Happy Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanza! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Merry Midwinter! These are just a few of the names we use to refer to this time of year; a time when we celebrate the importance of the season. Whether it is a religious or spiritual holiday that celebrates the guiding star and the birth of Christ, a traditional feast honoring midwinter, or simply recognizing the beauty of the earth in all her seasons, these are all reasons to give thanks and be humbled by our blessings.
Different cultures express the season in similar ways, both historically and in our present day. In olden days, pagans heralded the changing from the dark half of the year (winter) to the light half of the year (summer) as it is reflected in the seasons and the elements influencing abundance from the land. Many celebrations still take place during the last days of December and the welcome the beginning of a new year. The Hopi Native Americans of Arizona celebrate Soyal, the coming of the light of the Peaceful Ones; Hindu practice Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a victory of light over dark; Jewish tradition celebrates the lighting of the menorah; Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American culture; and Christians celebrate Christmas.
Many people who celebrate any of these reasons for the season partake in good food and spirits, community volunteering and assistance, decorating, gift giving, caroling, sledding, snow angels or even enjoying the winter scenery on a snowshoe hike.
Crawfordsville District Public Library has a multitude of books on various holiday activities, such as cooking, ornament crafting, decorating ideas, garland and wreath making resources, homemade gift ideas, like sweaters, socks and stockings, even songbooks on caroling and playing Christmas music on the piano or guitar (check out our Christmas Collection). We’ve got you covered on winter how-to projects to help you celebrate in any and all the ways you do.
Or, if you are interested in starting a new holiday tradition, we have a plethora of reference books on winter bird identification (please visit our second floor display for all your birding needs). Birding is much easier in winter, as there are few leaves to obscure your view. You may catch a glimpse of the bald eagles along Sugar Creek, or the bright red cardinals against the winter evergreens. So, embrace a new winter solstice tradition and let’s all look forward to CDPL’s Winter Reading for all ages, starting on Dec. 26. There are so many good books to be thankful for ...
Simply recognizing what we are grateful for is enough reason to celebrate this time of year. Giving thanks, rejoicing, and looking to brighter days. Happy Holidays to all of you and yours from your library family.
Stephanie Morrissette is a library assistant at the Reference and Local History Department.