We finished decorating our tree last night, just in time. Even though we still call it a Christmas tree, I'm identifying more with it as a pagan symbol. Seeing as that's what it originally was and all... I've been trying to come up with some ways of recognizing the Winter Solstice as a primary holiday for us this season. Seems that most of the symbols and decorations commonly used by Christians to mark the Christmas season all have pagan origins (evergreens, mistletoe, holly, etc).
Anyway, in my little bit of research into Winter Solstice traditions, I came across this interesting tidbit I wanted to share with you:
In Greece, the Winter Solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysus was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysus would be reborn as a baby - birth again being celebrated as well as ritually eating the deity. (See this page for more information.)
I think I'll stick to the mistletoe and tree decorating, and go without the ritual diety eating this year. I'll just bake some cookies instead.