I light our hearth fire so that it’s going strong by sunset on Solstice Eve, and spend some time hiding little tea lights all over the house. We then turn out all the lights in the house and gather as a family with my hearth fire lantern and a taper candle in front of the fireplace, and do a short ritual (included below) where honor the Earth, the Kindreds, and then the warmth of the hearth and fellowship that will carry us through the darkest night.
We then transfer the hearth fire to the lantern (which will be our light source for the hunt), and set out to hunt throughout the house to find, and light, all the hidden candles. Right now I send my daughter to find them, and then I light them from the taper candle (lit off the hearth). I imagine as she gets older I’ll be able to let her light the candles, but not yet.
We then gather all the candles from around the upper story of the house and bring them down to the kitchen table, where we have dinner by candlelight. This serves the double purpose of giving us more light, and not leaving candles burning unattended, particularly because we have a cat and a dog.
We then make a toast before dinner about something that makes us happy and that we’re grateful for.
After dinner we take our tray of gathered candles back over the hearth and Solstice Tree, and exchange a single gift. By the time we’ve opened them and played with new toys for a little bit, it’s time for bed. We leave LED candles “burning” in our bedrooms throughout the Solstice night, and then the next morning wake up to greet the Dawn and the newborn Sun. The adults will often stay up to keep vigil through the night. In the morning we go outside to light a small candle, and then come in to finish the spiral liturgy.