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Our Holiday Traditions: ChristmaKwanzaanuk- kahSolstivus!



The Holguin family welcomes the winter fairy.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

During the winter solstice, the Holguin family in Magnolia celebrates with a cozy fire, a potluck with friends, a visit from the winter fairy — and no bedtime!

Everyone tries to stay up to see the sunrise, but no one ever makes it. Vinny, 8, pushes it until 11 pm (bedtime is usually 8:30), and his parents go to bed a little after him.

Mom Jessica Holguin started their “annual secular astronomical phenomenon celebration” when Vinny was 3 or 4. They added a winter fairy because they weren’t so sure about “the Santa thing.” The fairy, who’s all done up in a wig, crown, glitter, wings and eyelashes, knocks on the door with some small presents for the kids. The fairy asks the kids to make a winter wish, which she writes down and then throws into the fire. Vinny hasn’t figured out who plays the winter fairy — yet.

Solstice is Vinny’s favorite holiday because he gets to stay up late, and it’s just one party in a month of celebrations for the family. With dad Marti’s birthday in early December and Vinny’s birthday in January — and Chanukah, solstice and Christmas in between — the darkest month of the year is a very busy season.

“We pretty much party the entire month,” Jessica says. “And then we’re just too exhausted.”

Jessica didn’t grow up with strong holiday traditions and mostly remembers Christmas as a time when people who didn’t like each other got together and added alcohol. Her husband’s family is Jewish and Native American. “Our family ancestry is so varied and sprinkled across so many states and regions, we could pick all kinds of holidays to celebrate,” Jessica says. “So we touch on all different parts of our heritages. We make the rounds in December. A little bit of this, a little of that.”

Some years they’ve sent out holiday cards for “Happy ChristmaKwanzaanukkahSolstivus!” The family improvises their own traditions to celebrate. The important thing is to take time to be together.

“It gets you through those dark, horrible months in Seattle,” Jessica says. “Makes it go by very fast. Before you know it, it’s February.”

Silly or somber, elaborate or simple, every family creates their own unique ways of finding joy and warmth in the midst of winter. Our annual Seattle's Child tradition is to share your holiday traditions so we can celebrate and rejoice together that every family in our community is a one-of-a-kind creation forged from the past and building a brighter future for our kids.

Read about more of our family holiday traditions and holiday happenings here. 

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