Solstices are important markers in our relationship to the earth and our own mortality. Celebrating them makes sense. That's why pretty much all religions do it.
But you know what would make more sense? Celebrating the Winter Solstice with quiet meditative activities. Then celebrate the SUMMER one with all the partying and traveling and mailing of gifts.
Traveling to see the family. In summer instead of winter. When there's like, NO SNOW. A radical concept, I realize. But think about it.
So if you don't want to go out in the snow (or here in CA, the rain) risking your life to get to the mall to spend money you don't have, and you want to give a meaningful gift to that writer on your list, here are some suggestions:
1) Leave a nice comment on their blog. Or even something not so nice that stimulates argument. Nothing brightens the heart of a blogger like getting comments. The more the better. Yes, I know these blog programs make you jump through hoops to comment. Even on my own blog, if I want to add to the comment thread without being "signed in" the first time I hit "publish," I'm told I can't do it and have to try again. It always works the second time, but what's up with that?
But a little hoop jumping beats going to the mall and abusing that little plastic card, doesn't it?
2) If your friend has a book in print, write her a rave Amazon review. Give it five stars. Even if it isn't her best book. It will counteract the 1-star review she got from that troll who can't spell and hates the whole genre. It will also raise your own Google profile. And your friend may do it for you later down the road. Win/win.
Then go make some peppermint tea (love the Candy Cane Green Tea from Trader Joe's!) let the cat crawl into your lap, and spend the rest of the day reading that book that's been sitting by your chair since the holiday frenzy started last October.
It's what I'm going to do.
Have a peaceful season, however you decide to celebrate it.