“The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year” (Wikipedia). “This is because the tilt of the Earth’s axis is least aligned with the sun, providing us with the least daylight of the year. After this, the nights will begin to get shorter as our planet rotates towards the sun” (The Sun UK, Dec.18). The solstice occurs this year on Dec. 21st at 4:28 GMT.
Many cultures have celebrated this dark period, or at least found ways to cope with the lack of light. “For people of nearly any religious background, the time of the winter solstice is a time when we gather with family and loved ones. For Pagans and Wiccans, it’s often celebrated as Yule, but there are literally dozens of ways you can enjoy the season (Info About Yule).
“Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years. This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel” (Celebrating the Winter Solstice).
The closeness of religious holidays to the solstice, and to the many festivals of light, ancient and modern, and the relationship of these to another renewal, that of the New Year, have become intricately woven together and we have become attuned to celebrate at this time of year over the centuries, no matter what religion we do or do not follow.
So why should you close down your business or keep only an emergency skeleton staff over the holidays?
1. They are holidays – H O L I D A Y S. Simple.
2. To deny employees this holiday period flies in the face of eons of history. People are tired, have worked hard, are light deprived, often have children at home hence needing quality family time, and need to renew and refresh, parallel to the rebirth of the sun. We feel very far from nature now with computers, smart phones, cryptocurrencies, Teslas, modern medicine, but we are part of nature and of the rotating planet Earth and it is something we innately need to respond to.
3. You actually do realize that many of your competitors and customers are closed anyway and being a workaholic or feeling guilty and thus staying open is not often productive.
4. Your staff will come back rejuvenated, renewed, and ready to go in the new year, instead of being tired and dragging the day after New Years.
5. Your employees will really appreciate what you have done and will go the extra mile for you.
6. YOU will have a holiday, have time to reflect, and be enthused and excited about making a fresh start.