First Annual Winter Solstice Event at Anya’s Garden Perfumes – Day One

by | Dec 21, 2012 | Giveaway | 72 comments

Day One of eleven days of the Winter Solstice Event, which will end Dec. 31, 2012.

I’ve written before about how I was truly affected as a child by the lights that brightened the dark nights in my hometown Philadelphia during the holiday season in December.  After lighting the menorah candles at my aunt and uncles’ home, I would walk the few blocks home to my house in the cold, dark streets, loving the warmth and cheer the menorahs in the windows and the Catholic Christmas lights brought.

Today is the Winter Solstice, 2012, and I’m kicking off Day One my first Winter Solstice event with a story to relate about winter stars, lights and religion that I didn’t know about just a few days ago.  I am going to try to touch upon Irish, Pagan, Jewish and a number of other cultures and religions that have special rituals and events at this time of the year, but it was through my Filipino friends here in Miami Shores I discovered the beauty of Simbang Gabi.  The words mean evening mass, and it became a tradition hundreds of years ago in the Philippines. Filipino farmers wished to have the masses said before the heat of the day started, when they still had energy, so the Spanish priests held them at 3:30 in the morning.  Simbang Gabi lasts for nine days – a novena. In modern times, with modern schedules, it started at 7:30 PM :-)

Each day the services move from church to church.  Today, the sixth day, it was hosted at Miami Shores’ St. Rose of Lima church.  Handmade lanterns, called parols, are a big part of the aesthetics of the masses, and in Filipino cities, homes and streets are decorated with them the way we lavishly put up Christmas lights.

This time of year is also a time of gift-giving, and it’s a way for me to give back to the lovely community of perfumistas that have helped my business grow in the past six years.  I’ll be posting more about the process of perfume making during this event, and fragrant discoveries.  Like the discovery of the floral/lemony Aglaia absolute from China a few years ago.  I now have a huge tree of it growing in my front garden, and I harvest it for my perfumes.  The tiny yellow flowers, round and closed, are like little points of light, and their scent if deliciously sweet and clean.  My citrusy cologne-type perfume Light has Aglaia and it’s glorious supporting base notes of frankincense EO and frankincense resin.


Leave a comment about the season, your holiday tradition, or just say hi and wish me well in this new adventure of solstice blogging, and you’ll be in the drawing for a 15ml spray of the EdP of Light.  Prizes will be shipped worldwide.  Posting for the Light drawing ends tomorrow, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. ET, USA.

Good luck to everyone!


A little more about the Simbang Gabi: the music was magnificent.  I don’t remember hearing a more beautiful choir. It’s been decades since I’ve been in a Catholic church or synagogue, and I loved the serenity and devotion of the worshippers.  What a surprise Simbang Gabi was to me, another beautiful ritual that became known to me through serendipity.  Stars and lights figure prominently in Simbang Gabi, and here is a photo of one of the parols in church tonight.

parol1ETA: the spelling of Simbang is the most common, not the previous spelling I had posted.


  1. Mar

    Solstice! I don’t want kidnap your thread, so I won’t post a link to Ocean Orchestra’s Song of Solstice, but I will urge you to hunt it up. While listening imagine all the ancient swells of evergreens and wood fire. Enjoy people, they days are going to start getting longer again, at last!

  2. Monica H.

    Hi Anya!
    Sambang Gabi sounds like a really special thing =) The few times I’ve attended mass while in Europe it’s hard to describe the sense of worship and sacredness when you enter the room. I wish you a very wonderful Christmas season!


  3. Annia

    Dear Anya, I observe the winter solstice but I had never heard of Sambang Gabi.
    Thank you so much for your beautiful solstice event!

    Love & Light,

  4. anya

    It’s almost 12:30 a.m. now, and I’m going to bed. Glad I got some comments from the other side of the world/and/or/latenighters approved. This program requires that I approve all first-time posters, so there may be a queue in the morning. Your post will be approved then. After that, you’ll be able to post without moderation. Night all!


  5. Sandi L

    Anya, I love Winter Solstice, but once December is done I don’t care much for the cold. Looking forward to the new blogging site and much information shared.

  6. Suzinn

    The Pacific Northwest can get dark very early during our grey wet winter days so the coming of the light can’t happen soon enough for me. We drape our front porch and the dogwood tree closest to the house in tiny white lights to welcome visitors and to give our neighbors a beckon of light to focus on. We keep these lights on most nights much of the year. Wishing you all a beautiful Solstice!

  7. Lia

    Looking forward for your new blog. can’t wait to read more about your perfumer’s journey!
    Wish you well in everything you do. :)

  8. Zee

    So excited about your Solstice blogging. Specifically that you’re calling it that as it’s the essence (there’s that word again) of the season for me. I love Light and just the idea of that what the name symbolizes….

    Rambling but thanks for the draw Anya! Happy HOlidays!

  9. Kim

    I’m very excited about your series of Solstice posts. I just found your group recently and love it. I, too, love the lights this time of year. They bring so much joy and brightness to this dark time of year. My husband and I married five years ago on the Solstice on a noll overlooking the Pacific. A passerby commented to my mother-in-law, “it only gets brighter from here.” Thus far it’s been true. It’s was also at this time I was introduced to aromatherapy, which led to recently to perfumery. So glad I found your yahoo group/blog. Thanks for your work!

  10. nereis

    Ah! Aglaia!
    Haven’t smelled it in years by now. I recall seeing (and smelling) it in abundance growing up, thought it had a peculiar sweet scent reminiscent of the longan fruit.

    It’s winter solstice and I am making glutinous rice balls traditionally eaten on this day, staring the pan with a bit of caramelized sugar, adding dried ginger, water, then use this to simmer some skin-on sweet potatoes. To this I will be adding pearls of glutinous rice dough and cook till tender.

  11. Gayle

    I love celebrating winter solstice especially in warm weather & I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to celebrate along with you on your First Annual Winter Solstice Event! I also love Aglaia & I am lucky enough to have it blooming on & off all year. I first learned of it from some lovely Chinese ladies who kept telling me how much they missed the beautifully scented rice flower they grew up with here in Honolulu. I asked them what else it was known by & all they said was rice flower. They had fond memories of picking the flowers to scent their father’s pipe tobacco & Chinese tea. When I finally found the plant & smelled its lovely fragrance I knew why they had such fond memories of it! Hopefully, we will all still be around here to celebrate throughout the eleven days if the Mayan prediction proves false… Thank you for creating Light!

  12. Yash

    Hello Anya
    What a lovely initiative blogging for/about the winter solstice is. I had no real season/ holidays traditions as I lived in a tropical island where light was bestowed all year round. Ever since I moved to Paris I felt the seasonal changes and started my own traditions here with friends..
    Happy Holidays!

  13. Hemla

    We celebrate Chanukah, as a child, every night of Chanukah -we celebrate for 8 days in a row, starting with one candle the first night and gradualy it builds up to 8 on the 8th, so every evening after lighting with the whole family, we would stand by the menorah, singing and then all the kids would sit down on the couch, and we would each recieve a gift. it was so exciting. my mom loves buying gifts for people, and she is really good at getting just the right thing for them. when we were older, it changed that each night gave a gift to every other member of the family that they had made. I remember making bookmarks, of folded paper -that made the shape of a kimono wearing woman.
    lot’s of fun. I love Chanukah

  14. Julia

    Hi Anya,
    Here, in Australia, it’s summer and I still feel a bit funny celebrating Christmas when it’s +30 outside, even though I moved here several years ago. Thanks for the Solstice Event, I enjoyed reading about Sambang Gabi.

  15. Tativa

    Yay! Good luck on your holiday blogging ^^ and thank you for the draw.

    I grew up Catholic so we usually went to Christmas Eve mass, and then came home to open presents and look for the first star so we could break oplatki and eat Seafood Newburg.

    This Christmas my new holiday tradition seems to be working overtime on Christmas Eve… but I’m off to find some egg nog this weekend to have a taste of the holidays.

  16. Phyllis Ida Concordia

    I love to learn about cultures and traditions and just getting to know the world! Merry Solstice. everyone! Happy Everything!

  17. Cory Trusty

    Lovely perfume photo. Happy Solstice to you.

  18. Valerie Kinzer

    Sambang Gabi seems a very
    beautiful celebration, thanks for the introduction! This season I’ve been reading up on frankincense use in religion and healing around the world, is it used during this celebration in the Philippines?

  19. Holly F.

    I love your work, Anya. Thank you for your generosity, in the spirit of the holidays!

  20. Lora Ruppert

    Hi Anya,

    Happy Solstice & Blessings!

  21. Em

    How lovely! Perfect for Solstice.

  22. Rene Groyer

    I live in the southern hemisphere and its so hot today. I often wondered what it must be like in the northern hemisphere during the holiday season.All that snow and cold ,I crave it !Thanks for giving me a glimpse of your world and happy solstice. :)

    • Deanna Vazquez

      Know what you mean. I grew up in Australia and we always had boiling hot summers (nonetheless, Mum would still slave over a hot stove and turkey in the oven. Ha!). I live in Oregon now and have to say that Christmas is just like you see on those odd Christmas cards we would get in spite of it being summer – evergreen trees laden with snow, people wearing coats and mittens, caroling, lights everywhere. It’s actually real! Blessings to you wherever you are in the south of our planet.

  23. Musette

    Happiest of Holidays! We just got socked by a blizzard – one minute it was raining and 45F, the next we are buried under 18″ of snow. It does help to jumpstart the holiday spirit – Christmas in the Midwest just seems weird without snow. I just came in from chopping ice off the front porch, putting hot water in the birdbath, changing the squirrel corn and replenishing the suet feeder for the woodpeckers. Am feeling very virtuous (it’s freezing out there!)

    My holiday rituals revolve around Baroque music. It’s not Christmas until I’ve heard Te Deum laudamus.

    xoxoA and thanks for the lovely draw!

    • Brian Shea

      I’ve heard about that. I was talking to a friend of mine and my parents yesterday and they told me about it. Hopefully it will have calmed down by the time I go back home to Chicago for Christmas.


    I’m a Scrooge. I don’t like holidays or snow. Nevertheless, I love to see families come together. I wish you and yours the best.

  25. Ruth

    What a beautiful post! I love Winter Solstice. Growing up, we celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas. Now, with kids of my own, we only celebrate Hanukkah, but I love to visit and learn about other celebrations this time of year. I had a conversation with my Rabbi, in fact, where we were talking about the pagan roots of the Solstice celebrations. He said “They noticed the days were getting shorter and the nights were getting longer, so they created light – fire, candles, whatever – in order to entice the sun to return. Each year they did this, and each year it worked!” I love the idea of bringing light into the darkness, and enticing the sun to return to us one more year.

    • Ruth

      (I’m pretty sure he said oil lamps, not candles.) LOL

  26. Margo Conklin

    Greetings, Anya:

    Ah yes, Sambang Gabi a beautiful Catholic ritual.

    As a Catholic, I grew up singing in the choir and especially remember this time of year and the scent of fragrant incense.

    Your description of the lemony aglaia flowers sounds like the lemon balm flowers I enfleuraged this Summer. I’m wondering if both are the same.
    Thanks for posting.

  27. starre

    Thanks for sharing. Always wishing you well

  28. Larissa

    What a beautiful tradition. I look forward to reading your other posts. This time of year for me is about being close to the ones I love and I’m lucky to have many wonderful people around me. In my family, food was always associated with love and togetherness. So, in keeping with the tradition, I plan to cook a special Christmas meal…

  29. Molly

    Fascinating! Thanks, Anya, for this interesting post. I look forward to reading the rest of you winter solstice entries. What a great idea!

  30. Gail

    Hi Anya,
    Holidays have always been so crazy for me. This year I’m starting a new tradition. I’m just going to relax!
    Have beautiful solstice.

  31. Cheryl

    Kwanzza begins on the 26th of December which is also Boxing Day in the UK. Kwanzza is celebrated for 7 days and is a cultural celebration . Whatever you celebrate do not get caught up in the commercial aspects of the season. Anya enjoy and continued learning and growing.

  32. Matthew

    Happy Holidays from the cold and breezy Midwest! I’m loving keeping scented pads of fir and labadum absolute in my car and sniffing them now and again, and I’ve made a solid with various seasonal seeming oils (silver fir, black spruce, scotch pine, etc…had to throw in some myrhh!) but I have to say imagining a Xmas in your neck of the woods and all the floral tropical scents that come with it is like a dream from where I’m sitting! What time of year do you think is the best for hitting the beaches and smelling the floral scents in the air bursting out down there?

  33. cbstarker

    Anya, thank you for making beautiful perfumes and the chance to win some, too! One of the things I especially love about this holiday season is that it is a full-body experience. There are so many sights, sounds, tastes, and smells – and even beyond the cold air, there is a “feeling” in the air, too. Special foods make their appearances – gingerbread, hot chocolate, rum cakes, egg nog, special ales and liqueurs, lapsang teas with whisky, and more – and certain smells are in the air like Christmas trees in the house or the smell of fresh baked goods – not to mention those perfumes we seldom wear except in cold weather. The music changes as well and there are bells ringing but the most notable change of all comes in the form of lights. I actually change my commuter routes on the way home from work based on the lights I can see on peoples’ houses and yards. This is perhaps the most impactful part of the season as I can remember from one year to the next the different routes I’d take home and I know when someone has moved in the past eleven months because the lights might be different this year or the next. It might take me a little longer to get home but I’m more relaxed and I really enjoy the lights. It only happens once a year.

  34. JK

    I always love learning about other culture’s traditions. It’s so interesting to see that everyone around the world recognizes the World’s phenomenons, and celebrates them in different ways–even within the same religious practices.

    Also makes me realize just how little that we, as Americans, pay attention to anything cosmological. It’s a shame how much we are missing out on!

    Thanks so much for sharing–it’s always a rich experience knowing peoples from other places…one of the things I absolutely LOVE about perfuming!

  35. Susan Marynowski

    Blessings to everyone on the Solstice and on the return of the LIGHT! ~Susan

  36. Suzy

    I can’t wait to check back each day during this blogging solstice adventure. I’m really excited to know more about aglaia. I have it it my collection but have never used it. As for our Christmas tradition: we are thinking of ways to start our own now that we have a 3 year old. One thing I know for sure, diffusing frankincense, myrrh, orange and spices through the house will be part of it. Music too: right now it’s kid’s music but occasionally I sneak in one of Kenny G’s Christmas albums. Best of luck Anya, you are one generous lady!

  37. Brian Shea

    Well I’ve got my Christmas/Yule lights a and decorations(what little I have) up. I’m pagan,but I’m not a bit ritualist(I’m more of a ‘kitchen witch’ type myself), so I’m not going to make a big deal out of it(and I also work tonight) but my house will be lit with tons of candles and lights tonight to commemorate the occasion. I’m also making chicken korma as we speak, and I think the light golden color and the slight heat from the chiles symbolize the sun quite nicely and appropriately! I’m also going home to Chicago next week for Christmas-looking forward to that (other than the cold weather). I’m going to see The Hobbit with my brothers(it was a tradition to all get together every year to see each Lord Of The Rings movie). I’m really looking forward to that!

  38. Deanna Vazquez

    Feeling so much coming to an end at this time of Winter Solstice, and indeed this end of an era! Looking with joyous anticipation at the ever increasing Light that is gracing itself into every part of human existence. What a beautiful name for a perfume. Light. Perfect.

  39. Mim En

    Hi Anya, and Happy Holidays and Solstice to all! I am really looking forward to reading about all these different solstice/winter traditions. Sambang Gabi sounds lovely.
    Mine is menorah lighting, though like you I also loved looking at the Christmas lights up everywhere in the early-dark afternoons. It took me a while to realize that they were not ‘Chanukah lights’! Still enjoy walking around after dark when everything is cold and twinkling.

  40. Rebecca brooks

    I am looking forward to learning more about perfumery, reading more from you and the giveaway. Today I am talking to my grandson about going to see the Hobbit …but we have blizzard weather here. let me know how you enjoy the movie.

    Rebecca brooks

  41. Maria

    Dear Anya!
    Thank you for sharing, its always interesting to learn about new celebrations. I like to celebrate Christmas with family and friends around the table. It can go for hours with lots of memories. I am thankful and blessed.
    Many Blessings to you:)

  42. Sophie

    Haven’t heard of Sambang Gabi or really cuious to smell aglaia. Thank you for sharing and your generosity. Wishing you a wondrous new year.

  43. Cheri Howard

    The winter solstice is a beautiful time of the year; from hereforth, each day will have more sunshine and abundance until we reach the summer, when life is at it’s peak traditionally. It’s no accident that our holiest days fall around the winter solstice. It’s a time of birth and rebirth, a time to reflect on what we have, no matter how bleak the situation. It’s a time of miracles.
    Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!

  44. Andrea

    Hey hello! My family gets together and we just eat from 12.30 till 6 pm, than we have a break and everybody is invited to stay for dinner to eat the leftovers and we usually have broth with Tortellini ;) ahah Christmas holidays are all about food

  45. Rosemary

    Winter solstice here is when the ladybugs begin their invasions into our houses! My great-great-grandmother was name Aglae, and I had always thought that she was named after the Grace, but now I wonder whether she was named after the tree or the flower (or the scent)!

  46. Erin


    Thank you so much for the beauty you flow out into the world. You are an inspiration!!

    Do you know about the Goddess Aglaia?
    She’s the goddess of beauty, splendour, glory, magnificence and adornment.
    How perfect!

    Wishing you the most beautiful solstice ~~

  47. Scottie

    Happy Solstice! My favorite thing about the season is colored lights, which I love- as does my mother, so we would always drive around the neighborhood engaged in a critical appraisal of other people’s choices (i.e. we don’t like lights on netting, we like single strands, we don’t like TOO much red and green etc.). We are Jewish so we never had our own decorations, but we have always loved looking around. This draw reminds me of those drives. Congrats on the new blog, and thank you for the draw!

  48. Tamara Shortt

    I lived in the Philippines as a child, but didn’t know of this tradition. I think we’d moved on base before our first Christmas, so I didn’t see the churches during the holiday. Being on base is just like being in an American city. Being in the Philippines was the best time of my life because it was always warm. I don’t have a great appreciation for winter because I hate cold weather and the short daylight days. I think reading your blog might help me adjust my attitude :). Looking forward to the series for that reason. Happy solstice!

  49. Sylvia

    Hi Anya,

    Thanks for sharing about Sambang Gabi. I did my doctoral work in Cultural Anthropology back in the day, and while I learned a bit in school, what I have really learned in life is there is no end to the pockets where you will find ways of treasuring and expressing life and beauty. Sambang Gabi sounds like one such pocket. Your blog has been another, and it has been an utter joy for me to learn about natural perfumery.

    Light is my favorite of your perfumes, so someone very lucky will it! Wishing you well and a wonderful Winter Solstice!

  50. Jen Jaris

    MANY Blessings to you and your loved ones! !:)

  51. Michelle Vanstrom

    Happy solstice. Here’s to new beginnings and longer days. Wishing you abundance and prosperity. Michelle

  52. Merlin

    I don’t have a tradition, being an agnostic Jew ( I don’t do the menorah) but I really love fairy lights and Christmas decorations, as well as the pagan myths and festivities!

  53. Dana Tate

    Hello Anya!

    I remember when my brother and I were young, and our parents would drive us around at night, looking for Christmas lights. We would pick our favorite yards and ooh and ahh for hours.

    Then we would visit a pumpkin patch *of all places* and watch a Christmas program… it was so much fun.

    Lights still play an important role in my Winter Solstice *and later Imbolc* celebrations. Each night, from Winter Solstice to the end of the year, I sit in the dark and appreciate the quiet of the season. Then I light one little candle and give gratitude for the return of the sun.

    Deep peace~

  54. Michael S

    Happy Winter Solstice!

    Thank you so much for sharing your holiday celebrations with us, and best wishes for a wonderful solstice blogging event.

    This year I tried my hand at bayberry candles, hand-dipped. Will be lighting one tonight in honor of solstice.

  55. carol

    HI Anya, Congratulations on your new blog! I have never really enjoyed this season’s holidays, but i do love all the decorations and lights. Carol

  56. Laura Vale

    As a Catholic convert, I have come to love the Christmas season and the deep sense of holiness it brings. If only we could all keep those feelings in our hearts throughout the year, our world would be a better place for everyone.

    I love the Citrus sound of your new scent! If only I could smell it through the computer. When, oh, when, will the technology catch up?

  57. Rae Lynn Reffruschinni

    I love your blog! One of my childhood memories is walking in Las Posadas here in Tucson. The songs were beautiful and it was also quite interesting to see a different culture’s tradition. But my earliest Christmas memory is of tangerines and Alvin and the Chipmunks on the radio.

  58. Margit Nesland

    Dear Anya.
    Thank you for all the great work you do, and for the inspiration you are to all of us.
    I wish you a happy holiday season, and a wonderful New Year.
    Greetings from Margit – in a cold, dark and wintry Norway.

  59. Jennifer Dysart

    Thank you for your posts, I learn so much from this blog <3 Citrus sounds lovely, it is one of my go-to scents, it reminds me of fresh fruit picking with my mom!

  60. Maria

    Greetings dear Anya!

    I have had so much fun, inspiration, learning and a deep sense of shared passion through my subscription to your posts this year…thank you and the community so much for the Light – we all need it, and when we get together our en_lighten_ment is that much keener and beautifully intense: here’s to our expanded learning – let’s burn our beacons :)

    I saw Light in a concert held in Finland some years ago…in an old pinewood church, whose essence entered the body the minute one stepped over its threshold – into the body of it. Breathing whilst in the church was itself blissful…all at once acutely, simply and wondrously magical as the breath cast out through the voice of jazz singer Christine Tobin wove through the communal space. Humble and blessed, performers and celebrants, physical and spiritual – a truly divine concoction.

    So, from the oaked, mossed and ferned ancient micro-climates of North Wales
    I wish you a Happy Solstice and a Dazzling New Era.

    Love, peace and light be with you always

  61. Lindaloo

    Wishing you well in this blogging project. I love articles where I can learn more about different traditions, and about perfumery too. I look forward to reading more.
    I’m always surprised by just how short the days are leading up to the Solstice and so delighted that they will be getting longer soon. I really enjoy all the Christmas lights and am lucky to have the annual Parade of Lanterns go through my neighbourhood. It’s eery and cheery at the same time to see the lantern-bearers first from across the water as they wend their way here.

  62. Tony

    Hi Anya. Thank you for having such a great draw. Merry Christmas!

  63. Candice Collins

    Thanks for a beautiful post and lovely giveaway. Wishing you and yours a warm and wonderful holiday season! One of my favorite things to do is make homemade goodies to give away, as well as a few delicious body sprays for special loved ones…this year I made Mom a gorgeous scent with citrus blossoms, ginger, coriander, spearmint, angelica, sweet orange and a few other additions. It turned out lovely and I’m sure she’ll love it. Your “Light” scent sounds divine!

  64. anya

    Hello everyone!

    Thank you so much for your comments. The memories you shared really help bring us all closer in our naturally-fragranced community, and help our understanding of the world’s peoples celebrations this time of year.

    I’m happy to announce that Susan Marynowski is the winner of yesterday’s draw for 15mls of my Light EdP fragrance. Don’t forget to check today’s post (day two) and the gardenia pomade giveaway – a real luxury, and a rare treat.


  65. komala lyra

    Time of light and opening the heart for what is HERE and FRESH… like the scents which inspire remembrance of gentleness and beauty, may our inner guidance inspire our choices in grace and love…

    I have not a good sense of time and am presently in a remote magnificent location in Brazil, though not sure exactly what day is today… so beyond time I send you love and thanks for what you share komala

  66. Kelly Frohnauer

    It might be too late, but taking a chance! Best wishes, Anya, for a wonderful, joyful holiday!

  67. Susan Marynowski

    Thank you for selecting my name as the winner! I can’t wait to try “Light.” [Happy dance!]

  68. Susan

    Fragrant Greetings of the Season to All,
    I grew up in Canada. As a young child in the 1950’s, I couldn’t wait to light the Hanukkah menorah, play with traditional tops called dreidels, sing songs, eat potato pancakes; latkes, receive chocolates shaped like coins covered in golden foil… We received small presents & real money as gifts; Hanukkah gelt. Our menorah was placed in the window every night. As we got closer to Christmas, the whole family would go out to see the lights put up in different parts of the city. It was so magical. The miracle of the story of Hanukkah is that a tiny amount of oil meant to last 1 day lasted 8 days.
    May the miracle of light brighten everyone’s hopes and dreams for a 2013 filled with good health, love, happy heart, peaceful mind and well perfumed possibilities.

  69. Andrine

    I always really enjoy hearing of other cultures’ winter holiday traditions. The Simbang Gabi lights sound really gorgeous. I wish I could see them too! We have a winter solstice tradition here on the island that grows bigger every year. Last night, during the celebration, we drove on the back road where there is, each winter solstice, a tradition of putting tea lights in paper lunch bags filled with sand. This time, it was nearly 4 miles of lights, every 8 feet, on either side of the road. Can you imagine all of the time and the number of people it takes to set that up? It is really lovely, and such a wonderful celebration of the shortest night of the year. Happy Holidays, Anya, to you and everyone!


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