), we began our festivities after work. The meal was ready, and we began by all sitting around the table we had worked so hard to co-create.
Main Description of Holiday:
I introduced the idea behind why we were celebrating and how it could relate to us on a personal level. For Summer Solstice, this involves recognizing that Summer is a time when the world around us is blossoming and vibrant; the number of daylight hours are peaking; and natural world is bustling with productivity in anticipation of the upcoming harvest. On a personal level, are we finding ourselves productive? In what areas are we predominantly focused? Are we feeling somewhat celebratory? (increased sunlight can act as a mood enhancer). We did not answer these questions at this time. I just introduced the food for thought.
This would also be a lovely time to read a short story (or even better have a young family member read it aloud) about what Summer Solstice is or other ways it is celebrated. One wonderful and widely available such story is The Summer Solstice by Ellen Jackson.
We closed by raising our glasses!
Small portions of delicious foods enjoyed quite slowly and deliberately made a five-course meal a joyous celebration rather than an overwhelming experience. This was a wonderful time for deliberate savoring of flavor as well as enjoyable conversation. After the first course, we cooperatively took our time removing the used plates and utensils and preparing the table for the next one.
When we reconvened sitting, this was when we open our party crackers! We all took a look at the goodies inside and proudly donned our paper crowns! We saved our riddles, however.
Here once more we slowly savored gentle portions of our second course and then took our time helping one another with table-clearing.
Jokes & Riddles:
It was after the second course that we took turns going around the table reading our seasonal quotes and challenging one another with our riddles!
Time for another wonderful and delicious bit of our meal!
One small (under $10) gift for each celebrant!
Delicious main course!
Always a highlight!! Here was where we shared our thoughts about the answers to the initially posed, seasonally-related questions. One at a time we approached our small table, shared our thoughts about where we personally were at, and offered words of recognition and/or encouragement to those around us as appropriate, and then lit a candle. This was everyone’s chance to truly listen and connect with one another… to hear and to be heard.
The weather cooperated, so we moved our party outdoors! It felt wonderful to enjoy the fresh, night air, as we worked together to build a bonfire in our fire pit! We also brought out our bubbles from the party crackers! The back yard was also decorated with lit paper lanterns and tiki torches.
Dessert in the tent! Yes!! :) We utilized our screened tent that allows us to enjoy the outdoors longer without becoming overwhelmed by mosquitoes.
Sparklers et al:
We lit sparklers, unleashed champagne party poppers and truly felt the excitement and magic of this wonderful time of year!! Happy Summer!!