In the US, today is the shortest day of the year. Here is a link to 5 facts about winter solstice. I knew number 5 was a fact but now I know why!
Today is also a special day for one of our main characters - Rayla. If you read the book do you remember what her mother and Aunt gave her for her thirteenth birthday?
If you haven't read the book, here is a sneak peek:
"Rayla took out and admired her wand. Wands were used to channel a witch’s life force and were not selected until their thirteenth birthday. This insured that the wand would complement the witch’s style and personality. Rayla’s wand was made of willow wood, chosen for mischief and flexibility, and had three bands of red on the handle. These bands represented Rayla’s fiery passion for life."
I searched for some information on willow wood wands and look what I found on http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Willow:
Willow is an uncommon wand wood with healing power, and Garrick Ollivander noted that the ideal owner for a willow wand often has some (usually unwarranted) insecurity, however well they may try and hide it.
While many confident customers insist on trying a willow wand at Ollivanders (attracted by their handsome appearance and well-founded reputation for enabling advanced, non-verbal magic) the willow wands there have consistently selected those of greatest potential, rather than those who feel they have little to learn. It has always been a proverb in the Ollivander family that "he who has furthest to travel will go fastest with willow."
I think this fits Rayla...magically! Don't you agree?
I found the wand below on a site. While it's not exact, the natural elements remind me of Rayla's wand.