A few years ago, I watched a fascinating television programme presented by Lionel Fanthorpe, who was talking about the history of the pre-Christmas tree and how the first people to decorate trees used to suspend animal intestines (tinsel) between the branches and hang kidneys and other organs (baubles) on the twigs at the time of the Winter Solstice.
Of course – unless you’re a little bit weird – you probably don’t string up innards at this time of the year but whenever I’m decorating my tree I remember the offal origins of the decorations and it always makes me smile.
Somewhere along the way, celebrating the Winter Solstice got swallowed up by Christmas and now it rarely even gets a mention, but can you believe that when you wake up tomorrow morning, you will have crossed the hump of mid-winter and be on the downwards slope towards summer? (Assuming you’re not reading this from Australia or thereabouts.)
It might not feel like it. If you’re lucky, you’ll be up to your knees in snow and have a head full of snow tunes but after tonight, the nights will be shorter and we’ll be getting a few extra minutes of daylight each day.