Solstice Thoughts

We have been busy crafting and decorating in festive ways around these parts.

We made orange pomanders while listening to Harry Potter.  We cut out star shaped applesauce ornaments {see recipe at bottom of post}.  We sliced and strung orange slices in doorways and windows along with our paper snowflakes.  We collected red berries and wild grape vines from the yard.  I made a tiny paper bunting garland that stretches from one end of the house to the other.  We listened to each and every Christmas cd we own and played many a Christmas movie while we puttered away.  Not to mention slicing my finger and stapling my thumb.

And we talked.  We talked about what we want Christmas to be.  We talked about the traditions we want to begin and Christmas morning breakfast of waffles and crepes.  We talked about Solstice celebrations we would like to introduce.  We talked about ways in which we can extend the warm feelings on into the week between Christmas and New Years with puzzles, pajamas and cider. 

Though rationally we know and believe wholeheartedly that this time of year has become far too commercialized, it is still a hard habit to break without some effort.  Though we have certain ideas for what we want the season to be about, not everyone in our lives shares the goal.  There are still those people who wish to do the traditional {for lack of a better word} gift exchange with items neither party would buy for themselves.  It turns into a rather funny little dance where everyone exchanges 50 dollars for the sake of trading.  Everything must be even and no one left out even though the money spent is often in vain.

We are politely asking family to not buy Poppy the endless amounts of princesses and plastics that would usually be showered upon the first grandchild.  Our space is small and we want her to use her imagination at play.  So I will include some links, for those who insist {with good intentions} on buying gifts, to online stores that are more in line with our values, will stand the test of time, and perhaps one day be passed on to future generations:  Nova naturals , Natural Kids, Bird and Little Bird, & Beebee Mod

Our Gifts for Poppy:

Handmade Blocks
Perfect Pantaloonswith ribbon on the hem
A mama-knit pixie hatand scarf
Branch blocks
A basket of texture {I will share photos when done}
A special ornament {yet to be chosen}
And perhaps a
handmade tutu

We still want to exchange gifts, but we want them to be handmade {by ourselves or other talented folks}.  We want them to inspire us.  We want them to be things that bring us closer to our authentic selves and life uncommon.  So we have decided to use this time to list some of the more frivolous and beautiful things we have pined for over the course of the year with a few surprises in the mix.  And though these boots are beautiful and something I have wanted for years, they are spendy and the money would do better in our savings account than on my feet to be honest and responsible.

So the journey continues as we drop all of our Christmas baggage at the door and learn how to pack lighter for the season so that we are free to frolic and merry-make as the season was made for it!


Applesauce Ornaments


1 cup applesauce

1 cup cinnamon (I used quite a bit more to be able to roll easily)

2 tablespoons ground cloves


Mix ingredients together all ingredients until you get a dough that can be rolled out

Cut out shapes as you would for sugar or gingerbread cookies

Use a skewer to create holes for hanging

Place on cookie sheet and put in oven on lowest temp possible until stiffened

decorate as desired and hang with twine or ribbon



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  1. Posted November 25, 2009 at 1:56 pm by jessica | Permalink

    I love making cinnamon ornaments–they are so perfect for this season. I whole-heartedly agree with you about this season and your goals for thoughtful, imaginative gifts.

  2. Posted November 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm by Kelly | Permalink

    This is always such a struggle here too. I hate to dictate to people what to buy but at the same time hate getting things I give to Goodwill after a week. Best of luck with all of it!!

  3. Posted November 25, 2009 at 3:58 pm by Jennifer | Permalink

    You have hit the nail on the head about how we feel about Christmas, unfortunately not many agree with us and it’s a huge junk fest as far as presents go for the kids. I hope others will respect your wishes. Your list of gifts looks great, and love those boots.

  4. Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm by Annette | Permalink

    it’s one of the reasons I’m afraid to have children around here- no one respects anything different than what’s commercial. I applaud you in living the way you choose!
    I am trying to imagine making ‘dough’ from applesauce! The ornaments must make the home smell heavenly! xoxo

  5. Posted November 25, 2009 at 8:55 pm by Andrea | Permalink

    Excellent ornaments. We need some too… gonna make ’em!

  6. Posted November 26, 2009 at 12:50 am by Katy | Permalink

    I’m making the ornaments on Friday! Can’t wait and so appreciative that you posted the recipe :) I’ve been struggling with Christmas this year, too and have decided to make as many of the gifts that I can… except for gifts for men– just can’t seem to figure out anything I can make that will do. Oh well… there’s always next year! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject… warm greetings, Katy

  7. Posted November 26, 2009 at 12:53 am by Katy | Permalink

    Oh! And I’m trying to incorporate oranges & cloves, too. I know, you’re totally inspiring. Maybe as compliments to the cinnamon ornaments? Or hanging in long strands in the front windows? Thanks again for the burst of Christmas creativity!

  8. Posted November 26, 2009 at 11:06 am by JoAnn | Permalink

    We are the same way here….less is more and handmade is wonderful! I have some family that asks for links and loves to shop that way and others that gift stuff that always goes to Goodwill the next week.
    I can’t wait to see your basket of texture. All of the gifts are super sweet.

  9. Posted November 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm by Kristine | Permalink

    Made these decorations today with my kids – thanks for the inspiration and recipe and photo! – and wanted to let you know this is a great project with kids! Roll as much as you like! Doesn’t taste good! OK to fall on floor! Smell wonderful!

  10. Posted November 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm by Jamie | Permalink

    we did the same things this year. IF us for someone else didn’t make it then we are not giving it!

  11. Posted November 27, 2009 at 10:28 am by Tasha | Permalink

    Thanks for the inspiration, Erin–I needed it today! Your house must be happy indeed!

  12. Posted November 28, 2009 at 7:44 pm by heather | Permalink

    good for you for setting your boundaries. i’ve done that, and found that some people still go on and do what they want, and now that i say that, i will admit to having done the same in my own way. so then i just end up donating a LOT of junkiness to the thrift stores, and that’s fine. you are FUNNY, though, with your intense passion for the christmas music and decorations! i wish i could come to your christmas party, cuz i know you would OWN it!

  13. Posted November 29, 2009 at 12:22 am by Ana | Permalink

    I hope you realize how wonderful and brave you are. I want a family like yours when I “grow up” :)

  14. Posted December 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm by robina | Permalink

    those applesauce ornaments are great! i’d love to see any other links for the kinds of decorations you mention here, or any other inspiration you’ve come across. i’m looking for ideas!

  15. Posted December 2, 2009 at 11:07 am by Carmella | Permalink

    Hello! I’ve hopped over from Soule Mama’s blog, and was so delighted to find your lovely space! I’ll tuck it away and read into the archives as I can. Thanks for the treasure!

  16. Posted December 3, 2009 at 9:10 am by kate | Permalink

    very sweet. One of my favorite traditions of advent season is our family solstice hike. We read books like “the big snow” and “rabbit hill” in early December, and we spend time leading up to solstice making pine cone birdseed ornaments and other wildlife treats. The night of solstice, we gather the kids and a few candle lanterns and snowshoe out into the woods behind our house, leaving gifts for our animal friends. We gather in the field for a few minutes of silence, and we go home to drink hot cocoa and listen to favorite holiday tunes. It is so simple and so magical all at once. And it– not presents– is one of the things my children look forward to most during this season (that and our annual flour fight/cookie making extravaganza) 😉 Not sure if you live near a large natural space, but venturing out on the darkest of nights with each other and a little light to guide you– it is a wonderful tradition!

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