At Summer Solstice we celebrate with a ritual of gratitude. ‘What is gratitude?’ asked the little one, who was joining in for the first time.

 She had helped gather pohutukawa blossom for the ritual, and added bunny’s tail grasses. They look good together, don’t you think? She was also asked, along with her dad, to find symbols of gratitude.

 ‘Gratitude is when you have something that makes you so happy, you want to say a big thank you.’

 I was giving thanks for good health, abundant love in my life, a flourishing business and so much more. The cherry tomatoes and the flowers said it for me. The little one couldn’t quite grasp what a symbol is, but responded by saying what each flower reminded her of. We lit a heart-shaped candle and gave thanks.

 And then today, we had the ceremony of our multi-cultural Christmas lunch, when our family is joined by a Chinese mother and her two children. Sun symbols swung on the Christmas tree, along with tinsel and hand-made decorations from years gone by.

 We ate Christmas fruits: cherries, blueberries, peaches, strawberries, rock melons, pineapple and water melons,

 followed by Chinese dumplings, salads,

 noodles (made fresh by the Chinese mother),

 sea vegetables,

 snow peas with capsicums and seaweed.

The Christmas bird, made by my older granddaughter when she was small, surveyed the scene as we exchanged gifts. She is now 19 and had finished work as a Christmas fairy the day before, so could be with us for our celebration.
A laughing Buddha now sits in the family’s garden, Winnie the Pooh is hanging under a balloon while bees buzz about his face, and fragrant essential oils sit in a silver box waiting to release their fragrance at the bach.
Which is where I’m going now. But I couldn’t resist taking advantage of broadband and putting up this post first. Because Ceremonies of gratitude and giving are the very heart of Solstice and Christmas.
Blessings and gratitude to you all for being part of my blogging circle; I am so glad to know you.