How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice!

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The Winter Solstice is a big deal—at least it has been, historically. The day is unique among days: it features the longest night of the year, which means it also marks, as my hippie-minded family would say when I was a kid, “the return of the light.” This is both literal and metaphoric; it’s a time to acknowledge and let go of the despair of the preceding year. The Romans celebrated for a week, starting with the Saturnalia on December 17, which Catullus called “the best of days!” The festival culminated in The Birthday of the Sun on December 25, which is probably how Christmas got its date. (Birthday of the Son? Because contemporary-English wordplay was common in Ancient Rome?) Here are the objects and attitudes you’ll need to celebrate properly in your apartment.

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